I am sitting in front of the mirror. A bruised face with haunted eyes are looking back at me. The cut on my temple needed stitches. I used to be a nurse before I got married. I pick up the threaded needle and proceed to sew the cut. I bite down on my lip at the pain but I won’t stop until it’s done.
I examine my handiwork. It looks a bit crude but it will do. I didn’t want to go to the hospital because I would have to explain the bruises on my face and hands. No, it was better to do this myself.
I sit there staring at myself for a while longer, watching the tears, silent and unabated run down my cheeks. What have I done to make him hate me so? It has to be hate. No man would hit a woman he loves. I have been a good wife to him. When he wanted me to give up my job at the hospital, I did so without any argument. I take care of him, our home, do the laundry, cook the meals and everything else. I don’t complain even though I am bone tired by the end of the day. I make sure that his food is piping hot and ready when he comes home. I don’t resist when he wants us to make love even though I’m not in the mood.
Yes, I have been a good wife to him. Why then, does he hate me? Why does he get angry for no reason and hit me? In the past, when he hit me, he used to be sorry right after and beg me to forgive him. Then, the beatings became more frequent and the apologies were less until they were no longer expressed.
Once he threatened to kill me if I left him. So, I stay not out of love but out of fear. How much longer could I live this nightmare? How many more blows and insults can I take before I decide that leaving him is worth the risk?
I place my finger on my lips to silence the voice screaming inside me. I am afraid of what would happen if I were to unleash it. I have been living with an abusive husband and suffering in silence for six years. I was beaten during pregnancy and suffered a miscarriage as a result. I can’t have children because of the damage that was done. My mother knew about it but still she insisted that I stay with Anil. “A woman’s place is with her husband. It’s against our religion for you to leave Anil and you will only bring shame to our family.” She even made me think that it was my fault that Anil was beating me. “He’s a good man. You must be doing something to make him so angry that he beats you.”
So, I listened to her and I stayed. I didn’t want to bring shame to our family. That was two years ago. One of these days, though, I am going to leave Anil and I don’t care if that brings shame to my family. I don’t owe them anything. They don’t care about me so why should I care about them?
I make a solemn promise to myself now on the eve of my thirtieth birthday, that one of these days, I will walk out of here and never look back.
Leaving an abusive marriage/relationship isn’t as cut and dry as many of us believe. Women remain in these situations for various reasons–self-blame; damaged self-worth; fear; the desire to change the abuser; the children’s safety; family expectations and experiences; financial limitations and isolation. Some women eventually leave while, sadly, others don’t.
This was written for the Ragtag Daily Prompt for Monday which is Needle. For more information, click HERE.
Source: Institute for Family Studies