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I CONFESS – Tired of husband’s verbal abuse

as told to Sanka Price

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I AM EXISTING only through the grace of God. Every day I am hungry and my two children are in need, but I have nothing to give them.The reason for my wretched existence is my husband’s hate for me and his efforts to make me suffer so much that I would run from around him.As far as he is concerned, I am a blight on his life. He told me as much, saying that when I was not in his life he had money, but now he does not even have any savings. Though I try to show him that as a single man living at his mother he had a chance to save, as against now as a married man with a wife and children.But he does not want to understand that. For him, the problem is me. So for months now he gives me no money in my hand, but buys everything for the house. I do not work, but I can do beautician work, and whenever I get a job I use the money to buy my barest essentials.But even that is not enough as sometimes for weeks I don’t get a job and so have nothing to take care of myself with. A few weeks ago it got so bad that I did not have enough money to buy deodorant, yet my husband looked at me and told me I smelt bad. When I told him that was because I had no money to buy deodorant, he just cursed me for smelling bad, but gave me no money.My husband started behaving like this since our last child was born just over a year ago. His complaint then and now is that I am fat and look bad. I used to weigh about 140 pounds but have gone up to 180.Black and greasyHe now tells me that I look stink, and complains that I am black and greasy-looking. When I look at him he turns up his eyes and tells me to go from around him as looking at me makes him feel like vomiting. He does not have sex with me anymore because he says I just look too bad. And now he sleeps in a chair while the children and I sleep in the one bed in the house.In the hope that I could save my marriage I made up my mind that I had to lose weight, so I started to get up early on mornings and do exercises. I wanted to go walking too but he began saying that I wanted to go and meet a man, so I abandoned that idea. Though I have lost nine pounds, that has not brought any words of praise or encouragement, just the same old criticism and cursing – and all of this in front of the children.I am sick of this, but I have nowhere to go. I have no friends, nothing. He was, and still is, my world. I love him.I came to this country as a teenager and six years after I was here he and I were married. I loved him then and I love him now; but it seems he does not love me anymore.I spoke to the pastor who married us and he told him I am an alarmist. I spoke with his mother and she prayed for us but told me his father behaved in the same way. I respect her and his family, but I know a lot of them don’t like me because I am Guyanese.My husband is wickedly putting in people’s heads that I have changed since I received my Barbados ID card, but that is not so.What is the point of having that card and a right to live here when you have no one to share your life with?I was brought here by my family for a better life. I didn’t choose to come here, so I don’t have any underhand reasons for being with him. I am in love with my husband; that was why I married him, and I would just like him to realise that in spite of all the weight I put on, I am still the same person that he fell in love with.My husband can push this idea about me because a lot of Bajans believe that all Guyanese women living here are like men-chasers, and so they paint us as no good.I know for sure that plenty of Guyanese women do a lot of foolishness here in Barbados when it comes to living with men, whether they are married or not. And that is not right.But to say so is not fair to many Guyanese ladies here because most of us do not agree with those women’s actions. I am a married woman and I would not want anybody to have an affair with my husband. So that is wrong, period!What Bajans need to understand is that the same thing they are doing to you here they would do or used to do to their fellow Guyanese women back home. So I don’t see it as a trait that Guyanese women have – it is a female thing. Women all over the world live with anybody as long as that relationship works for them.This is the horror that I am living each day, but most people think that there is something else going on, because “a man just doesn’t start to treat his woman so”.What they don’t know is that for years my husband used to slap me around whenever we had words. Now he does that as well as cursing me in front of the children. One day he was choking me so much that I began catching for breath and I felt that I was going to pass out – it is that bad. But just because I don’t talk about it, people don’t know what he does.I have threatened to call the police if he beats me badly again, but he told me if I called them and he was locked up, his family would not let me stay in the house.For him it always comes down to the house which he is now building. It seems that all that matters to him is his house, and me being a part of it. He looked me in the face and told me that all he ever wanted was two children, and now I have done that, he wants nothing more to do with me. That is what I am up against.It really hurts me that at 21 I could be going through this. This is not fair to me. I love him and have always been good to him. I am not interested in any house; I just want to be happy. I want a better life for me and my sons.That is why I would advise young women to finish their education and not to be taken in by men’s charms. When you don’t have to depend on anybody for anything, people cannot treat you unfairly and hurt you, especially if you don’t deserve it, like me.I would beg mothers to talk to their daughters about men and relationships so that they would know what they can expect in life. If I had realised that this was what my life could become, I would have finished school and done something worthwhile with my life. Instead I am living in bad conditions, with nothing and no one to turn to.