Domestic violence in Nigeria is a problem as it is in Africa. It takes many forms which include the physical, emotional, mental, psychological, or sexual form of abuse. Sadly, women and children constitute a larger number of victims of domestic violence. Purple ribbon is a fictitious story about a young lady who blogs passionately about women and children’s rights. so how does she finds herself in the clutches of domestic violence? Her life takes a revolutionary change after she unveils a great secret that has been lurking around her home.
Purple Ribbon intends to delve into the mind of Aneesa, a 26-year-old successful microbiologist, and a passionate women and children blogger.
All her life, Aneesa has attended seminars and has been part of courses that have vehemently protested against domestic violence. Having received numerous awards for her activist career, it came as a huge shock to discover that Aneesa lived with an abusive husband. Having been married for 2 years and helped a good number of women come out of their abusive relationship, Aneesa wondered why she couldn’t decide for herself.
In this blog series, some of the causes of domestic violence will be elaborated on and will try to outline what the victims suffer. It promises to be a highly suspense-filled and educative story that will help women and children to realize that they always have a choice to make in life.
Purple Ribbon will revolve around Aneesah, her husband, and a few friends and will take set in a typical northern environment to be able to outline some peculiarities of domestic violence in Northern Nigeria.
PLAY THE AUDIO FILE BELOW TO ENJOY A BETTER READING EXPERIENCE.
The applause echoed loudly across the large hall filled with lights and colors. Chairs and tables beautifully decorated were placed in the hall making it look like a wedding reception. This was an award ceremony hosted by the Women in Politics forum. As such, women from all caliber of life had graced the occasion. The first lady of the state had also shockingly made an appearance, making it a high profile ceremony featuring all the crème de la crème of society. Aneesah observed it with a strange and brooding calmness. She was on edge. For reasons unknown to her, she had always hated social events. She was more content and comfortable behind her laptop screen.
Unconsciously, she brought her hand to her neck, but quickly withdrew it and glanced around to make sure no one had noticed. Her neck hurts mildly and she made a simple gesture and covered her veil properly around her neck. She didn’t want anyone noticing her swollen neck. Grabbing her purse, she brought out her red lipstick to retouch her lips which weren’t necessary.
Aneesah needed something familiar to calm her down. She glanced around and noticed the chatter, everyone was talking with someone. She looked at the program and looked at the program arrangements.
Yes, Everyone was networking except her. Suddenly she sighted her friend Petra and instantly felt relieved. Almost immediately she saw her husband Dave, clinging lovingly to her friend Petra. The joy she had felt on seeing her friend faded. Where was her husband when she needed him? Aneesa quickly blocked those thoughts from her head and rose to meet Petra.
“Hey, Aneesah. I was just about searching for you. Ya kike?“
Despite being Igbo, Petra spoke Hausa fluently having lived all her life in the north.
“I’m good Petra. I thought you wouldn’t come. Hello Dave, are you enjoying the evening?” Aneesah asked Dave.
“I should be asking you that. You have been sitting alone for over thirty minutes.” Dave calmly replied.
Aneesah forced out laughter “Well, you know how I am with these things.”
“I know Aneesah” Petra chipped in “But today should be different, you’re among the awardees. You should be proud of yourself. Come here. Dave give us a minute, will you?”
Dave left them after kissing his wife as Petra dragged Aneesah away.
“I don’t like the look on your face kawata, is there a problem? You know you can talk to me.”
Aneesah looked at Petra who was lovingly starring at her, if anyone could be described as a fair beauty then it was Petra. She was tall and had full lips. Tonight, it seemed like she glowed, or was it because she was seven months pregnant? This was the out she needed. Aneesah desperately wishes she could tell someone, just anyone who would listen without judging her. But as she stared at Petra, she felt the familiar fear coming up again and her strength weakened.
“Thanks, Petra, it’s nothing. I just feel a headache but I’m okay.”
As she said those words she felt herself going lower in the pit she had dug.
Petra sighed and looked like she wanted to insist but reluctantly changed her mind. “Alright then, come let’s get you a drink,” she said.
Aneesah winced as Petra draped an arm across her neck at exactly the swollen spot but she couldn’t say anything. Instead, she swallowed her own spit.
