Tag Archives: Domestic Abuse

A Stint in a cell and more musings from my end


Hello world, I now know what it means sitting in a cell. I sat in one for a few hours yesterday, yes an incident of domestic violence. But hmm, sometimes you need to let your anger and frustration out and not suck it up till you snap. Your mental health also comes at a price so it seems.

I lost my cool because I was provoked, but I am responsible for my choices. I made one, conscious it could lead to the cops being called r a final resolution in civilized terms of the impass.  Well, as I tweeted yesterday afternoon as if by instinct and anticipation: “to make a pig a pet, you might as well have live in the pigsty”. In other words, speak their language. It hurts that I had to stoop that low, but it soothes that he got my message. I wouldn’t be physically or emotionally abused again especially when it concerns my sons. 

There has been quiet some understanding especially from quarters I least expected, and some ‘surprises’ too. But all is well that ends well, my sons and I got back home safely by midnight yesterday.

 This nightmare may not be over, but I know now for sure I have to stop for a few years in thinking they boys could have a relationship with their dad. He is not there for them one bit, packs them up as soon as I send them his way, and sends them to his village until 48 hours to schools resumption.

Now, a few lessons and maybe someone going through something similar may be inspired or motivated who knows:

1) The cell is a sad place no doubt, but your state of mind even while locked up is the determinant. I was so serene, not because I am a lawyer but because I knew there was going to be an outcome and some formal engagements made with regards to the boys and our respective relationships with them or each other;

2) Kids can get traumatized, but talking with them during and after the ordeal is more reassuring than trying to blackmail one person to them, sheild them, scold them or even ignore them. I was fortunate maybe because the boys asked for, to get them with me in the cell;

3) life is to be lived, emotions and feelings are to be felt in the process and handled how best we can. The choices we make to navigate through this all have consequences. We shouldn’t seek to stuff up our anger and frustration, but let them out in the least damaging way. I have resorted to writing, venting, crying, shouting, etc but yesterday I felt only a stronger statement was going to help me. Sadly, I only saw damaging property as a satisfactory way of making that statement. I stopped when I felt I had made a clear enough one.

4) Make peace with what you are dealt: I was prepared to sleep in that cell and make myself as comfy as possible. Indeed, I dozed off while he was giving his one hour long statement, narrating even what was of no relevance to the case at hand, dating as far back as 2008. I was done in 15 minutes. I was so serene even the cops were surprised. All the poems and posts I have written this week seem to have been leading to last night’s saga…I also thought of the poem where I wondered if for the sake of peace was a one way street.

And so all, I hope I haven’t scared anyone with my write up, I write to put this unfortunate incident behind me and to inspire someone who knows. 

Have a nice week and happy labour day in anticipation to my Americana peeps in the house…

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My Healing Journey: Calling Domestic Abuse by its name


BTS_Cover

Hi all, this is going to be a brief but once more poignant post. I am preparing for my book launch on Facebook next Sunday the 24th of May, and I heartily invite any of you who can make it to join us.

I want to share a guest post I did on June my Jamaican Heroine‘s blog. Her blog is building a very warm niche for domestic abuse victims and it has lots of useful resources and other articles too. I wrote about how my healing from domestic abuse started when I decided to call it as such. June calls me a strong woman, but I find my strength from within. I find it in my Faith which has stood the test of time.

Sometimes we hurt until we just can’t go on anymore. Then we make the radical decision to call out it by its name. That is what Nancy did after 20 years of bondage. She wrote the F2 to my memoir and I am most obliged to this amazing woman and friend of mine. In my own case, I am calling them out by their various names, and I am sharing my healing journey in various memoirs. The first one on My Unconditional Loves: My Hurts, My Adulteries, My Redemption, not only opened the healing gates for me, but it even earned me a Voice of the Voiceless Award.

I wish us all a happy weekend and lots of peace and grace in your respective journeys. You may not be there yet, you may not be up to writing a memoir yet, but it can only get better if only you dare to name those hurts and face them as an imperative part of your healing journey.

F2 to my Memoir


BTS_Cover

When I published F1 last Tuesday, I advised to buckle up for F2. I am honoured to know Nancy through the Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Empowerement. She is one dynamic entrepreneur and author, one who has indeed made a remarkable victory over voilence and is now imapcting several other women including my modest self.

Domestic Violence and Codes of Silence, By Nancy Salamone (A Former Wallstreet Executive)

Domestic violence is a social disease that carries with it a “culture of silence”. In fact if you Google “culture of silence and domestic violence” you get over 1.7 million returns. Domestic violence is still one of the most under-reported crimes and it is the culture of silence that shames women (and yes even men), into enduring domestic violence.

