I grew up in a quiet town, where everyone knew the other to a personal level. I was as naive to the details of its definition. I had a love for reading, thus, I always had my nose buried in a book at any time. When I sat for my Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) I passed with flying colours and went to a good school. This was the pride of my parents and our estate.
High school was personally a revelation. I met people from all over the country and as a result of my naivety, I got involved with the most welcoming company that turned out to be a bad one. By form one-second term, I had already earned myself a two-week suspension.
My school life had started taking a turn for yet the worst experiences. Suspension after suspension, then an indefinite suspension which became an expulsion in the second term of form two and I had to stay home for two terms while my parents looked for another school that could admit me.
In the two school terms I stayed at home, I met a man who was to become my future husband. I was only 14 and knew nothing about relationships. I went back to school and luckily I finished high school without the drama I initially had. Though, I had a lot of problems with my mother concerning this man. I finished high school education being barely seventeen years old. My father threatened to report my boyfriend to the authorities of engaging in a relationship with a minor. This made things tough for us, but we managed to occasionally meet in private, patiently waiting for my eighteenth birthday.
I turned eighteen and I was so carried away at the thought of being able to make my own decisions at free will. One fine day, I decided to elope with my love and moved to another town. My parents were devastated, but I cared the least. I was madly in love to worry about what they thought. I had met my prince charming and no one was going to tell me what to do.
Fast forward to later years. I am now a mother of two girls and the man I had fallen madly in love with has turned into an irresponsible and abusive husband. He became a drunk who would hit me at the slightest provocation. I had grown wiser and I knew this was not the life I wanted for neither myself nor my children. Not only was he physically abusive, but also emotionally and verbally abusive. I called off our relationship and requested a divorce so many times I have lost count. But every time he would woo me back with promises to change and I would believe him. Unconsciously, over a definite period of time, he would be back to his old ways.
He then became obsessive to the point I could not go to the supermarket and take an hour or more. He would call me in the evening while I was at work and demand we go home together. He would time how long I took while carrying out the activities that at any time I took relatively longer I was in for a heated interview. I had become a prisoner of ‘love’ who had no friends, though, I occasionally sneaked to go and see my parents.
I had grown sore of all the suffering and I went to see a counsellor at an organization called Coalition for Women against Violence (COVAW). After an interactive talk, the counsellor asked me if I wanted to press charges. I had had enough but was not willing to go to court.
She then asked me to draw a table and list the things he did for me, versus what he did not. I was paying half the rent by then. It came to my realization that besides being the one involved with keeping our house in order, I was the sole settler of the family bills. She advised me to plan my exit carefully. On one of the evenings, I went home late and the aggressive interview ended up with a beating. I was so emotional that I took my daughters and the belongings I could salvage and walked away. It is now 13 years and I am glad I left. I am having a peaceful life with my daughters growing up in a friendlier environment.