“My heart was panting and I could feel the different physiological changes……”-Titilayo

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“The abusive man’s high entitlement leads him to have unfair and unreasonable expectations so that the relationship revolves around his demands. His attitude is: “You owe me.” For each ounce he gives, he wants a pound in return. He wants his partner to devote herself fully to catering to him, even if it means that her own needs—or her children’s—get neglected. You can pour all your energy into keeping your partner content, but if he has this mindset, he’ll never be satisfied for long. And he will keep feeling that you are controlling him because he doesn’t believe that you should set any limits on his conduct or insist that he meet his responsibilities.” ― Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

Again, Lundy Bancroft gets it. He fully understands both the victim and her abuser. What can I say? Thanks, Mr. Bancroft for letting me know I was not crazy after all. Where the religious institutions have failed victims of domestic violence so badly, the non-religious settings are getting it! I strongly believe that it is high time religious bodies begin to critically examine the negative impacts of their sermons on victims of domestic violence and how they, either directly or indirectly are propagating the gospel of partner abuse. Patriarchy privileges one over the other in a male-female relationship, and the power imbalance that exists in most homes ensures that victims remain powerless and voiceless. Cultural and traditional beliefs also play significant role in promoting violence in the home… when the victim is asked to endure, keep her domestic matters in the four walls of her home, victim blaming and shaming, further societal discrimination, isolation and stereotyping, etc are society’s ways of promoting violence and to keep victims of domestic violence silent, and guess what? abusers know this very well. I want to argue that it takes tremendous courage and strength for a victim to come out and say, “I am being abused”. Survivors know the cost of coming out… we know what is at stake and we often damn the consequences, be it murder by the abuser or discrimination and stereotyping by the larger society. I declare “I would rather die voicing out my pains & struggles rather `than live and be silenced!” It is time for society to rise up and hold abusers accountable… regardless of the gender perpetuating violence, there are and there must be dire consequences for the abusive behavior! Otherwise, we as a society will be failing victims of domestic violence over and over again.

I will like to continue my story from where I left it the last time. So, I decided I was not going to appease my abuser this time around. I went to the counseling center at the U of S, a free service provided by the university for students. I began to meet with the therapist on a regular basis as the ongoing abuse was affecting me very badly. Days after the incident involving the breaking of the bedroom door, there was another significant episode which I will never forget for as long as I live. Remember this was in January, and the winter here is usually at its peak between December and February, so January was very cold this particular year (2014). I had gotten the kids and myself ready for school and my ex was to drop us all at school/daycare. Our girls were dropped and I was supposed to be dropped next. One would have to pass right by the university before heading to downtown where our son’s daycare was. My ex drove pass the university and I knew he had an agenda, I said nothing.

He drove us to my son’s daycare and I got out of the car to drop my son. I came back in the car, and of course, the atmosphere was very tense. My heart was panting and I could feel the different physiological changes as a result of not knowing what was about to happen or what my abuser’s intent were for not dropping me on campus earlier. I tried as much as possible to hold myself together as he drove towards College Dr… towards the university. However, just as we left the daycare’s parking lot, my ex began to question me in regards to the “affairs” with “all these men”. I said I have nothing to say anymore regarding that as I have said all I could say about the issue (the same thing that I have been saying from the get go… I have no emotional or physical affairs with anyone!). He was furious as I was “too stubborn and determined”. He began to insult my parenting and yelling at me, asking if my parents were the ones that gave him the scholarship to come to Canada, I said nothing. He then began to drive like a maniac (not his first time) and told me that he would in fact not be dropping me at the university. He would take me wherever he was going. That was when I spoke and informed him I will be going to school regardless of what. He got more annoyed. I stayed focused as I made up my mind to jump out of the car whenever and wherever the traffic light stops us. He kept driving fast, I held on tightly to my backpack and lunch bag. The traffic light then turned red when we got to the first bridge on College Dr, towards McKercher Dr. I immediately jumped out of the car before he could say anything. The unfortunate thing was that it will be near impossible for me to catch a cab or a bus here. I was not well-dressed for the winter as I was not expecting this unfortunate drama. I was casually dressed since I was going to be dropped on campus. I began to walk by the side of the road (a highway if you will call it that). So much snow on the ground made walking difficult, and I did not have the right set of winter boots. I kept walking and waving down vehicles but none would stop for me. I was freezing cold and getting exhausted but I will not give up, I kept walking towards the 14th St bridge.

Meanwhile, my ex kept driving back and forth, asking me to get back in the car… I told him only my dead body would get into his car. He was panicky and confused but I could care less. I kept waving down vehicles and an immigrant woman eventually stopped her van to give me a ride. I quickly hopped into her vehicle and asked her to promptly leave the spot… I was afraid my ex would come around. However, as I was still telling her to leave, my ex showed up by her window and he asked her to drop me as he is my husband and will be picking me. I begged the woman to not mind him and that I wasn’t going to go with him. The lady was perplexed at the what was unfolding right before her. She then told me she will not like to be entangled in this scene and that I should get down from her vehicle and call 911. I sadly thanked her and went down from her vehicle but I will not go with my ex. I kept walking and walking towards 14th St. bridge. Although my brother was living very close by the 14th St bridge, I did not want to call him or involve him in the matter, and moreover, he might be at work at that time of the day. I kept walking but I was freezing too. I eventually decided to call my brother, and fortunately, he was at home. I asked him to please pick me up under the 14th St bridge. He asked where I was and I told him, he asked why I would be there… a very weird place for pedestrians to walk. I asked him to just meet me under the bridge. I kept walking and walking…. my toes, fingers, and ears were totally frozen and numb.

As I eventually approached the bridge, I saw my brother and my ex… they both were talking and I could deduce that my brother was trying to convince my ex that he will be picking me (my brother really tried to mediate between my ex and I… he was very concern for the children and I). I guess my ex was adamant at him picking me up… he most likely did not want me to have the chance to talk to anyone about what happened. By the time I got to where they were, I was shaking from the cold but I was very annoyed at my brother for even talking to my ex. I informed both of them that I will not be going with either of them and that if I freeze in the cold as I keep walking, so be it. My brother pleaded so hard, saying there was no way he would leave me in the cold. I wept bitterly! Had I chosen to call 911 at that point, my ex would have earned himself a jail time but again, I couldn’t do that. Doing that would ruin his record in Canada and I was not also ready to face the many other outcomes of doing so… again, what will people say? But, if I know what I know now, I would have immediately called the police immediately I hopped out of the car.

I believe that God was giving my ex chances upon chances to mend his ways, and I was being given grace upon grace to endure… until grace was exhausted. Anyways, I went in my brother’s car and he promised to drive me wherever I wanted to go. I told him everything that has transpired prior and showed him the pictures of the broken door and my swollen lips and face from my ex’s beatings… my brother was devastated. I cried on and on as he drove me around the city… far away from my abuser! I eventually told him I was wanting to go to my class, Women and Gender Studies. He took me to the campus just on time, I was able to make the class… there, I found solace as I occupied myself with what I enjoyed doing… being in school. That is something my ex will not be able to take away from me! For now, I would enjoy my classes, and we will deal with the rest later.

To be continued

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