“Over the years, women have been disregarded and devalued. Ranging from sexual abuse and domestic violence women and children are always the victims. It is in this limelight that women themselves, the very victims of this plague have decided that enough is enough. Women are now stepping up to demand their rights….” The words of the first lady drifted across the hall.
To Aneesah, it was like she was floating in mid-air, she almost felt dizzy but braced herself to be strong, after all, wasn’t that what everyone expected from her? Petra and Dave were beside her full of smiles. Occasionally, they would whisper to each other and let out a giggle. Aneesah could only stare and wonder what Faisal was doing at the moment.
“To the women, who have imparted great change to Nigeria” the first lady continued, “especially to Northern Nigeria, permit me to introduce you to you Mrs. Aneesah Faisal Dankwambo, to be honored with the Women in revolution award for the year”
Applause greeted her as she stood up to take the platinum tinted plaque placed on a wedge, like a mirage she successfully masked the anguish lurking in her soul, smiled at the cameras, and had a brief chat with the first lady. From there, she had a word with almost half of the women in the gathering who wanted to congratulate and tell her how proud they were of her. At the end of the ceremony, she was having a headache from all the forced smiles, conversations, and the light. Even the music sounded unpleasant to her ears. She longed to drop on her soft comfy bed and sleep.
Aneesah however dreaded going home as she knew what waited for her.
“Aneesah, is Faisal coming to pick you?” Petra called out.
“No, but don’t worry I’ll be…”
“Stop that.” Petra was now angry “when did we start getting this polite with each other? Just hop in the car let’s drop you off”. Aneesah quietly entered the car as Dave drove off.
“Let Faisal know that I’ll have his head for not accompanying his wife to her award ceremony,” Dave said as he slowed down beside the large brown iron-clad gate. Aneesah smiled and bade them goodbye.
She walked gently inside the house. It was a Friday and the estate was quiet. The stars shone brightly from the sky illuminating the large umbrella tree in the house. She wished she felt the same calmness within her heart and home. Gingerly she opened the front door and walked inside the living room glancing around. Faisal had built the house while they were dating.
It was a large family bungalow that had four bedrooms, two living rooms with adjoining quarters. The living rooms were painted white and coffee, Aneesah’s favorite colors. Faisal had built her dream house but their marriage was nothing to write home about. She observed the quiet house and wondered where Faisal was; probably in his study working.
Shrugging, she entered the bedroom and started to take off her clothes. It had been a tiring evening. Intuitively, she rubbed her swollen neck and winced in pain.
“Maybe I need to take some pain reliever”. She whispered to herself. The light that had not been there previously greeted her as she made her way to the kitchen like a ghost Faisal was standing at the kitchen door. Unconsciously, she let out a gasp and felt her muscles tighten, at the same time her legs went weak like they couldn’t stand on their own.
“I asked you not to go to that award ceremony. Kin raina ni koh?”
He started, his voice filling the entire house, his tall frame filling the kitchen door. Unlike Aneesah, Faisal was dark and tall, with high cheekbones, coupled with penetrating dark eyes. He was the true definition of an Arab prince except, for now, he was more like a devil to her.
“No, i.. just…” She tried to explain, but the words got stuck in her throat. Suddenly, she was blinded by the smack that hit her face.
“What is it, baby?” Dave asked as he came to join his wife in bed. Petra was lying quietly deep in thought.
“Petra” he called again.
“Hmm” she answered with a jerk. “I’m sorry, I was thinking” Petra sat up and faced her husband. He had just showered, his body is still wet.
“David, I’m worried about Aneesah. I mean did you observe her this evening? She is completely different. She’s not the jovial, vibrant Aneesah I know anymore”
“Well, I don’t know. Maybe she might be pregnant and her hormones are playing tricks on her”
Petra shook her head slightly. “I know what I’m saying, this is not the pregnancy hormones. Besides, Aneesah’s not pregnant. I would have known”.
“Well, whatever you say, ma’am. You’re the doctor. I don’t want you to worry too much. We have to take care of our baby” Dave placed his hands on her baby bump.
Petra smiled, but she still felt something was amiss.