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How to help your daughter through a violent relationship

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Bunmi Sofola

With the spate of violence going on in the country, is it any wonder that teenage girls are vulnerable to rape, violence and manipulation from their so-called boyfriends?  Faith, a 42-year old nursing sister had her daughter, Nike, when she was only 20.  “Even as a child, you could see the potentials of her being a stunner in her”, she said. “She was 18 and an undergraduate when she met Lawrence, who lived not too far away from us with his parents.

I’d heard worrying rumours that Lawrence, a computer analyst and dad of two from different women, treated his girlfriends appallingly. He’d even been arrested for battery and was et free. But when we eventually met him, we were impressed, he seemed quiet and polite; and treated Nike like a princess. He assured me he would take care of her.  Whenever she was home, they would go out together. The weekend he couldn’t go with her because one of his children was ill, Nike’s phone rang constantly. She complained when she got home and I told her to be very wary of men like him.

“When he turned up a few weeks later, he came with us for the birthday party of one of my nieces. His gaze was cold and he stuck with Nike like a nympet. Yet my daughter insisted everything was fine.  Until about a month later when I saw him leaving the house in a huff.  `We had a horrible row’, Nike sniffed.  `He accused me he had proof of my flirting with other men on campus’.  How dare he, I raged. And you know what my daughter said in his defence?  That she must have provoked him!  I was beside myself and tried to make her see sense. She said I should lay off, that she couldn’t handle pressure from me as well.  She looked so heart-broken that I left her alone. So next time Lawrence came to the house, I cornered him and hissed: `Don’t you ever hurt her again.  `Mummy’s girl, is she?’, he sneered.

As Okiye emerges Edo House Speaker . . .(Opens in a new browser tab)

“I was shocked. Was this the same shy, sweet Lawrence who’d charmed me?  Oh, how I hated him. As soon as Nike came out of her room I realised she was under his spell. When Lawrence eventually got a one-room apartment and moved in, Nike started spending the odd weekend at his place. When I protested she said she was already 21 and had to grow up sometime. Short of keeping her under house arrest, there was nothing I could do to stop her.

“Only, her boyfriend was so jealous and paranoid, demanding to know her every move.  He never went on outings with her, but his shadow still hung over her. She started losing her sparkle and I reminded her her bed was always waiting for her. I told her if she continued to stay with Lawrence, he’d destroy her. But she was in love and under his spell. Whenever she visited, he rang her mobile constantly. One night, I was so enraged I snatched the phone and bellowed: ‘`For Christ’s sake, leave my daughter alone’. My daughter started crying. It was heart-breaking. Why couldn’t she see the truth?  Why wouldn’t she listen?

“Then came the day she called they were having a violent row and she wanted to come home. `Your dad is on his way’, I assured her, praying by the time he got there, Lawrence would have calmed down. But he rang a few minutes later, `Nike’s locked me out!’, he sniffed.  Thank goodness she was safe. `I love her so much, he carried on, `I can’t stand the thought of her with anyone else.  Alarm bells clanged.  `Just leave her alone’, I raged, slamming down the phone.

“It looked like hours before Nike came in with her dad.  `Lawrence is a lunatic’, he fumed. He’d arrived to find them in front of the house, with Nike crying and Lawrence shirtless and towering above her. I made a move on him and it was an effort to drag Nike back to the house with me’. She vowed that was the end of the relationship as she tended to the bruises on her face and neck. Thank God, I sighed. Lawrence had burnt his fingers this time, and it was good riddance.  But a few weeks later, the phone woke us in the middle of the night. I answered, heart pounding. It was Nike, screaming hysterically, `Lawrence is driving like a maniac!’, he screamed. `He’s going to kill me’. Now what?  I heard him ranting in the background.  `Strap yourself in!’, I told her before the line went dead.

“I tried to ring back, no answer. I was wide awake by now, praying for daybreak when I could go to Lawrence’s flat.  But the next call I got was from the police. He had crashed the car and he was arrested for dangerous driving.  My daughter was in a private hospital. When I saw her, I nearly fainted. She was bandaged up, her left leg, hoisted from a fracture she got. I wept bitter tears. The stupid man didn’t have life-threatening wounds to his body. Why didn’t he die in the accident?”

According to research, one quarter of girls aged 13-17 have experienced intimate partner violence, one in nine has experienced several physical violence an almost three quarter of girls experienced emotional abuse. Now he research lists practical things you can do to help a loved one facing abuse: Talk to her. Her partner may be monitoring calls, texts, e-mails and Facebook messages, so meet in person if you can.


Give her time and don’t judge.

Help her to leave quickly. Offer to keep  a spare set of keys important documents and some cash. Agree a code word. This can be used if she is in serious danger and need you to call the police. Lastly, get advice.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, here’s what to do … Recognise you’re being abused. If you change the way you behave because you’re scared of how your partner will react, he’s abusing you. Understand it’s not your fault and you’re not alone. Thousands of women escape abusive relationships to a life free from fear. You can too.


This is War! (Humour)

An isolated part of the country was being terrorised by a gang of ruthless bandits and people were fleeing their homes. In one village, all that remained was a young boy and his toothless, 85-year old grandma. One morning, they were woken by a tremendous noise as the gang rode into town.

“We want food”, they demanded of the young boy.  “All I have left is one sausage and half a loaf of break”, he said.  “Then give it to us. War war”.  “”Drink”, they then shouted, “we want drink”.  “There are only three bottles of beer left”, replied the boy.  “Good, let’s have them now. War is War”. “Women, bring us women”, they yelled later. “There’s only my grandma”, he said, pointing to the old hag who was smiling at them.  “Well, .. er …perhaps we’ll forget about the women”, one of them said, looking at the horrible sight.  “What do you mean?”, said the old woman crossly. “War is War!”.

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