Itunu (surname withheld) can arguably be described as a rape survivor. What makes the difference in her own case was that the violator was her husband. She was one of the many women who greeted the idea of MANHOOD with so much joy. “At last, we now have a true mirror where men regularly see themselves and make amends, a platform where men can engage themselves on these issues which our society hardly ever talk about”, she said.
Indeed, Itunu’s story is not one any sane man should reproduce in a woman
“I had a very nasty and traumatic experience with my former husband which I’ll be glad to share with your readers and the public for the first time. It’s a sore I’ve lived with. I’ve been going through a long healing process, perhaps your platform can help me start another course in the healing process and I think it would mean sharing my experience”.
When we eventually decided to turn the idea of publishing this unique blog for men into reality, and addressing the issue of spousal rape became a choice for a feature article, Itunu naturally came to mind. Just like she promised, she opted to tell us her story in her own words being one with a penchant for creative writing.
Edited slightly for posting, Itunu’s story certainly helps our appreciation of spousal rape- a malevolent domestic epidemic- as well as its destructive potentials both on marriages and the lives of women and children. Please read on:
“I was married for about two years. Our wedding was on January 26, 2002 and it lasted till around May or June 2004 when I eventually moved out and commenced divorce proceedings.
By the time I moved out ,I had been beaten countless times, raped…yes “raped” several times, had three miscarriages and one still-birth and received treatment for sexually transmitted infections over three times .I had attended several counseling and prayer sessions. It was like my life was going round in circles all because I married someone I thought I knew.
One incident that helps many people recall our wedding date vividly was the bomb explosion at the Ikeja Military Cantonment. We had just gotten married the Saturday before the incident and we spent the whole of the evening receiving visitors at my mother-in-law’s house that we couldn’t escape to Sheraton Hotel and Towers where we had booked to spend our honey moon.
We eventually left the following morning, Sunday, January 27,2002.We had hardly settled down when the explosion started. It shook the whole hotel building that we thought the world was coming to an end.
That explosion ,though unexpected was a great sign which I ignored. Just like the explosion occurred, my marriage also began exploding about 24 hours after. But unlike the Ikeja Cantonment incident, which came with little or no warning , mine came with salient signs, but like I said earlier, I ignored them to my detriment.
While the pandemonium was on, many guests in Sheraton that day came to the hotel lobby to ascertain what was happening .My husband spontaneously left the room for the lobby and he was so afraid to come up to the room and decided to call our room from the lobby asking me to come down that bombs were exploding at the Cantonment and that the hotel says all is well, and so on. I said to myself “ what kind of guy is this?.Booms are exploding nearby, your newly wedded wife is in the room on the 3rd floor and you couldn’t come to find out whether she is alive or not and all you did was call the intercom for her come down?”. That hit me badly and really got me thinking.
In protest, I refused to come down to the lobby. I cried and wished it were not true. Eventually I came down and the hotel gave us situation report which helped to calm every one. But my mood has been fouled. You know we women, we are emotional beings. Such things mean much to us than meets the eyes. My husband revealed how selfish ,insensitive and self-centered a man he was that afternoon.
But that was just the starting point-sort of a tip of an iceberg of impending trauma for a young and naïve wife. Shortly after we went back to the room, I was still pensive. Not even a word of apology from him or even some romantic words to calm me .
While on the bed(slightly far from him) I pondered on events preceding our wedding. I tried to see if there were any danger signs he gave albeit unconsciously which I ignored or were just too blinded by love to see, track or discern. I did a retrospection of our courtship and I couldn’t figure out any serious flashpoints .
But here we are, less than 24 hours into our marriage, there’s already a cause for concern. I wanted to dismiss the incident as one of those mistakes we often see when we expect too much from our loved ones. Alas! I was wrong. My husband acted true to type. He was a selfish brute. A savage of an unusual breed.
If I had any doubt that my husband was acting true to type, that doubt soon fizzled out when he asked for sex minutes after. I wanted to be sure I heard him correctly. “You want to do what?”
“But you heard me, and you are still asking me silly question, as if you didn’t know what we are suppose to be doing on our honey moon”, he retorted. By this time, the mood in the hotel was charged. But I just wasn’t too sure why he snapped. I actually wanted to register my displeasure that he didn’t show enough care in the way he handled the emergency situation that afternoon.
The next thing he did was to take off his clothes, reached for my arm, pulled me close to him and reached for my house wear which I changed into shortly after we came back to the hotel room. He undressed me, ripped all he could rip and while I was still trying to be sure this wasn’t a nightmare, he was through. And slept off.
I don’t want to bore you with all that happened that night. But truth is, I suddenly felt trapped. I felt like someone who had just boarded a plane and shortly after takeoff, you got to know that the plane may crash before landing or may not land successfully. What would you do? Looking back now, I guess what I did was to assume that the plane wont crash after all, or trust that even if it did crash, I would come out alive even if with a broken arm ,limb or head.
