Content Warning: This article includes discussions of domestic abuse that some readers may find distressing
“It began with a bottle of vodka, gripped tightly in his coarse hands as he waited for me to leave for the hospital.” Helen Joseph* begins to tell her tragic tale of domestic abuse.
*Helen’s real name has been changed to protect her identity.
“He was a very suspicious man, he never realised I was solely committed to him, instead he would assume I would go to the hospital to cheat, forgetting the fact I was a nurse and as a nurse, my patients are my first priority.”
As she continued on her with her story, you could hear the sense of fear in her voice and the impact that left her scared for the rest of her life.
“When he was drunk, he’d forget I was his wife, he would just want sex and then leave me dry and that day, it was the same thing but once I returned after getting ready. The evil buried in this man, who I vowed to love till death do us part finally emerged.”
“He looked me in the eye and there was something strange in his eye that night, I felt like I was looking at someone completely different. He didn’t say a word, he stepped closer, I could smell the alcohol in his mouth. In one moment, I felt his hard heavy hand slap me, across my face and I fell to the ground with a scream.” Helen began to tear up, the pain resided in her and all it wanted to do was come out.
She continues saying, “I didn’t know what I did, all I knew was, I am a faithful woman, and I didn’t deserve this but like many women in my family, I had to take it and live my life, until things were unbearable.”
“There were good days and some bad days. I remember the day I started hating him, I was pregnant at the time and he was so drunk, he kept insulting me, he kept saying our child wasn’t his. I really wanted a mango, when your pregnant you crave things and when I asked him, he said to me, you’re a greedy woman and I will give you nothing. I was so upset, I cried all night, hoping a day would come when I would finally be free of this man.” She continued to say, “I wanted to leave him, I really did but, in our culture, only once the women die, she returns back home.”
Helen explained her thought process during the abusive relationship and said “I had no choice, I had my children, and they were my priority. However, once they were of age, I got a chance to leave the country and I did. Whenever you want to get married please choose a good spouse otherwise life can be a living hell. “
Talking about the day she escaped, Helen said “I remember a day my husband was really troubling me, and I ran away inside a forest nearby, I stayed up all day and prayed. Some years later, god fulfilled my prayers. A man came inside the hospital I worked in and asked for a private nurse, I volunteered and left the country. As long as I’m far away from my husband, I’m happy.”
Many women like Helen have been a victim to domestic violence in recent years.
Domestic abuse cannot be excused, and no one should stand it. Helen got away, it wasn’t easy however now she is separated and happy.
It’s important to observe our surroundings and notice signs that could show someone is in danger.
Recently a codeword scheme for domestic abusive victims to seek help in pharmacies has been launched.
People can ‘Ask for Ani’ at thousands of pharmacies nationwide.
They will then be led into a private consultation room where staff can help them contact the police and specialist support services, without their abuser or other members of the public knowing.
‘Ask for Ani’ is the first national government-backed codeword scheme. People can use the codeword at 2,300 Boots branches and nearly 300 independent pharmacies. The government says that ‘Ask for Ani’ staff have been specially trained to provide a safe, private space for victims.
Additionally you can get help here: https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk
Students can access support here: https://www.stir.ac.uk/student-life/support-wellbeing/student-support-services/sexual-violence/gender-based-violence/