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Why I stayed!!! Despite severe abuse by spouse…

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This is for you who has been angered, assaulted or abused; For you who has been bruised, burned or beaten; This is for you who has been beaten to an inch of your life and yet; You still stay. For me, this is why I stayed.

I joined the university in the spring of the year two thousand ten. I enrolled into the journalism program because I considered journalism to be a platform where I could be always be able to speak out. That for a time was my only focus until my third year in the university when I met him…

It was a beautiful, sunny day in August two thousand and thirteen. I was headed to class, minding my own business when I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. Thereafter, a deep, distinct arousing voice,

Hi Stephanie*, we share a class do you mind if I walk with you?

He and I soon became very good friends. In the month of October, that same year, two thousand and thirteen, he proposed that I be his girlfriend. I was ecstatic. My first boyfriend! Finally we could hold hands as we walked on campus… we could do all those things lovers do. It was therefore no surprise that when he asked me to move in with him into his meticulously partitioned bedsitter, I quickly obliged.

Our first month together was magical… so one evening, instead of reading, I decided to prepare for him supper. I love chapatti and beans, he never liked beans, he claimed that they gave him gas. I thought gas was a very small price to pay. He came to the house at around 10pm, a little tipsy. I quickly ran to him. Well it wasn’t running… I just took a step because it was a bedsitter. With my arms wide open, I told him how I had prepared for him a sumptuous meal. When he bent down to open the sufuria only to be met by the waft of beans, he turned towards me….I could see the creases gather on his face.

I had never been slapped till that day. The velocity at which his hand swung towards my face, as I stood, rooted to the spot, staring at it all the while thinking to myself that arm cannot be coming towards my face.

After that incident he disappeared for two days and then returned with a bunch of fresh white lilies and knelt in front of me, looked at me in the eye and said HE WAS SORRY.

I believed him, so I stayed…

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Mid December, he came home with a group of his friends, laughing loudly, making a lot of noise. I turned to him and said, Babe, kindly go play (at a friend’s house), the finals start tomorrow.

He walked out with his friends and came back 15 minutes later and slowly closed the door behind him, and descended on me mercilessly – slapping, punching the joy of the Lord out of me… and left me bleeding on the floor.

This time round he disappeared for two weeks. The first three days after the incident, I couldn’t keep food down, not even chapatti and beans. And it is in those two weeks that I learnt the power of makeup.. covering the big black bruises on my face.

He returned this time round with not only fresh white lilies, but also with a 3 carat diamond necklace. He cried before me and told me, STEPHANIE*, BABE… I LOVE YOU more than life itself. It was the first time I had ever heard those words directed to me.

SO I STAYED.

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In June, of two thousand and fourteen, Dave came home at midnight. Drunk. Since I had already turned in for the night, he sat at the edge of the bed and tapped my shoulder. BABE… I shrugged and responded… Go away, you smell like a brewery.

He was really upset; and dragged me by my hair on to the floor. Then forced himself on me, ripping parts of me that I didn’t even know existed… and then as if nothing had happened, he jumped into bed and passed out.

As I lay there on the cold floor, rolled up in my own piss and blood, shivering, in pain, but too shocked to cry. I thought to myself, HOW DID I GET HERE? What stupidity led me here? As I thought about it, I felt angry at myself, at him, at everything… I felt cold blood run through my veins and my heart pounding really hard against my chest.

I picked myself up… took a step to the kitchen, and picked the sharpest knife… and walked towards my snoring husband. I held up the knife and really looked at him…this man here had robbed me of my worth, my dignity and my sanity. He was better off dead.

But just before I plunged the knife into his chest, a small voice whispered to me, he’s not worth it… don’t let him take away your freedom too.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, it doesn’t matter whether he/she is sorry or whether he/she loves you.

If you are physically or emotionally being abused, then YOU SHOULD NOT STAY!!!

* Stephanie Anyango (Not real name. Name of author has been changed on request to protect author’s identity).

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