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MY STORY- Growing Up In an Abusive Home

I grew up in an abusive home. My dad was a loving father but a horrible husband. Like any good parent,  he loved my brother and me unconditionally and worked hard to cater to our needs. He was a surgeon and loved his job. After spending hours saving lives at the hospital, he would rush home to help my twin brother and I with our homework, talk to us about how our day went at school and made sure we were ready for bed. 
I saw my dad as the perfect role model. 
My mother was loving, caring and kind but my dad was my hero. This was mostly because he had more money to take us to all the fancy places and buy us all the amazing toys and games my friends talked about at school. 
Mummy was a woman of few words but always had the broadest smile in the room. She would encourage us to be kind and share with our needy friends at school.  She was the reason everyone liked us at school,  including our teachers. This was because we were always willing to lend a helping hand to our friends. I remember once I mentioned to my mom the story of my class prefect Denzel, whose parents were involved in a fatal accident and could barely keep Denzel in school.  I told her about how Denzel could not afford to bring snacks to school anymore. Since then, my mom doubled my snacks,  half for me, the other half for Denzel.  If there was ever anybody with a golden heart, that would be my mom. 
The story of my parents was one of heartbreak,  betrayal, and pain.  As a child,  I wasn’t bothered about what was going on because I had no idea what was going on. At least my mom did a great job at keeping it away from us for as long as she could.  
The only time I came close to seeing my mother unhappy was when she told my brother Kakra and I, that she was pregnant. I didn’t know how to react to the news because as twins,  we always dreamt about having a baby brother or sister. But when my mother told us she was pregnant, she did not have the usual smile on her face, so I was confused about how to react. 
‘But that’s good news, right?’ I asked her. 
‘Yes, it’s good news. You’ve always wanted a baby brother/sister and you’re about to have one’. That was all she said.
That night,  I heard my parents arguing. As a 15-year-old,  I was used to hearing my parents argue but this time I was particularly concerned.  I was concerned because I had never seen my mom look as sad as she did when she told my brother and me that she was going to have another baby.  That was when I realized that mom had always been unhappy, she only hid her unhappiness behind her smiles. 
Their argument was so loud that night that my twin brother Kakra,  who can sleep for Africa woke up. We sat in silence as we heard angry voices from our parents’ bedroom. Suddenly,  there we a loud scream. I could hear my mom screaming with every punch. That night I could not sleep!
This continued until the day my dad slapped her in our presence when she asked him why he said disrespectful words to her in our presence. My mother always wanted us out of her quarrels with my dad.  Immediately she talked back, he slapped her and kicked her multiple times in the head and stomach.  My mom was crying, Kakra and I were crying too and begging him to stop. When he was satisfied, he left angrily.  To our hurt and disappointment, my mother lost the baby. I was filled with so much rage, but as a 16-year-old, there was nothing I could do. 
I could not believe my dad was the man I had admired. 
Since that day, the abuse was done openly.  He beat her up even when we were around and threatened to throw her out of the house, despite the fact that she contributed partly to the building of the house; it was her house too. My mom was immersed in the idea of not leaving a marriage that she stayed through the pain. My twin brother Kakra,  who could not take it anymore, moved out to live with our grandmother (mom’s mother). I decided to stay. I could not afford to leave her alone with my dad. When I turned 22, I was tired of the recurrence of the abuse that I stood up to my dad on one of such occasions.  He threatened to throw me out and said he wouldn’t fund my university education if I dared him.  My mom, on the other hand, kept encouraging me to forgive him and let it go (ironic, huh). 
One day,  I came home to meet a horrible scene. It was a Saturday evening and I went to play football in the neighborhood. Around 5.00pm, I decided to go home and freshen up.  As I entered the house, I saw a woman in her mid-forties and a young man in his 20s rushing out of the house. I asked the security man who they were and he said he did not know; they had come with my dad to the house about 30 minutes earlier.  
I rushed into the living room and what I saw made me feel like my soul had left my body. Mom was lying in a pool of blood. My dad was standing next to her as if he was in a trance. 
Immediately I got to the scene, I knew what he had done; he had always threatened to kill her. I rushed quickly to my mother but she looked lifeless. Apparently, she had died before I walked in. 
My dad was arrested and given 3 months in jail.  Yes, I know. I could not believe it too. Apparently, he had some good friends in the legal chain. According to his lawyers, he killed her in self-defense and the judge, his bossom friend gave him that absurd and unjust sentence. 
Now, you may be wondering how my mother died.
What happened? Who were the woman and young man I saw rushing out of the house? It was after all the drama that the pieces came together to complete the puzzle. 
Apparently, my dad had an affair and had a child with another woman 17 years ago. Kakra and I were five-years-old then. The woman and the young man I met at the gate that fateful day were my dad’s mistress and his mother. He kept it away from my mother for 17-years. He took them there with the intention of asking my mother to leave. In fact, he asked her to leave. As stubborn as my mother was,  so refused to leave and it sparked an argument. She took a knife to scare the women and her child to leave her house since she contributed to building the house.  My dad would not have any of that, so in the struggle to take the knife from her, he succeeded in taking it and stabbed her immediately he got hold of it. 
He killed her! It was not self-defense.
But today, he’s a free man.  He’s moved his new family in. I moved out without saying a word to him. I did not want to be a victim of another murder in my own father’s house.  My brother Kakra has been grieving for months and is yet to come to terms with my mother’s death.  Her death hit him hard than I expected. We are both filled with rage towards our father now.
Why am I sharing this? My mother could have avoided her untimely death if she had left. But she stayed for her values against divorce. If you are reading this and you are a victim or know a victim of domestic violence or gender-based violence of any form, the best decision is to run for your life and visit the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service for guidance. 
As a witness and victim of the outcome of an abusive marriage, gender-based violence must be condemned and I encourage everyone to avoid any kind of violent relationship. 
April 19, 2019

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