My child marriage and divorce to whiteness, my abusive ex-husband:

It’s been 26 years since I left my abusive marriage and I am still broken in many places. My heart aches and when I think too loudly, my beating heart fractures my ribs. You see, those never healed because he beat me on the way back from the hospital.

I married quite young and not of my own choosing. I was allowed a basic education just to be functional but no more. I had no right to own anything and didn’t sleep in the luxurious main house. That was reserved for my husband and his relatives. I was relegated to the lavish chicken coup and only permitted to enter the mansion to cook, clean for and pleasure him. Most times it was like medieval torture peppered with being water-boarded in a CIA black site. Eventually, I grew numb to the constant rape.

But I was angry. I knew this mansion had been built on my grandfather’s land and that my husband’s father had forced mine off the property at gunpoint even though my grandfather had risked life and limb to help him when another wanted to kill this man. This is the thanks he got; ejected from his land, his granddaughter, abused, enslaved, tortured and raped. It infuriated and broke me all at once. What could we possibly have done to deserve this?

I worked in my husband’s business, toiling, sweating daily. Only his family, the ones allowed in his mansion on MY grandfather’s land, were paid a fair wage for watching me work. I took whatever I was given because my children had to eat.

Eventually, like any human being, I reached a breaking point. I would die fighting to free myself from this man if I had to. I didn’t! Somehow, we managed to sit down and negotiate a divorce. He kept the mansion on my grandfather’s land and I went back to the henhouse. I was still not educated and even though I was free to own my own things, I had no money with which to buy them. Instead, I was paying off my now ex-husband’s gambling debt and the loan he used to soundproof the cold room that he had built specifically to beat me in.

He never did apologize. He tells me I have had 3 decades and that I need to move on and get over it. I haven’t grown numb to hearing that. It makes my bones angry right in the marrow. He says I am lazy and still refuses to pay me my deserved wages. He says my boyfriend is the reason I’m still poor and sometimes he’s right. My boyfriend does often steal my pay and squanders it at the local shebeen with his friends but he doesn’t beat me and has bought me a TV and put electricity in my little shack. 

I can’t get a loan to build a mansion of my own. My ex-husband pays me too little and I have no collateral to offer the bank… I own nothing. The land my grandfather would have given to my father to give to me was taken at gunpoint and given to my ex and my boyfriend doesn’t have the guts to get it back for me.