The #NotOfLove is going to be a series of stories from people who have gone through domestic violence. Some will be third person narrations and others from the people themselves. None of these people will be referred to as victims in any of the stories because they chose to leave and please don’t see them as that, even those who never made it out.
According to the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (2016-2020), 56% of girls/women in Uganda aged 14- 49 have said that they have experienced sexual violence at least once in their life. You can read the rest of the report here.
It started the day we came back from our honeymoon, I had finished unpacking our clothes and as always I wanted everything to be well organized in our his and hers closet. I was excited because we had moved into a new house, a house given to us by my father. I remember this day too well; the smells, the way the birds were chirping in the big trees in our lawns and mostly the way the blood tasted from the wound in my left cheek after the punch he had just thrown at me.
Our wedding was a big event, being that both of us came from wealthy backgrounds it was just expected for us to have a big fancy wedding. Our reception was glamorous and our guest list was extensive. I was so happy, I didn’t even care who was there or how big the wedding was; I was married to the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. A gorgeous, tall, handsome sweet soul that looked at me like I was his whole world. I loved this man with every fiber of my being and was elated.
You see, Austin* is not the kind of man you can ignore when he is in a room. He walks in and suddenly everyone starts focusing on him; he has this gorgeous smile that will confuse anyone and I mean anyone, almost all the girls in my circles were enamored by him. He always looks and smells good. When he talks, he looks deep into your eyes like he is trying to touch your soul. That is how I fell for him, we were at an event when he came to say hello to a friend. He said hello, sat next to me and we talked the whole night till morning while everyone danced and had fun. That night, I knew he was the man I wanted to be with for the rest of my life and as he walked me to my car, he said “I have this feeling this is going to be the first of many to come.”
After a year of dating, Austin proposed and our families were excited. They met and the dates were set for us even before we could plan for anythingl else, it was all a whirlwind of events and a few months later on, we were married. Maybe I should have noticed a few things when we were dating or maybe I just chose to be blind to them, I honestly don’t know how I didn’t but I was blinded by love. He had a tendency of calling me a lot and my friends thought he was such a romantic and caring man but of course there’s always that one friend who sees it as being too possessive. He would also just show up at a place if I took long to pick or respond to his calls if I was out and if we went out, he wouldn’t let me or of his sights.
“Are you stupid?” Austin screamed as he punched me in the mouth, I fell onto the bed in shock and raised my hands to try and protect myself. He jumped onto the bed and continued beating me, I thought he was going to kill me. It went on for a while till I blacked out. I woke up lying in dry blood on the white duvet, we had selected all the beddings from a shop in San Francisco on our engagement honeymoon but here I was bruised, broken and bleeding on it because of my husband’s fists. I thought about mcalling my mother, but she was sick so I was scared she would get worse from it. I crawled off the bed and dragged my body to the bathroom and into the bathtub. I cried as the warm water stung my body. One minute I was asking him why a girl was sending him nudes a few days from our honeymoon and the next he was abusing and beating me to my death.
When he came back that night, he had flowers and keys to a new car. He apologized, massaged my feet and held me as I cried in his arms. Everything went well after that, he would come home early and do nice things for me so I did forget about the incident after a while. We were happy, very happy and living the life I had envisioned us living in our marriage. He would take me to cute random road trips around Uganda on weekends or sometimes to a private island owned by some family friends and sometimes we would throw parties at home with close friends. I was happy.
I didn’t know that I was a few weeks pregnant till the doctor mentioned it, you see that morning Austin had gotten angry about somethings and pushed me. I fell off the dining chair and bruised my arm, when the doctor asked I said I slipped down the stairs but of course she didn’t seem to believe me. She broke the news and my heart broke, I had beeni looking forward to having a child within our first year because Austin had asked me to quit my job and stay home since we didn’t need the money. That morning I had told him about the need to start a business because I was bored with being home everyday and he had gotten so furious then shoved me so hard I fell. I had lost my first baby, the one I would have been holding in a few months. My baby, I would never meet her or him and never show them my heart because of Austin.
Two weeks later, I got back home and found rose petals scattered all over the house. There were Chanel, Gucci bags and heels on the bed. He was on his knees with a box in his hand, I forgot all the anger I had in my heart, it all just melted away. I really loved this man deeply and he loved me, he had his faults but he really loved me and I was going to make it work.
It got worse after that, sometimes he would just get angry for no reason and other times it would be some small thing that would tick him off. One night we went out and a man bought me a drink, I didn’t even know him but that got Austin riled up when we got home. He shouted so hard and then slapped me and told me to sleep in the guest room. I told my mum and she said that maybe I should work hard at being a wife and less with going out. I was scared of who he would be when he got home, wasn’t sure if he would be happy or angry. I had watched movies/ shows and heard stories about domestic violence but never in my wildest dreams did I think it would ever happen to me, even worse how hard it was to tell others about what I was going through.
The final straw for me was when he beat me up one time for asking why he was flirting with his workmate on Snapchat. He turned it against me and beat me to a near comma, then left me lying on the floor in a pool of my own blood. This time, I was not going to let him confuse me into forgiving him. I called my sister, she took pictures of everything including my wounded and bleeding body and packed all his things up then put them in the parking. She called my Mum and Dad, who came over immediately after that. By the time Austin came back home, my parents had cooled down from wanting to kill him to having divorce papers filed in hours. He could not talk his way out it this time, he took his things and a police officer was posted at my house.
Our divorce was finalized months back, our marriage didn’t last and I don’t regret that. I am glad I didn’t leave in a casket, of course those who don’t know what happened keep judging and saying I couldn’t keep a marriage even with my parents’ money but I am Okay with it. I don’t care what they say, I am genuinely happy now, healing and living my best life.
Hello, I am Leah* and I walked out on an abusive marriage. I lived!!
* Not real names.
If you would like to share your story or know someone whose story can be shared, please DM me on Twitter @NoirEnBlanca. 🙏🏾 🌻