By PHOEBE GWANGILO
The fear of being beaten and deprived of shelter by her spouse has forced Mary Andrew (not her real name) to be a prostitute.
Tainted with guilt and embarrassment and confused by fear, she revealed her dark secret – the bold step she took to seek justice.
Andrew, 40, had not planned to reveal this, neither was she sure of the actions to take but survived this abusive life until one day her husband, eventually beat that fear out of her.
She decided that she could not take any more when her husband dished out more abuse and assault at her usual working place, near the Boroko Police Station, where her husband Andrew had usually sent her for business.
She was even more troubled that day because she had not made any money.
Knowing well the amount of violence she would endure at home, Andrew continued to search the streets for business and some money.
“Since I didn’t find any money to bring home, I remained hoping for luck. My husband was frustrated and made his way to me. He punched my face several times,” Andrew said.
“Even if I go home with money he would still bash me.”
That day she sustained swollen lips, bruises on her face and body and wounds from the objects used by her husband to abuse and assault her.
This led her to report the matter to the police.
“I broke down crying when my husband suggested to me to sell myself for money,” she said with bitterness. Every day I must at least bring money home. If I don’t, he bashes me.”
It’s been a month now, I have been hanging around on the streets of Boroko looking for men to sell myself to.
Hiding behind her humiliation she lost in the dark streets of Boroko, she is ashamed to face her family whenever she sees them.
“When I see family members and friends I would give my back to them, my eyes would fill with tears and I will say, ‘God don’t let them see me’,” Andrew said.
“I don’t want to lie to them if they ask, I don’t want them to gossip about my life because I know that I am a good woman,” she said.
The job, Andrew said, was risky and dangerous physically.
She was highly-vulnerable the moment she stepped out on the street each day, there was a high chance of contracting sexually transmitted infection and getting abused and assaulted by drunks.
“One day I was picked up and told that I would be taken to a lodge but that stranger took a different route and we ended up at Idubada heading to Baruni. I had to fight my way out of the vehicle and walked to Down Town and then made my way home,” Andrew recalled.
“He didn’t show any concern when I told him, instead he was angry and bashed me up for not making any money.”
The mother of four dreams of life free of all forms of violence, abuses and physical pain and wants to feel safe and be respected again.
She hopes her justice is served sooner rather than later.
Andrew is pleased with the advice she received from police but is concerned with the length of the justice process to have her husband settled.
“My husband is a good man. When we were both working, he was very good but after both of us left jobs he started mistreating me,” she said
By PHOEBE GWANGILO