Thursday, 16 August 2012

No say, No life

One of the challenges women in my community face is a lack of a say in marriages.

Take for example Mildred (name changged). She had been staying with a man for over fourteen years. They had six children. She had not been legally married to the man though staying with him and raising a family together with the hope that one day they will formalise their marriage.  For all the years she had been staying with this man, she had not been allowed to work but had to be a stay at home mother to look after the children. She did as asked, she had been given strict orders not to visit relatives and not to have friends whatsoever without the consent of the husband, (which consent the husband rarely gave) and she still obeyed.

After fourteen years of submission, with much inclination and devotion to her husband, the husband, for some unknown reasons decides to throw her out of the house. With no job, no where to go, and no family she is now wandering on the streets with nothing; absolutely nothing, only her clothes. According to her she cannot claim anything for she had not been legally to the man. She cannot see her children because apparently the children have been brainwashed by the now former husband. She cannot even ask for joint custody for she has absolutely no penny to her name. Apparently, the man is happily married to another woman.

Living in a single room apartment, Mildred feels all her submission and efforts of trying to keep up a family were all in vain as she now has nothing - not even the love of her children. The only thing she has left however is hope - that one day her children will find grow up and find the truth and come to look for her. I felt for this lady, who is in her mid forties and who accordingly, cannot even think of getting married after the “hell” she went through in her previous marriage.

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