My story

Shobhana M
Published on: 23rd July 2014
I am a single mother. It's high time I say that out aloud. I walked out on my marriage with my son who, at that time, was just a 10 months baby. But why must I have the audacity to assume that this should inspire anyone?

Let me tell you about the boiling frog theory, the premise is that a frog, when placed in boiling water will jump out immediately, but if you place the frog in cold water and slowly start heating it, the frog will remain in the water, adjusting itself to the rising temperature to the point where, when the water becomes too hot, the frog is too tired from adjusting in the changing environment and cannot jump out. So the frog dies, because it was too exhausted to jump out of the environment that was not suitable for it.

I went to one of the best colleges in the country and I started earning a decent amount of money from the time I was 22. I had a good 'Advertising' career and worked with some of the nicest people in the industry. It was during one of these work related trips abroad that I met the man who eventually convinced me to marry him. And I did get convinced after he persevered for almost a year. It meant that I'd have to leave my country and go live with him in Kenya. I did all of that. Many people told me how brave it was of me to throw caution to the wind and just flow.

my story,inspiration
Well, marriage happened, pregnancy followed! Now, I still know how much this man loved me but something changed in him when I was around 6 months pregnant. During one of our arguments, he slapped me. I am a Feminist and completely against domestic abuse of women. So, I left him at that moment and checked-in at a hotel, quite prepared in my mind to come back to India as soon as it was possible. But when my mum called me later that night, I couldn't tell her, she was so happy assuming that I was married and settled and happy.

He apologized to me dramatically next morning, with flowers and balloons and promises and what not. Eventually, I left the hotel and went back home with him.

Our son was born and we decided to move to Cameroon to set up our business. I moved with him to a Francophone country without knowing more than 5 French words.

At least in Kenya, I knew people and English got me around, but in Cameroon I became a stranded island. Here, he started getting abusive, verbally first and eventually raising his hands on me quite regularly. It was during this time my mum had to undergo a very complex operation and her health was very delicate. I just had to live with my problems and not tell anyone because it would affect my mum's falling health.

One day, after a silly argument, he hit me in front of my son, more than a couple of times. My son was 8 months at that time; he watched me being slapped around. It had stopped hurting by then. I looked at my son's sad eyes and looked at the man whose bed I shared and knew that I was going to leave him.

I knew how scared he was of being alone or lonely; he feared losing me but at that moment I'd made up my mind that I was going to leave him. I imagined him brooding in his loneliness and started laughing while he was still hitting me. This angered him even more. I don't remember what followed but he took away my son's passport.

2 days after that, my mum was back in the hospital; so, again I could not tell anyone. He wasn't letting me come back to India, knowing fully well that I would never go back. 2 weeks after that, my mum passed away.

I was initially very depressed about not getting to see her before she passed away. The damage that was done by him threw me in a hellhole of depression. But, eventually, I realized that my mum's passing away was her last gift for me; she knew everything and she had to bring me out of here. If she was not ill, she would have sorted it out for me but here, this was the only way she could bring me out of that toxic relation. I had become like the frog who found it impossible to jump out.
I spent a year recovering from my mum's death but had to keep up for my son. Slowly, I made peace with it all and moved to Bangalore. Now I have a job, my son is well adjusted and goes to a playschool here. I know a lot of women who suffer in abusive relationships; some don't have the choice or the option to bounce back. I hope, if I meet a woman like that, I can inspire her to be stronger.
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