if only she knew
Women and their rights should be inseparable; ignorance has cost most
Nigerian women their lives and values. Many abuse of women stem from
supposed ‘societal values’ placed on marriage, which has brought about the
disturbing situations like domestic violence. Although, several stories
have been heard about ‘man-eater’ but majority of women still hide this
menace under the umbrella of love. In most cases of domestic violence,
women tend to suffer in silence, believing it as a means keep their
marriages respectable in the society.
Such was Mrs Omolola’s travails. Popularly called Iya Samuel in Agege area of
Lagos, she got married to her heartthrob, Bamidele, at age 21. Over the
years, the couple had ten children. The couple had been in a loving
relationship but financial stress also stressed their love. And by the time
Bamidele lost his position in Toyota Nigeria as workshop assistant, any
love between the couple was far gone. In Iya Samuel, it was replaced by
fear. And she remained only to protect her children.
Meanwhile, Bamidele’s failure to take care of his wife and children made
Iya Samuel to hawk pure-water with her three grown up kids( Mariam 16, Titi
13 and Rebecca) while Samuel became an apprentice in a barbing salon.
While hawking, Iya Samuel in her faded clothes, often painted a picture of
happy woman with a responsible husband. She never for once chastised her
husband. Rather, she attributed her glory to him. One fateful day, Iya
Samuel came to the market with swollen face and bruises all over her body.
The other women gathered to show their concern but she allayed their fears
and told them that armed robbers attacked their house, stealing all her
husband savings and even threatening to kill him. She said she pleaded with
the armed robbers which made them kick and punch her face and tummy. The
women felt her pain and contributed money for her treatment, without
knowing that Iya Samuel’s story was nothing but lies. The truth was that
she was beaten by her drunk husband because she refused to cook yam instead
of the beans, she thought will go round the children and herself.
Iya Samuel kept on with her miseries, and told new lies for different
bruises she sustained from her husband.
But as fate will have it, one Friday night, her husband returned home and
was filled with love. Iya Samuel was amazed at and felt happy about the
mood of her spouse. She went with him inside the room and he told her his
business now had prospects. And like a loving couple, they danced, ate and
slept. At mid-night, Iya Samuel felt a movement and discovered that she
cannot move her body. She burst into tears immediately, knowing her husband
was responsible. He often tied her to the bedpost when he wanted to make
love with her passionately without her disturbance. She was tired of the
bestiality but who could she tell? Her mother had told her on her wedding
night that her family must be respected. She had to endure.
Three weeks later, Iya Samuel discovered that she was pregnant. She ran to
Iya Tomiwa, who also hawked pure-water. Iya Tomiwa was now more of a sister
to her. And she narrated her ordeal to Iya Tomiwa and explained how her
husband often molested and raped her. She told Iya Tomiwa how she had nine
children as a result of her husband anti-abortion belief. As much as she
wanted to abort the pregnancy, she didn’t because she was terrified of her
husband. Iya Tomiwa asked her to go to her family but she said she could
not because her family will support her husband and the family must be
honoured. The situation looked hopeless for Iya Samuel. If only she knew
that there were NGOS to fight for her!
Few months later, Iya Tomiwa and other market women were told of Iya
Samul’s death. No one knew what killed Iya Samuel – whether it was her
husband’s molestation or it whether it was as a result of child birth.
However, Iya Samuel became deceased, leaving her nine children to a man that
could not even fend for himself.
No doubt there are several Iya Samuels in the different part of the country
especially in rural areas. These women undergo molestation, which often
result to violence, and have no idea that family honour is not worth their
lives. They keep worshiping irresponsible husbands and adhering to
To address this worrisome development, women NGOs need to stand up and
utilize funds by educating these women of their rights and reasons why they
should voice out any domestic violence. There is a need to save Nigerian
women. To save Nigerian women is to save a generation and this is vital
because no country can develop without enlightened generations.