I was born in a family of eight, I being the last born. My dad was a polygamist. My mother was the first wife, and he had another wife.
Growing up, I remember my mother going through beating and insults. At some point, I thought it was normal because even with our neighbour, it was the same trend. There were some days my mother would spend hours outside in the cold. One day when I was 15 years old, I decided to ask my mother why she was being beaten and insulted by my father most of the time. My mother was not willing to share, saying that " it was normal in life."
When I insisted, my mother poured out her heart to me. I listened with anger as she struggled amid tears, and narrated the suffering she had gone through in the past 25 years of her marriage.
I never asked my dad why he frequently insults and beat my mom, but I remember standing before my father one day, telling him that I have tolerated his actions towards my mother long enough. Since that day, he never laid his hand on my mother again, but he decided to throw us out of the house.
My maternal uncle welcomed us and helped my mother in starting a second-hand cloth business. Being a hard-working woman, she eventually bought a plot of land where we built our small house until she died two years ago.
She died a bitter woman due to lots of suffering she went through. I have never forgiven my dad, and I don't think I am interested in doing so soon. I can still hear my mother's faint voice saying " I am staying in this marriage because of my children." I am 28 years old now, but I am still not ready to get married not because I am not ready, but because of what I saw my mother went through.
I am sad that my parents got separated through domestic violence. She died a heroine having persevered her marriage because of her children. I still celebrate her; she has made me respect women. I still fear marriage, because I don't know what to expect.
What happens behind those walls of marriage, I do not know. My heart is willing, but my body is scared.
By Isaac Odongo
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