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#NascoMoments: Lessons from a Domestic Violence Survivor

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By Joy Ehonwa

When Thursday comes around, I find myself looking forward to a brand new episode of #NascoMoments by 7 p.m. on City 105.1 FM. Over the past weeks since the show started, I have learnt a whole lot: why some music artistes make it big and other equally talented ones don’t, and what it takes to succeed in the Nigerian music industry; how to use social media to create the life I want and make impact; the secrets to growing a small business in the economic climate we have in Nigeria; the plight of the Nigerian graduate and the solutions available; the exciting world of local tourism we have in Nigeria that I did not realise existed; how to be fashionable regardless of your budget (one of my favourites!), I could go on and on.

The show host, Joy Isi Bewaji, has a knack for inviting guests who really understand the topic, but no guest has been as intimately acquainted with her topic as Prisca Egbuche. A domestic violence survivor, Prisca was on #NascoMoments to share her experience with this “silent killer” at the hands of a man she loved, shared her youth with, and looked forward to building a future with. To say I learnt a lot about this delicate and scary topic – which has more female victims than male – is an understatement. Here are just 5 of the lessons I learnt from this episode:

  1. Domestic violence often includes verbal abuse. Though it is less talked about, verbal abuse can often be more distressing, but because you have no scars that can be seen, it’s hard for others to relate. Prisca suffered both physical and verbal abuse in her marriage. Besides beating her, he would put her down, compare her unfavourably with his mistress, and even flaunt the other woman’s pregnancy in her face. “You have given me boys; she is going to give me a beautiful girl,” he would say. In case you’re wondering why a woman would hang on to a marriage with this kind of physical, emotional and psychological comment, you should know that…
  2. Domestic violence often coexists with good memories. This was the case for Prisca. She did not marry a stranger. She dated her man for 10 years before they got married, without him EVER raising a hand to her. She married her first love; her first everything. Often, a relationship can be better than a marriage, and her relationship was the stuff romance novels are written about, while her marriage turned out to be a nightmare. Imagine the hurt and disappointment the first time he hit her – just 3 months after she gave birth to their first child! He even hit her during a subsequent pregnancy! The marriage lasted less than 4 years, and he never stopped hitting her. The love of her life had turned into someone else, or had he? In marriage, true colours tend to come out, so…
  3. Don’t ignore the red flags! There are often warning signs and you will do well to recognize them and cut off that relationship before it becomes more permanent. However, sometimes there are no signs and the person you know and love is suddenly replaced by a violent stranger. You keep expecting things to go back to normal, you keep remembering how you started in the early days when he pursued you and fought for your love, you keep trying to understand what went wrong, you keep trying to find a solution because…
  4. It’s hard to leave an abusive marriage. Loyalty and the memories of the good times can be a shackle. Even when an abused woman finds the emotional strength to do what she must, many factors militate against her leaving: family members asking you to endure and deal with it (many of them victims themselves), financial constraints, social stigma, the Nigerian judicial system and the cumbersome road to divorce, all of which Prisca experienced. However, in spite of all this, she came to realise that…
  5. The earlier you leave the better. Prisca says her biggest regret is not leaving when she saw the signs. Her advice to women is, walk away as soon as you see the signs. If you don’t walk away now, you’ll probably do so in the next 10 years, and you would have wasted 10 years of your life, she says. Don’t keep thinking about the money; wherever you can start from, do. Thinking about your children? That’s exactly why you should leave. Don’t raise them in such a toxic environment. No woman deserves to go through physical and verbal abuse in a relationship, and no child should be exposed to the horror of domestic violence, or grow up thinking it is normal.

What a touching yet enlightening episode! If you missed it you can listen to it (and past episodes) online here. I hope every woman out there learns from this; if not for her own self then at least to encourage, educate and enlighten others who may be facing similar challenges.

Of course there was Nasco trivia! What’s your favourite Nasco product and why, in just one sentence? Send your answer to 08033286604 or tweet it using the hashtag #NascoMoments and you could be the lucky winner of a goodie bag!

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