Everyday afterward, was torture for me, each day being worse than the day before. My husband said I was a disgrace to my family for coming to his house, broken. He called me all sorta of names, and told me to pack all my belongings out of the master bedroom, to a smaller room in the house.
Like that was not enough, every night, he would bring different girls to the house, to share his bed. He would even ask me to cook for them and serve them. It was like, Inyene had been right, I was my husband’s maid. Whenever he did not bring his girlfriends to the house, he would barge into my room, and rape me. Yes, you heard me right. Did you think it was impossible for a husband to rape his wife? I won’t tell you that, you are wrong. But I will tell you that, any man who forces sex on a woman, whether she is his wife or not, has raped her because she had not given her consent.
Sex may be a husband’s conjugal right, but by raping your wife, you kill her little by little. The psychological trauma rape victims go through, is no different from that of a woman who was raped by her husband. I was an example of this. Every morning after a night of being raped, I looked at myself in the mirror and all I saw was an empty shell. Was I an animal that deserved to be raped every night? I would ask my reflection in the mirror. But my sunken eyes would just stare back, without an answer.
Then came the beatings. My husband would complain about every single thing, and thereby find an excuse to hit me. I began to have bruises all over my body, and swollen eyes. He would use his hands, belt and sometimes objects around the house. It was as if he was angry that he had spent so much money for a bride who wasn’t a virgin. Why didn’t he just send me back to my mother? I would wonder.
As for my mother, she had the best deal. Even though my husband had stopped giving her anything, the money he had given her as bride price, enabled her own a provisions store. So she and my siblings were living well according to reports from my husband, who was told by his sister, my former madam. She was banned from coming to my husband’s house, and she made no moves to bring me out because, if she did, she would have to return the bride price. I would always wonder, why I had to be used as a poverty alleviation scheme.
But my husband’s good fortunes ran out on him. Someone introduced a good business venture to him, and he invested all of his savings, so he could get huge returns. It was an importation business, and would have made my husband extremely rich, richer than you could ever imagine. But no, the devil would not allow him be great, or maybe it was God, paying him back for all the wickedness he meted on me. Whichever way you see it, depending on who you believe in, it doesn’t change the outcome, my husband lost everything to pirates on the high sea. He had lost both the business and his savings, my husband was now a pauper.
He went to his rich friends to help him raise money, but not one helped him. Soon, they began to shun him like a plague, for he was no longer in their circle.
My husband, like my late father, took to drinking. He would drink and come home late, drunk and smelling. Even though my husband’s financial status had changed, his beastly character did not. The beatings and rape became more vicious, like he blamed me for what had befallen him. His girlfriends who he brought to the house to taunt me, deserted him because, my husband had no more money to give them.
I realized then, that there was no more meal tickets for me, so my head began to think of a way to generate money. I met Inyene one day in the market, and after telling her our predicament, she gave me a sum of 20,000 naira, hoping to spite my husband, who had abandoned her for a village girl. I didn’t tell my husband about the money, but I didn’t squander it either. I went into the yam business, and in a few months, I was making good returns. Everything I made, I would give to my husband, like a dutiful wife, I wanted him to love me. The more money I brought, the more my husband had. He started a small business again, and the girls came flocking again. My husband did not think of the months he was relying on my income to eat. He told me that, my body was too strong, and I was always smelling like the yams I sold. It is safe to say that, my husband hated me.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you see it, I fell pregnant. I thought that now he would be happy, and perhaps find a way to love me, after all, I was going to give him a child. But no, I was soon to find out, that my husband didn’t think like a normal human being. The raping stopped, but the beatings continued.
In my fifth month of pregnancy, I was ironing his shirt, and being so engrossed in thinking about the soddy deal I had been handed, I left the iron on the shirt, and it got burnt. My husband didn’t mind my pregnancy, he flogged me with his belt, and in the process, pushed me down the stairs. I rolled, down to the bottom of the staircase, and there, I thought, my life would end. My husband didn’t rush me to the hospital, he probably thought I would die, so he left the house. I laid in the pool of my own blood, until the gateman who came in to deliver a parcel from the post office, saw me and called the ambulance.
God used the postman and the gateman to save my life, because if the posman ha not come, the gateman would not have come into the house. But I wonder why God spared my life, just for me to be in this predicament now.
