Domestic violence is a common thing, especially in this part of the world. I’m a victim of an extreme domestic violence.
“Either I kill you or you kill me. One of us must die in this house, but certainly not me.”
Those were my mother’s exact words when I was nine, while she was feuding with daddy. I’m nineteen now, those words now scream in my head. Not once did she repeat those words, but daddy called it a bluff. Domestic violence was the ritual performed almost on daily basis. Daddy couldn’t really overpower mum because mummy is strong, and her height surpassed daddy’s. Mummy made me believe that daddy was a useless husband and an irresponsible father. As I grew older, I discovered that daddy was actually a good man. The kind of man all women would wish to have. So I changed my attitude towards daddy and became very close to him. Mum hated me for that. And so she deceived my younger ones into hating daddy. Daddy got tired of the marriage, and sometimes stayed away from home to avoid troubles and violence in the house. But when he returned, mum called him unwonted names that could only fit a pig. He tried to be calm but sometimes got apoplectic. He was only human.
Daddy once said to me; “I love you my children very much, I care about your future. But I feel so ashamed that we’re not passing a good message across to you, my children. My prayer every day is that none of you shall be violent in future. I’m tired.” I wept. He wasn’t happy about what was happening; the domestic violence in the house was getting out of hand.
One Saturday afternoon, after daddy’s driver had taken my younger ones to the cinemas to see a movie, mum came to daddy.
“Pete” She called him by his name. “I need some money. There’s no food in the house”
“I thought I gave you money two weeks ago to buy food and provisions…” daddy said and mum cut in.
“How much did you give me? Was it not just fifty thousand naira?” She scowled.
“Just fifty thousand, you say?” Daddy frowned.
“Yes! How much is it? Is that up to what your mates give to their wives to go to the market?”
Daddy rose on his feet, “Well, I don’t have cash at home.” He said, walking away from her, “Wait till Monday” He added.
“You must give me that money today oh! The children have to eat”
“You know I don’t use ATM, you can use your ATM card, I’ll pay you by Monday” Daddy said calmly.
“Me? No way! You think I don’t know what you’re trying to do. Because you are going out to spend money on useless prostitutes…”
“Please, Vero let me have some peace. Please I beg you.”
“Not until you give me that money.” She said and held daddy by his cloth. She was acting like she was being controlled by some evil spirits. In no time, fight broke out between them. I did my best to calm them, but mummy would not listen, she pushed me away.
They held each other, wrestling. Daddy managed to fling her on the floor and descended some fists upon her. Mum struggled to her feet and rushed into daddy’s room. She came back into the city room with daddy’s hand gun and pointed it at him.
“What… You want to shoot me? Go ahead; pull the trigger, you…” Daddy could not complete his last statement before he dropped dead on the floor, and blood rushing out of his head. That was the tragic way I lost my dad to domestic violence. I screamed out loud, mum broke down in tears. I made to the entrance door, mum followed me. She ran after me as I was weeping making towards the gate and held me. Our compound is a very large one.
“Leave me! Devil! I hate you…” I blustered.
“I know” She admitted and went on her knees, “please I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…”
“I hate you! I don’t want to ever see you again… get off me…”
“Where are you going?”
“Police station… “
She gripped me, and started crying. “Please don’t. Ella, please have mercy on me, your mother. I’m sorry…”
“I don’t have a mother”
“You do, I’m your mother”
“No, you’re not”
“At least, Ella, consider your younger ones if not me. They need me. They’ve just lost their father, if you report me to the police; I’ll be taken from them… Your youngest sister, Annabel is just 10… She can’t become an orphan now… Please, Ella…”
Those words weakened my thoughts against her. I broke down again in tears. She pulled me in.
“Ella, we have to make this seem like he committed suicide with his gun.” She said, took the gun and put it close to daddy’s hand. “Do not tell your younger ones what happened. Please, none of them must know.” She added.
She took her phone and dialed a number. She was weeping while talking on phone with the police.
Eventually, the police arrived with an ambulance. “I was in the kitchen when I heard the gun shot, I rushed out of the kitchen, only to find my husband lying in his pool of blood; he shot himself. My daughter was in the kitchen with me.” She told the police. I was crying bitterly.
The police took daddy to the morgue. They did no investigation.
Daddy was buried about four months ago. Every day of my life I spend with grief, with disturbing nightmares about daddy. Few days ago, I had another nightmare, where he warned me. “If you don’t expose your mother, you’ll die.” He said in that dream. I don’t want my younger ones to lose their mum now. What do I do?