‘When someone shows you who they are the first time,believe them’ – Maya Angelou
Two years ago, I had an experience that changed my life. Things took a wrong turn but I eventually did find my way. Whatever I went through made me a stronger person. Well, the truth is up to today I still struggle with “that thing”. The most important bit is that I did not let it define me. I just thought about it as I write this, I have to admit it to myself. It is the hardest thing I have ever done but I think it is time to let it out, say it out loud and write it down, I am a survivor of abuse.
Hmmm……now I say to myself what does that really mean? It means that it happened to me, I learned how to deal with it and move on. Let’s get into the nitty gritty details of the whole situation.
It all started when I met this guy in campus. I enrolled for a diploma after my law degree to keep me busy before transitioning for my post graduate diploma. Having lived by myself for three years, without much supervision, I had to move back home for a whole year. This was really tough for me. Growing up and going to boarding school at an early age, I had become so dependent on myself. I was so used to doing my own things and at my own time. Being back home meant I had to explain where I was at all times and with who. Talk about feeling suffocated!
Okay back to this guy. He was charming and knew how to make me laugh. He had this “thing” about him that was so attractive and addictive. At the beginning, my instincts told me that something was off but I blamed my paranoia for that and continued. To add onto that, he was a DJ! Who wouldn’t want to date a DJ? I mean it is so much fun. Little by little things started becoming clear.
One particular incident raised big red flag. There was a school event on a weekend and I decided to go. He had been chosen as the DJ for that event so in support I agreed to go. I have skipped the part where I frequently went out drinking with him instead of going home causing more friction between my mother and I and getting home drunk so many times. Our friends (mostly his) decided that after the event we should all go out and have a good time. Foolishly, I agreed. This meant that I wouldn’t go home where I was supposed to be anyway and it meant I would get into big trouble which I did. So in the event of us going out, drinking like there is no tomorrow and being driven by a drunk driver, we decided to go to the hub of all nightclubs, Westlands. This part of Nairobi town has so many clubs that outnumber your fingers and is very popular with the youth.
I walked out make a phone call to invite a school mate who wanted to join us. For some reason he thought I was cheating on him. So made the phone call. Little did I know that he was standing right behind me, I turned around and found him staring at staring at me so angry like a vicious dog. In a matter of seconds, I found myself on the ground. My left ankle hurt like hell. I wasn’t going to just let it go. I remember screaming, “If that made you feel like a man do it again!” At the same time I stood up and pushed him back. I wasn’t going to let someone just get away with it. The tug of war went on till his friends came to separate us. They were on his side which wasn’t surprising. One of them put me in a cab and told me to leave and so I did. Less than a month later after so many apologies and being convinced, I went back even after my siblings told me not to.
The insulting and emotional abuse continued. I lost most of my friends because they didn’t like him. I severed ties with almost all my male friends because I was constantly and continuously accused of sleeping with them. I transitioned into law school and found myself spending more time at his house. (Ladies don’t make that mistake) So one night we were out having a drink at the local which was near the university and a political discourse in the bar started, I decided to go to the library and catch up with my reading and meet him later. At around 9pm, I left the library.
The discussion had become somewhat heated. I dared not comment because I didn’t want an argument. We came from two different tribes and anyone who knows Kenya is aware of the two tribes that are always on the political divide. Deep down I was so hurt by the comments he made. It seemed that he forgot I was from the tribe he was insulting but I dared not comment. After a while I noticed that it was getting heated and he was so drunk so I suggested that we go to his house and sleep. I was shot down so fast that I even got surprised.
At almost midnight, we left the bar. On the way to the house all he did was curse at the Kikuyu tribe. I watched in silence. When we got to the house, I changed and got into bed. Less than 10 minutes later the cursing was now about me. I was told how women from my tribe were useless and how I could not scrub a sufuria till it was clean like the women from his tribe. I ignored him and pretended to be asleep. He went to the extent of going to scrub the sufuria and wake me up to show it to me. And that’s when I noticed it, the hatred and anger.
The next thing knew he had grabbed me by the throat and pinned me to the floor. He told me that I will never leave him because no one will ever love me and all I was good for was sex. I was so scared at that moment. He then took a knife and threatened to kill me. I was in shock. Never had I expected that it would escalate to that point. He said that he would kill me and then kill himself because he knew that my father would go after him. I begged him not to hurt me. He took dropped the knife and went for a wine bottle. I could barely breathe. He shouted atrocities that up to today I cannot remember because I blocked them out.
After that he locked the door to the bedroom and put the keys where I couldn’t reach them. He then ordered me to strip. At this time, I knew that my life was over. Someone I had trusted turned against ma and was going to rape me after claiming to love me. I started saying the rosary. He then ordered me to sleep. I got into bed and said the rosary all night. It was the longest five hours of my life.
In the morning I woke him up and told him that I had to go to school. I changed and asked him to open the door for me which he did. I walked out so scared. I pretentiously told him I will see him later and smiled. Deep down, I was relieved to be getting away from him. On the way to law school I asked myself so many questions, to make it worse I couldn’t even cry. I went straight to my friend’s room when I got to school and broke down. That afternoon I called my best friend we met up and I told her all about it. The next day, I had another friend of mine drive me to his house and I got all my stuff. He was still threatening me but since he was sober I was able to be firm in my conversation. I made it clear that I never wanted to see him again. I swore to myself that if I have daughters, they will never go through what I went through.
That is my story.