“Yeh! Help!”, a female voice shouted
I got up from my bed, donned my hijab and took my position by the window. Or should I say my television? For a long time, I had looked on at the world from my perch. I had been staying indoors for about three weeks and power had been out for three days. The window had become my sole mode of entertainment. It was from there I learnt that a certain Iya Bolu’s daughter had been impregnated by her teacher and Bolu did not seem to care. I also saw a fishmonger who did not mind people touching her fish even after she was reminded of Covid-19. Of course, there were the occasional idiots who would not stop looking up. They were the only issue because, when did characters in a TV show start noticing the viewers?
“You will die today, you useless woman”, a different voice said. This one was deep and sounded angry.
Even though the noise was coming from down the street and my view was limited by the unapproved storey building beside my house, I still kept standing. I wanted to know if the hairdresser downstairs, Ìyá Ìbejì would go. She was my gist plug and no, she does not know.
“Please, please go”, I begged
She did not disappoint me. She took her gèlè off the dryer, tied it hurriedly and off she went. I sat back and relaxed. I could still hear indistinct voices though, I guessed it was a wife and husband thing. I picked up my copy of “The concubine” and started reading for the umpteenth time.
“Àrà meèrírí, mo rórí ológbò látẹ!”. Ìyá Ìbejì is back!
I stood up and braced up for the story I knew was coming.
” You can never imagine o!”, she started. Her audience were her apprentices, customers and the woman selling black soap. And then, there was me.
Apparently, the woman had beaten up her husband and it was not the first time. It was just the first time it would be in someone’s presence. The husband’s brother just got there the previous day and he walked in on her slapping her husband repeatedly while the latter begged. The brother flared up and slapped her. According to Ìyá Ìbejì, her husband did not say a word when she got there. Everyone marvelled at the inability of the husband to ‘handle’ his wife and how weak he was.
I was not surprised they found this case of abuse surprising, men are supposed to be stronger after all. I would have thought the same if I had not read about a similar case on Kintsukuroi, a website where you could write anonymously about how you were abused. The man’s wife looked like the most gentle person on earth but behind closed doors, she was the total opposite. She bashed him with words and whips and got him to be silent in the same way. The person he told albeit casually laughed it off, the words were “It’s either the man is a fool or his ancestors had committed an unforgivable offence against a woman”. From his write-up, he was still married to her.
I wondered how he was fairing considering he might be stuck with her all day, lockdown and all. I wondered when people would understand that abuse is not gender specific. I wondered when men in those shoes would be able to get help without shame.
I sighed and was about to sit when I heard “Close your shops o! Soldiers are coming”
Another show had started!
Àrà meèrírí, mo rórí ológbò látẹ – I have seen something amazing