They say I was in coma for three days, the child was removed, to save my life, but my impaired womb was also removed. They made me empty, to save a life I didn’t want to live when I came out of coma. My husband came to the hospital and said that, he left me in the house before going to work, hale and hearty. I didn’t even have the strength to tell everyone that he was lying. I just looked at him with empty eyes. After he left, I didn’t see him for two days. One fateful day, a woman passed by my ward, her eyes passed over me. But then she came back, and stared at me in surprise. It was Inyene, and I didn’t believe I would see her in the hospital. She looked like the type that was afraid of hospitals.
“Eno, what are you doing here, what happened to you?” She asked in alarm, taking in my bandaged leg, forehead, and the bruises all over my body.
“Nothing” I said through pale lips.
“Did you suddenly wake up in the hospital, look at your body. Is it your husband?” She asked with knowing eyes, like she had been a victim of my husband’s beastly character.
I broke down in tears and narrated my ordeal to her.
“So you mean, you have no womb, all because of that your good for nothing husband?” She asked with wide eyes.
“Yes” I choked out.
She could have reported to the police, but no, Inyene asked me to run away from the hospital, and come stay with her. I saw this as a gateway to freedom, So, I didn’t think twice, maybe if I had…
Inyene paid my hospital bills, and took me home with her. I wrote to my husband a little note, and gave it to the gateman.
“Don’t look for me, and don’t disturb my mother for bride price. You have destroyed my life, and if you don’t do as I say, I will destroy yours” the note read.
At first, life with Inyene was easy. She put me on bed rest until I recuperated. My physical scars were healed, but the ones on my soul were fresh wounds. I thanked Inyene everyday for being a good soul, and she would smile and tell me, it’s nothing. After a month in Inyene’s house, she went out and came back with a bag of ‘gifts’.
“I got things for you. Look in the bag” she said, watching me like a wary predator. I looked in the bag, and saw bottles of bleaching creams and soaps. There were also clothes inside, skimpy clothes.
“What would I do with all these?” I asked, perplexed.
“You will use it to revamp yourself. Your husband, that wicked man could treat you this way because, you didn’t recognize your power as a woman. I will teach you, and you will wield this power mercilessly” Inyene replied.
But it never occurred to me to ask Inyene, how she was wielding her own power, seeing as my husband had dated her for a long while and dumped her to marry a girl from the village. I accepted the gift and in a month, my original mildly fair skin was as white as Inyene’s. I liked what I saw in the mirror, it was a good facade. Anyone would look at me, and call me beautiful, but they didn’t know how dead I was on the inside. She took care of my needs, without complaining, but as they say, all good things must come to an end.
One day, Inyene called me and told me she could not continue to shoulder my responsibilities, that she had done as much as she could to give me a life, just as she would do for her younger sister. But it was time for me to stand for myself. I was perplexed because, I had no plans of supporting myself, I was in a fix. She saw my worried face and said,
“Don’t look so perplexed. I will show you the way to make your own money. There is still more work to be done on you, your body is too strong and needs constant massage, but I will shoulder the bills, if you promise you will do everything I say”
” What do you want me to do?” I asked her.
“Rome was not built-in a day, but if the builders had not started the building of Rome, Rome would never have been built. So you have to take conscious steps towards making money” she said, and my heart began to beat faster. Was I going to be thrown into prostitution or money rituals. What does Inyene have in mind for me? I pondered as we stared at each other.
“Look around you, I came to Uyo, all the way from Abak with nothing but the clothes on my back, see where I am today. I will introduce you into my business, and you will be able to stand on your feet in a few months. I am into escort services, and I would want you to be one of my girls. You will cajole men into giving you huge sums of money. I will teach you all the tricks, and before you know it, you won’t need me anymore” she said.
“No man will ever touch you without your consent. Your body is yours to use as you wish. This power will make you payback all the hurt your husband caused you. What do you say?” She demanded for an answer, right there and then.
The last part of paying back the hurt my husband caused me, was the hook. I thought of how I could repay men like my husband, who would treat badly, a woman who stood by him in his trying times, and destroy my life so. I was angry, and I wanted to revenge on all the menfolk.
I am Eno, that badt Calabar girl. A man made me this way, and it was men who suffered in my hands. I still have a lot to tell you about my life and how I came to be in the situation I am today. Stay with me, and share your thoughts in the comment box. Was I right in accepting Inyene’s offer, or did men deserve what they got from me?
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