WIFE OR MAID
WIFE OR MAID By mirian steve
The African women have suffered deeply in the hands of their male counterpart. Last night, my heart aches, as I thought about my elder sister’s present situation back home in Nigeria. And tears rolled down my cheeks. She got married, when she was twenty years old and was actually a virgin. She was sheepishly in love with this man. Although, my father opted to this marriage urging her further her education but she insisted that she's in love with him. My dad later granted her desires and she got married.
Initially, he showed her with lots of love. Sending money for her up-keep because she was living with his mother in the village. This became an issue because his family felt that he was devoting all his resources and care on her. This was how her marital problem started. The following year, she gave birth a baby boy, who is nineteen years old now. After several cases of dispute settled, her husband decided to take her to Lagos where he abodes. It was a welcomed idea, we all thought it will put an end to the problems she was going through but little did we know that it will turn out to be her worst nightmare.
My sister moved in to live with her hubby in Lagos to start their lives together as couple. His business was not moving well. His attitude changed drastically because of the shortage of income. Knowing that my sister was naïve, He brings home women and she thought they were his business partners. She will cook for them and served them. As time goes on, she had her second child and her third. At this time, her husband brought in a woman to help in her domestic chore since she had just put to bed, not knowing that this woman was her husband’s concubine. When she found out, that the lady wasn’t really who she thought she was. He became severely upset with her and started to beat her. I cannot count how many times, she was battered by him. Yet she refused to raise an alarm.
I remembered passing a night in their house during one of my holidays in Lagos, She woke me up at about 4.30am and told me to go and have my bath because her husband gave her a law that if she didn’t have her bath before 6.00am, he will lock the bathroom door and nobody will enter inside till he comes back later in the evening. It sounds so embarrassing but it was true. He actually did so. Rule number two, she must never be outside of their home by 6pm or else he will lock her outside and so on. She gets beaten by him for little or no reason. She started living a life filled with fear and anxiety. One day, a misfortune incident happened that shatter her life forever. Their neighbour's house got burnt by fire and it affected theirs’ too. Then they both decided that my sister should go back home with their children, while he stays back and fix things. The next news that came to her in the village was that her husband is living with another woman in their house and the woman is pregnant. She almost passes on. Right now, he is still living with her for the past ten years and my sister cannot divorce him because they were not legally married in the court. And our tradition does not permit her to leave her matrimonial home. She cannot leave her four children since their father doesn’t care about them.
I ask what kind of tradition we are practising in Africa. Where women are taking as maids instead of wives by their husbands. Where husband’s family interferes deeply in their brother’s marriage and sees their daughter in-law as a threat. When are we going to uphold our position fight for our fundamental human right? Rather than dying while our husbands’ are busy enjoying themselves all in the name of TRADITION.