To have an opinion and voice it?(1 Post)
Heads up, this could be a trigger for some
This is going to be a long one, may need to get a cup of tea or a g&t!
I am from Nigeria, but was born in Germany. I moved to the UK aged 13 and lived in London until 2008 when I decided to move to Nigeria to be closer to family and also to see what it's like living in a country where you are the same as everyone else... I loved it! The only thing I always found difficult (and still do) is the fact that Nigeria is such a misogynistic country. Archaic gender roles are so ingrained in society and in our daily life, that you almost find yourself agreeing (even if you strongly disagree) that a woman's place is in the kitchen and she should stay home to take care of the kids while the husband goes to work and is out socialising with friends in the evenings.
I met my husband in Lagos, in 2009 when I was 30. We got married after 3 years of dating and have two kids together. My husband is an “entrepreneur”, meaning he didn’t have a steady salary, but I always supported him in his enterprises . I have always been a very career-oriented person. Very driven and totally in love with my work. Working in the advertising industry as an Art Director comes with crazy long hours and at times I’d have to work through the night, just to meet deadlines. I was working full-time when I met my husband and continued to do so once we got married. Once I became a mum, I decided to reduce the amount of work I did. Still working full-time, but making sure I always get home at the very latest by 6pm. I was lucky that our studio was on the road just behind our apartment building, about a three minute walk away.
It wasn’t long after getting married however that the archaic gender roles became a problem in our household and subsequently our marriage. In hindsight, they always were an issue. But now I was earning quite a good salary, meaning we could do lots of fun things with the kids on weekends as a family, I had lost a lot of weight (I went from over 140kg down to 99kg it’s crept up a wee bit again! ) and was in a really happy place, so I didn’t let anything bother me.
In September of 2014, I came over to London to sort out the kids’ British passports. I hadn’t been to London for a couple of years, so I decided to get a new tattoo, one I had been wanting for the last 3 years or more. I discussed it with my husband and he was strongly against me getting the tiny tattoo on my wrist - even though he has a huge cross on his arm. Realising I don’t actually need his permission, I went ahead and got it.
That’s more or less where everything went downhill. The moment my husband saw the tattoo, he told the nanny to take the kids to their bedroom and he gave me a massive slap across the face.
That was September 18th 2014. We left him three months later on November 21st 2014. My memory of everything is very foggy, I just remember having lots of bruises on my arms and legs, and one day
my daughter telling someone that “Daddy smashed mummy’s iPad on mummy’s head”. The kids had seen more or less everything from dining chairs thrown at me, to being hit over the head with a wooden candle stand. All because I dared to voice my own opinion on things and because I dared to get a tattoo without his approval.
It’s been five years since we left. Since then he has continuously harassed me with emails, phone calls, text messages, iMessages, etc. stating that I am a useless mother and all sorts of unsavoury things. I should add that he’s never paid any court ruled child support, but that’s another story. Anyway, I’ve got full custody of the kids, and we’re back living in the UK. The kids are really happy and settled and so am I.
I’m now doing an MA in Children’s Literature, with the hope of one day helping families that have had to deal with domestic violence. I’m currently working on a creative project aimed at families like mine. I am creating hand puppets for parents/caregivers to use as a tool to communicate with their kids about DV. I have never been able to speak to my kids about what happened and definitely would have welcomed the idea of having something to help me guide conversation so they can make sense of everything that happened. If you could please answer some of the questions below, it would really help me out. Everything you say is strictly confidential, and would only go into my report for university. You don't have to answer all, even just one would help. But all would definitely be great.
1. Have you or anyone you know gone through DV?
2. At what point of your relationship did DV start, was it a gradual progression or just from one day to the next?
3. At what point did you think it’s enough’?
4. Did family play a big role in terms of support once you got to that point?
5. Did your kids witness any DV?
6. Did you speak to your kids about DV while it was happening or after?
7. What contributed to your decision of talking/not talking to your kids about DV?
8. Do the kids still see their father/mother? How do you/they feel about it?
9. If there were any side effects on your kids, how did you deal with them?
10. How do you address your kids hitting each other, or even another child?
11. If you have children of different ages, how did you address it with each child?
12. Other than therapy sessions, what resources do they wish they had available to them in order to help make sense of what was happening to the kids?
Thank you!! ❤️❤️❤️
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