We talked things over while the honey moon lasted. But for the rest part of the two years we were married, it was horror.
Let me say here that I didn’t marry my husband as a virgin, but I wasn’t a whore either .We met just while I was getting serious with my Christian life and I had made up mind that sex was not going to be part of any contact between me and anybody until I am married. My husband complied this rule. But I can stay now that he was actually cheating on himself…not me!
My husband’s appetite for sex was unprecedented. When he is angry, he wants to have sex, when he is happy he wants sex. Shortly after a fight with me he wants to have sex. And for me, sex was more than just physical contact, my mind has to be involved. But that wasn’t his business. The most annoying part was that he would watch adult movies and wasn’t me to do the things the ladies were doing in those movies. I simply tell him “then you’ll have to go and have sex with those ladies.”
I had all the miscarriages I mentioned earlier as a result of very physical sex and most times forced sex …which was rape anyway. It didn’t occur to me that my husband was actually raping me. Because if I say no to him mist times I get beaten. And when I dared to tell our parents he would say “what would you tell them was your own offence, hope you would tell them you are denying your husband sex?”
At a point I started having psychological problems. I was deeply disturbed in my mind. I was working as a restaurant manager with one of the popular fast food brands in Nigeria. I was just promoted to the manager position before my wedding. But overnight, I became an irritant to most of my colleagues. It is either my bosses were sick of me or I was sick of my subordinates. I wasn’t the kind of person you wanted to have next to your desk in the office. The repeated miscarriages didn’t help matters.
A few of my colleagues sensed what was going on especially as my presence on teams assignment meant something bad would happen. It is either my husband would sexually abuse, rape or beat me on a day we are to make a presentation or meet a client or I will wake up and start having terrible migraine as a result of too much thinking.
My company’s management had to ask me to resign else I will be fired without any benefit. Eventually I resigned. I didn’t know the role my job was playing until I started staying at home. It was double hell For my husband ,it was an opportunity for endless sex, since I have to be at home. He never bothered about me getting another job. I took this pain for another two months, until I finally mustered the courage to take back my life after another ugly incident. I had just visited our doctor and was through with my appointment when he shocked me with the outcome of his examination. There was no foetal movement. I didn’t know. How could I, when even the pregnant woman herself was sick and needed help physically and emotionally.
The doctor didn’t stop there. He said he wasn’t comfortable with the offensive stench from my urethra discharge. He suspected I had infection, apparently sexually transmitted infection. In keeping with his tradition he asked me to go for several tests which he outlined.
I was about 26 weeks pregnant and wasn’t too sure what was going to happen, having lost three pregnancies before then. So the news of another STI was not what I was ready for.
Aside all the abuses I was going through at home ,my husband was also sleeping around, contracting STI’s and passing it on to me. Each time I was pregnant and went for routine tests for expectant mothers, I still couldn’t explain how I kept coming out HIV negative. So, the moment the doctor told me I had an infection after examining me and that it seems quite serious, my world crumbled again. The diagnoses eventually confirmed I was infected with STI and that the infection had affected the baby adversely.
In a nutshell, I had a still birth. Another baby gone. The fourth one in about two years. At this point, it was time for me to decide whether to accept the suicidal thoughts that were running through my mind or try and explore how I can get myself back to life.
I chose the second option and confided in a few friends who till date still cant believe my husband was the complete opposite of the image he projected in Church. They helped me access counseling. I completed the divorce process –which was a smooth one. My husband never objected, he kept telling people that when a woman cant submit to her husband, she will keep running from one man to the other because all men demands submission.
But I know the problem with my failed marriage was not my inability to submit to my husband. If I weren’t submissive, I couldn’t have endured the senseless abuses that long. My sin simply was refusing to be the sex slave my husband wanted. My sin was demanding that my husband take into consideration my emotional needs- the need to be respected and treated as a wife rather than a harlot. That was my sin.
In all of this, the biggest disappointment has been my father who simply refused to understand me or see from my point of view. He still believes I am stubborn and impatient with my husband. But how did that come to me as a surprise. My father couldn’t have acted otherwise-a man who slept with our house maids just because he was looking for a male child. You can’t believe I have two step sisters (in addition to my other four sisters) – no thanks to my father’s puerile and condescending dealings with a teenager my mother brought in to help while we were growing up in Lagos.
Over ten year now, Im better now. My life is picking up gradually, at least I have a job now to keep me going. Im not in a hurry to remarry. I have moved back into our family house and my younger sisters are really learning fast from my experience. They all know the A-Z of what transpired in my marriage. I only hope and pray no wolf camouflaging as a sheep would be able to come into their lives and devour their soul, their minds and dreams. God forbid!