Divorce – An Escape Route (Part 1)

A few days later, Bala left for Sokoto State for some social functions without saying anything to Zuwaira. He only left a note by the TV in the family living room, which read, “I’ll be back whenever you see me. A ten million naira transfer will be made to your account; confirm the transaction and send it to my uncle Yusuf immediately.”
The Love Central - Divorce paper The Love Central - Divorce paper
Divorce contract

We are in a time when divorce is rampant and whatever the cause, or whoever is at fault, the woman takes the blame. Once upon a time, African women would rather die in their marriages than be labeled “divorcees.” However, things aren’t the same anymore! Without trying to support the rising cases of divorce, there are certain reasons that result in divorce that cannot be overemphasized.

Zuwaira was a young bride who had no idea about the institution called marriage until she found herself in one. All she was ever taught was how to stay submissive to her husband, no matter what happened. She didn’t have the opportunity to attend a university because she was married off immediately after secondary school.

5 years into her marriage to Bala, Zuwaira was a mother of 3 young children and pregnant with the fourth child. In all these years, she lived with Bala’s excesses like it was a normal way of life. She had nobody to complain to, even when she knew in her heart that he was treating her badly.

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the fabrics of her clothes were exclusively superior no matter how simply tailored they were Image by Freepik

Bala was a rich kid. His father was a northern oil magnate with properties all over the country. He had 4 petrol stations to himself, while he managed 2 others for his father. Bala wasn’t spoilt, but he had issues. He did drugs and was a serial womanizer. He had no limit to where womanizing took him, he even brought the women to the house he shared with his young wife, Zuwaira.

Bala would go as far as making Zuwaira cook and serve food to these women. Whenever she as much as wore a small frown on her face, he’d verbally and physically abuse her. She was a modern-day slave in her own home. She had nowhere to run to because her family was poor and her dad could curse her if she ever ran back to his house.

Outside her home, Zuwaira was respected and admired by a lot of women. She had the best gold jewelries, she was driven in the most luxurious brand of cars; and the fabrics of her clothes were exclusively superior, no matter how simply tailored they were. Her shoes and slippers were from the best international designers, and her veils were always adorned with beautiful stones and embroidery.

Anyone who sees Zuwaira doesn’t need to be told that she lived in wealth. She had beautiful brown skin and long, full, healthy hair that remained covered within her turbans. She was soft-spoken and polite. But beneath all the glamour lay scars, pains, humiliation, suffering, a heart full of regrets…..and revenge!

Zuwaira sat in front of her dressing mirror while she nursed the most recent bruise on her left shoulder. Earlier that day, she asked Bala for permission to visit her ailing mother, but he refused and asked her to leave him alone. She tried to explain how urgently she needed to see her mother but he sprung from the chair, drew out all the strength within him, and pushed her.

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But beneath all the glamour lay scars pains humiliation suffering and a heart full of regretsand revenge Image by Freepik

She wasn’t fast enough to escape from the impact and she found herself slammed against the wall. When she tried to run to her room, Bala threw a punch at her but it missed her face and hit her behind the neck. She had a hot bath, massaged her wounds with a hot towel, and made a decision.

Zuwaira usually takes the kids to the park every Saturday. She had a friend, Hauwa, who meets her there and she would send messages and money to her family through her. Hauwa knew all Zuwaira was going through but because she promised to keep it to herself, she never told anyone, but she made sure to let Zuwaira know that she was there to help her if she needed her.

Hauwa knew Zuwaira was smart, even though she didn’t go to school. Hauwa always advised Zuwaira to leave the country and further her education abroad. She told her she would be doing both her kids and herself a huge favour. A new beginning was what Zuwaira needed to prevent the mental, emotional, and physical abuse from destroying her.

Hauwa was of royal blood and she had connections all over the world. She was smart and street-wise, but she was very kind as well. After they parted ways from the park, they never communicated until they saw again. Zuwaira had made up her mind to finally leave Bala for good. When she got home that evening, it was another nasty encounter with Bala, but this time around, she felt nothing of his humiliation.

A few days later, Bala left for Sokoto State for some social functions without saying anything to Zuwaira. He only left a note by the TV in the family living room, which read, “I’ll be back whenever you see me. A ten million naira transfer will be made to your account; confirm the transaction and send it to my uncle Yusuf immediately.”

As planned, Hauwa went to Zuwaira’s family house to deliver the usual message of cash and some food items. She waited to be alone with Zuwaira’s mother before leaning forward and whispering to her, “Zuwaira is on her way as we speak.”. Zuwaira’s mother smiled as tears rolled down her cheeks…. “Are you sure she is fine?” to which Hauwa nodded as she smiled back in response to Zuwaira’s mother.

Bala returned from his trip and was told by the cook that the kids traveled with their mother a few days ago. He went straight to their rooms and most of the children’s clothes were gone. He dashed to Zuwaira’s room, screaming out her name at the top of his voice. He kicked the door open in his rage and it was empty.

Bala ran down the stairs to get his phone, and as he was about to dial Zuwaira’s number, he spotted a folded piece of paper right where he had left the note for Zuwaira before he traveled. He rushed to open it and found that it was a stamped divorce letter with both his and Zuwaira’s signature on it. He screamed out her name as he stormed out of the house

Bala went to Zuwaira’s family house, where he thought she had gone to hide but she wasn’t there. Her father even threatened to cause him trouble if he didn’t find his daughter. Zuwaira’s mother had explained to him about their daughter’s ordeal at Bala’s house. As stubborn as he was, he had his regrets and made peace with his daughter before she traveled.

Zuwaira left for the UK after spending a night with her parents at her family house. She left the country with her kids and her younger sister. She enrolled in school to study Law while also working to keep herself acquainted with the new lifestyle. She has a few friends from school and work and she lives for free in one of Hauwa’s many houses in the UK. Her older children are in school, while the baby she was pregnant with is taken care of by her sister.

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She has a few friends from school and work Image by Freepik

As much as she tried to respect and honour her parents, Zuwaira knew her life was more important. Even if she was destined to die for a man, it could never have been Bala. She had no idea what marriage was meant to be like, but she knew it was not what she experienced in hers.

Divorce wasn’t ever her plan, but she had to take that route to have a better life. Not all the women who have opted for divorce jumped into making the decision. We should understand that our lives matter just as much as our happiness and mental health. Without making divorce the first resolution to marriage crises, we should be confident that we aren’t the problem we’re running away from.

Have you ever acted out of raw emotion, only to be haunted by “what ifs” later? 

Read Tinuade’s story to discover the dangers of disruptive impulse control disorders.

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