I know firsthand about the insidious nature of a “culture of silence”. I was brought up in a Sicilian Roman Catholic family in New York. And the code of silence pervasive in Sicilian culture is known as Omerta. Omerta is a popular attitude and code of honor common in areas of southern Italy (such as Sicily), where criminal organizations like the Mafia are strong. A common definition of “omerta” is “code of silence.” A frequent misconception is that the Mafia created omerta. In fact, Sicilians adopted the code long before the emergence of the Cosa Nostra. Some date omerta to the sixteenth century, when it was used as a way of opposing Spanish rule. To this day, for generations of Sicilians, this code is alive and operative.

It is that code of silence that kept me from divulging to anyone the abuse I suffered at the hands of my ex-husband. I endured the abuse for 20 years. Part of the reason I never told anyone about the abuse I endured was in part because of my Sicilian background, which instructed us to, “Carry your cross in silence.” You don’t tell anyone anything that might embarrass you or your family. And that’s what I did.

It is not just Sicilian culture that has a code of silence. In a recent article I read about life in Estonia under Soviet rule, the author talks about how in school, girls had to be silent and polite. The reason was that girls were perceived to be the “stupid ones”. Their role was to be pretty. Women were brainwashed into believing they are not worth much. If you are brought up to believe you are worthless then it is not unusual for you to remain silent about domestic violence as you are “brainwashed” into believing “you deserve” to be abused. (http://www.datelinebaltics.org/2014/04/24/a-culture-of-silence/)

In the Muslim culture it is not unusual for women who gather the courage to report domestic violence to be told to go back to their abusers for the sake of the family and honor and to forgive their spouse and be patient with him. It is no surprise that if a woman does not get the support she needs when she has the courage to speak out, she then remains silent.

(http://muslimmatters.org/2011/10/19/domestic-violence-series-a-hidden-evil-and-muslim-communities/)

Nigeria has a history of violence against women and in part due to a culture of silence that forces young girls to become child brides and endure rape and domestic violence. Gender violence in Nigeria is an epidemic and according to activists the culture of silence, weak laws and lack of support for victims of violence against women and girls are some of the reasons. Probably the same applies for Cameroon, Africa and the world at large.

(http://www.channelstv.com/2014/12/14/culture-silence-nigeria-rising-gender-based-violence/)

In the United States the NFL (http://www.nfl.com/) (National Football League) for years covered up domestic violence crimes committed by some of their players. It was not until a despicable video surfaced depicting a major player punching his fiancée in an elevator and knocking her unconscious, did the NFL decide to address the issue. A major reason the NFL had to address domestic violence in their league was due to a huge public outcry. If the video had not surfaced I believe the culture of silence would still persist in the NFL. After the incident many NFL wives have spoken reported how the NFL has not only covered up domestic violence but also nurtured it.

(http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/nfl/video-1118515/NFL-player-Ray-Rice-punches-fiancee-Janay-Palmerface.html) (http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2014/10/17/6994085/nfl-domestic-abuse-coverup).

Cultures of silence exist around the world and force m illions of women (and men), to believe there is no way out of abusive situations. These cultures of silence exist regardless of the strength of a country’s advocacy. It is up to all of us to speak out loud and clear “Enough is Enough” when it comes to domestic violence.

©Copyright 2015. Nancy Salamone. All Rights Reserved. Author, Speaker and Advocate against domestic violence Founder & CEO The Business of Me 

I am so honoured to know Nancy
I am so honoured to know Nancy

Book Review: This Child Will be Great by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf


Picture below is on one of her release from prison in her struggle era
Picture below is on one of her release from prison in her struggle era

My second book review on this blog, is as powerful as it captivating. When I wrote a post about Mama Ellen (as she is fondly called), that she was my heroine and idol, I had not even read this book. That title is a ‘prophecy’ made by an old man who visited the baby Ellen at birth. Great indeed she today is right? She will forever be remembered not only for her record breaking and holding especially in Africa, but also for her famous statement. She said:

“All girls know that they can be anything now. That transformation is to me one of the most satisfying things.” Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

I had the privilege to meet, talk to briefly and take a snap shot of Mama Ellen in November 2013 when I was sent on a near ‘mission impossible’ to get Mama to come and deliver the keynote address

Delivering her Keynote address at the WIP inaugural summit in 2013
Delivering her Keynote address at the WIP inaugural summit in 2013

at our inaugural summit. I succeeded, she came, delivered the keynote and told me she encouraged young dynamic women like me.

I took this shot because none of her guards would take a photo of us
I took this shot because none of her guards would take a photo of us

Synopsis of the Book

When I started reading that book, the very first page made me conclude, and rightly so as I eventually read, that most of it was written by Mama Ellen herself. I also noticed that it was published in 2009, that is three years into her first term as president and it meant that she was putting herself out there knowing fully well the ‘damage’ the book could cost her plans for a second term.

