My name is Ayisatu Olondo. I come from Abeokuta, in Ogun state. I’m 37 years old and I have four children. The oldest is 15, the rest are 13 and nine while my baby is just four years old. They are too young not to have their mother with them but coming here is the most difficult decision I’ve made in my life.
What brought me here to this project place is because my husband wanted to kill me so I had to speak to myself, I said: “Ayi, you want to eat of the fruit of your labour, not so? Pack your load and go before Yisa kills you and another woman replaces you on the day your children become great.”
My husband did not start beating me today o. He began to beat me even before we were married. I know this is strange but you know how it is; you love a man, you think he loves you back, so when he slaps you a few times, begs you and buys things for you to make you feel he is really sorry for his mistake, you sometimes blame yourself for being a big mouth and so deserving of the slap. So you forgive him. You remind yourself that you love him. And it’s not as if the beating was every time; it was like maybe once in three months or maybe even six months sef.
Anyway, after my first child, his mother came to take care of me and the baby. You know how it is with us wives and mother-in-laws. We didn’t get on well. My husband believes anything his mother tells him. I’m not saying mama is a liar, after all, I have all boy children; someday, I’ll be a mother-in-law too, not so?
But mama was difficult. I had my baby through CS, yet, mama would want me to squat to make lafun, you know the white amala; she would want me to wash her clothes every day, because she is a very neat woman and she can’t wear the same clothes twice, she must wash them. So she would carry the baby and tell me to go and wash.
Meanwhile, I had baby clothes to wash, add my own, add mama’s own, haba! It was too much. After a while. I told her my stitches were still hurting. She said I was lazy that is why I couldn’t have my baby the normal way. She didn’t understand that some babies just have to come through CS, in fact, all my children were CS. Did I tell all my children to come as CS? Forget the fact that I have boys, you would think I should be celebrated.
Anyway, one complaint after another and my husband descended on me. He beat me so bad one time I was rushed back to the hospital to have my stitches sewn again. That was after Abu’s birth, my last born.
At this time, I was used to being beaten because of mama and I had become defiant. I know I should not have dared my mother-in-law but walahi, Allah is my witness, that woman has a devil in her.
Even after mama left for the village, my husband had got used to beating me over every little excuse and my boys were always witnesses.
One day, Mamed, my eldest son, (his full name is Mohammed but we call him Mamed) defied his father, and told him he would kill him if he laid a finger on me again.
“Mamed, stop that foolishness, please don’t mind the silly boy,” I said as I rushed to shield my son from his father but Yisa grabbed the boy from me and beat him until neighbours rushed in to save him.
That night, as I sat beside my battered and bruised son in the hospital, I realised that Yisa could have killed that poor boy if neighbours had not intervened.
“Next time you challenge me in my own house, I will beat you to death and bury you on that spot!” My husband thundered at Mamed when we came back home three days later
I knew it was no empty threat and that was when I made up my mind to leave or my children may never live to be adults.
A few weeks later, I moved here. My kids are still with their father; he will train them since I’m the one who caused them to clash, I have taken myself safely out of the way.