This is Neneh’s unequivocal explanation of her sad experience.
“I could not still believe if it was an order from my husband, because it is sad to hear that my husband was the mastermind and could not tell me.”
“I was kicked out of his house by his brothers without a penny” Says Neneh Jallow.
“I was harassed, beaten and finally kicked out of my husband’s house” Neneh Jallow told Women’s Bantabaa in watery eyes.
As much as it is hard to accept, the Native of Brikama could not still believe if it was an order from his husband.
He recalled the happy moments with his husband but concluded that she is no more loved. “It was difficult for me to forget, but I now believed that he no more cares for me.”
Marriage requires an equal amount of nurturing if it is to blossom, but Neneh Jallow worries if she will ever get married after the sufferings.
“And the torture I endured in my husband’s house, where I was finally kicked out of the house while I was seven months pregnant,” the woman recalled her most torturous moment in life.
Neneh in her mid-thirties seems to have all the necessary qualities and abilities to deal with difficulties, stressful and painful situations refused to be silent in pain.
She is physically strong and composed under pressure. Yet in her house, she was powerless to stop her husband’s brothers to convince her husband because of the culture of silence.
Statistics shows that between 4 percent and 12 percent of women reported being physically abused during pregnancy.
Most governments have considered violence against women, particularly domestic violence by husbands or other intimate partner to be a relatively minor social problem. Today, due to the efforts of women’s organizations, violence against women is recognized as a global concern.
“I am being battered and treated violently, strongly, and they do not care how good or bad I felt, unless deliberately tried to make it as painful and humiliating as possible by kicking me out of the house.”
“I always have the good intentions to stay together forever with my husband who I have entrusted my life to, but that was not enough for him to be in successful and happy marriage,” she added.
“The excitement and joy that newly wedded couples often experience tend to wear-off within the first year of marriage which I now believed is true as I am a victim today.”
This victim is not the only one that has been going through this kind ordeal, but most of them fear to come forward to discuss the most throbbing experience of their life because of the culture of silence. “I know there are thousands of women like me, ashamed to talk about what is happening to them because our society view it as inconceivable,” she said
“Who would believe you if you tell people that your own husband asked his brothers to kick you out of his house? They would laugh at you and tell you it is his right since he is legally married to you, yet the culture of silence prevails, especially amongst women victims.”
“It did not take long after my husband left. They started harassing and humiliating me,” she vividly recalled. “They can insult me and demand food any time of the day. I used to cook food from my own earning that I manage to get from the little business I do.”
According to Neneh, her ex-husband stop calling and also stop sending her money which she said was very hard for her as she was pregnant.
Neneh lived a miserable life when she fell into the hands of his ex-husband who was just interested in abusing her and left her impoverished.
“Three to four times a day was not enough for them to call me names, but the worst was in the night when they will demand me to do works that are unacceptable. When I struggled against them they threatened that they will lie against me to my husband.”
“What’s surprising is that he never called me after I was kicked out of the house until when he heard that I have given birth to baby boy.”
“I am sure that what happens after this experience had caused a lack of trust and both of us need to build the trust again,” she thought resolvedly.
Violence in homes is becoming widespread and women bear the brunt daily. Some women are beaten seriously at their homes, insulted and facing other violence, which leaves children very scared, distressed and anxious about their own safety and that of their mothers and siblings.
Violence against women and girls is any act of gender-based violence that result in, or likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women and girls including threats such as coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.
“It is hard to tell your own parents the thing you are subjected to by your husband’s family,” she said.
“Women are unhappy in their marriages not because of their own faults and false expectations but are seen and treated as the weaker sex, especially in our communities.”
“I’ve cracked the mysterious and rather profound code on how to make him love me more - and hold in my hands the long lost secrets and protect me too, but it was the other round.”
“Some married women are so unfortunate because they spend all their monies to feed the family unnoticed by outsiders and not know knowing that one beautiful day you will be sent out of the house. I had always wanted to spend the rest of life with my husband, especially after getting kids him.”
Here in The Gambia, violence is pervasive, and as a result many women continue to suffer in the home and in the community with devastating effects.
In The Gambia, violence against women and girls is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, as manifested by current gender relations that are marked by socio-cultural norms of male domination over the discrimination against women. This continued domination and discrimination has prevented the full advancement of women and in one of the crucial social mechanism by which women are forced into sub-ordinate positions compared to men.
Violence against women and girls is complex and diverse in its manifestations, with far-reaching, long-lasting consequences, costs and impoverishes women, their families, communities and the state. It is also a violation of the essential basic human rights of an individual to safety, security and physical integrity.
According to a family member, Neneh used to be a very prosperous businesswoman before she fell trapped into the hands of his husband. “Most of the family members were depending on her, but everything vanished after a couple of months following her marriage.”
Mariama Jallow added “I’m sure she will get over the trauma because she is a very strong woman.”
There is no available date on violence against women and girls, but the majority of Gambian women have been either beaten, coerced into sex otherwise abused in a life time.
The kind of violence prevalent in this country, although not exclusive to it includes: domestic violence, sexual violence including rape, early marriages, harmful traditional practices and widow inheritance. Amidst all these violations, women are more at risk while feminisation of poverty is perpetuated and gender equality still remains unattained.