I say she took chances because she is as personal in several instances as she is candid. Who talks about her marriage to an abusive man when she was only 17 years old? Mama does. Who talks about her having four boys by 23 years old? Mama again. Who talks about knowing the pain of leaving your children behind at such tender ages (the last barely 1 year old) to go further your life? Of course only mama can do that. And of being unfaithful in marriage? Read that book for yourselves!

Yes, even on the political narration of her struggle, she is as candid. She tells how referring to the Doe regime in a speech as a bunch of ‘idiots’, landed her into serious trouble, earned her some jail time in one of those nocturnal confines (She actually says it did her some good, she rested and got to live first hand the life of an inmate), and above all, almost led to her being raped or killed. In each of those several narratives, she was saved she believes, by her mother’s fervent prayers and some ‘angel’ in the body of one of the guards.

Mama Ellen also tells of her campaigns to the Executive Mansion. The first time in 1997 was against the then all powerful Charles Taylor, and she says barely anybody supported her ‘folly’. Of course, she lost ‘woefully’ as she puts it, but she knows Taylor won by all ‘scrupulous’ means possible.  Her inauguration day on that famous January 2006 is the best day of her life and the speech she made on that day, is fortunately annexed to that book.

My Rating

I normally as in a previous book review, write about the author. But what can I write about Mama Ellen? Who doesn’t know her? I mean, for fear of not missing one of her stars, I will urge you to Google her and her book. Frankly, anything less than a five star will be lying to my own self.

I salute her, she is my icon, idol, heroine and you name it. I mean I was once asked who is the one person I will give my all to have dinner with, of course Mama I said.  She even works in her cabinet with some former warlords and fighting factions and guess, Mr Taylor’s ex wife is a Senator in their Parliament. I have also met her and heard her talk well of Mama.

Dear gentle readers and followers, this is my modest tribute to this great woman and writer and I look forward to others too. And you, what’s your take on this? As for me, I’ve got to ask my mama if some one said anything when I was born 🙂

It started with Emotional Abuse: My Story


It hurts without a hit
It hurts without a hit

When we often think of domestic abuse, we sure think of those black eyes and bandaged hands right? Well, we also know today domestic abuse very often includes emotional and verbal aspects right?

Since I started my Monday series on emotions, I decided to talk today about my emotional abuse and of course all other abuse I got in my six year marriage.

In Africa, this issue of domestic abuse is still a ‘semi-taboo’ because of the popular adage to women to  ‘tie their heart’ (just bare it all ) supposedly for the kids or if there are no kids, then you don’t even have a raison d’etre as a worthy wife.

As for men, oh it’s a ‘God forbid’ for even your neigbour to hear that you were abused by your wife. So for them, it is, hmm ‘I beg let no one even hear’.

Well, I tore away from all that, I am an unconventional ‘african’ woman (if it means anything), and I wrote about my Unconventional Loves.

Before I share some of my ‘subtle’ episodes of emotional and otherwise abuse, I admit that I also abused my husband. Both in reaction to his abuse and dare I say out of proportion and irrationality? Could it be frustration and illusion?

On the Divorce Magaine last week, I  shared an article on ignoring the little signs of domestic abuse. That was of course my story.

How it all started

I re-called in that article how it all started as a ‘cold war’. Now, we surely all can remember the cold war of the 60s’ between those super powers right? That was the scenario in my home for a long while, an unhealthy one to say the least. This to me is Emotional Abuse. It tears and mocks at any great emotions you ever had and eventually leaves you doubting your own sanity.

From Emotional Abuse, I graduated to Verbal Abuse.

Well, frankly it is we both graduated. The emotional abuse left us both (each in his own regard I suppose) drained and the intensity of the emotions involved had surely climbed from mild to strong. It was lashing out time. I by then weighed 115kg and this is ‘ugly’. What a good weapon that was. ‘Oh you good for nothing fat, ugly, broke and lousy wife’ to say the least. I mean, I don’t need to wear you out dear readers and followers of mine with such details right?

But, when the abuse took on a physical, I knew I had to choose between Leaving or Living

When the abuse gets physical, there is no turning back. He has done it once, he will probably do it again and again unless…

I remember one episode as recounted in my book, when I locked the door of the room and hid the key with the hope of forcing my ex husband to have a conversation. He first gave me a sound slap, then he broke the door, then he kicked and pulled me out with my hair and throwing me away in the sitting room, screaming he no longer wanted to see me in our bedroom.

That room stayed without a door for three good months although I slept in there.

When such incidents happens and your spouse still demands sexual intercourse and forcefully gets onto you, I wonder what more we have to undergo before we save ourselves?

A holistic abuse wheel?
A holistic abuse wheel?

Yes, Emotional Abuse got verbal and physical and I just spare financial details for I don’t know what got me to put my money into a joint account in the first place!

Dear gentle readers and followers of mine, sharing is helping, and commenting is encouraging unless you think otherwise?