Yesterday, April 21, I saw the most gruesome, horrifying image a decent human being could ever lay eyes on. Yes, I have seen worse, but they were always about strange births, car accidents due to texting while driving or alcoholism, effects of tsunami and tornadoes, and consequences of war; I have never seen anything like the image of Mrs. Mercy Nnamdi, a woman physically destroyed by a man she has been with and loved since she was 22 years old, as was posted on facebook yesterday.

The image I was looking at made me, as I can imagine everyone else who saw it –man and woman, so sick that I went into my bathroom and sat for ten minutes trying to refrain from throwing up. I went back and looked at that photograph again, to make sure that my eyes were not deceiving me. They were not. It was a picture of a real young woman, not torn up by some lion or bear; not stamped upon by an elephant, or pounced upon by a crocodile or a pack of hyenas, but by the father of her son; a fellow human being born and raised by a woman, a man who once professed love for her; a man who, for some unjustifiable reason, turned into a beast.

I use the word unjustifiable, because there is no reason for a human being to do to another the kind of damage and destruction this man visited on his wife, even if she is your “property”, as some men erroneously believe once they pay the dowry on a woman. Even his allegation that Mercy was sleeping with his father is not enough reason to do this, neither is any other claim on the surface of the earth justifiable for such animalistic vestment of destruction on another person, your spouse or sibling.

I will say this for the umpteenth time, there is always a way out of a destructive relationship. As the neighbor confirmed, violence have been emanating from the Nnamdi house for as long as they have been living in that compound that everyone have given up on her cries for help. Reminds you of the shepherd who cried wolf once too many. The question I always ask is; why continue to stay in a relationship that does not add value to your live, when you have no reason to? The familiar responses have been either he/she will change or,  “ I don’t want to be a divorcee”. Guess what, being dead or disfigured to the point of rejection is not better, either. No one will marry a dead person, or one who is a walking dead. The handwriting is always long on the wall before tragedy occurs; we are just too hopeful – to use a better choice of words (you all know what I really mean) to read it and take action.

I am, and will remain, a proponent of divorce; if it makes me less of a Christian, so be it. Those who wrote that provision into our laws saw days like these, when spouses will visit evil on each other; days when men will beat their wives to death, shoot them at the office, or run them over with their cars. No, they were not stupid. Yes, it is all well and good for pastors to counsel you and quote biblical reasons why you should remain in your relationships; ironically, those same pastors who convinced you to be there –if the daily beatings did not convince you to leave – will be the ones to preside over your funeral. You are not Jesus Christ, you will not rise from death; neither can the pastors raise you from dead!  So, which choice is better? I you leave with your life, you may marry again; if you choose to stay, you may be six feet deep in less than a year.

To you women, in love, engaged, married, or looking to be, you all have, over the years and having read many horrible stories seen that marriage is nothing but Russian Roulette; that chamber may be returning empty for a while, but one day, it will come back fully loaded. How do you protect yourself? For the parents, especially mothers, who advise their daughters to “stay and work it out”, while holding their hearts in their hands all night and keep praying that each day will not be the day they will receive the sad news, quit giving such advice. You did not raise your daughters to be killed or maimed by a man they love.

To my fellow men who, I believe, were equally horrified by the image of Mrs. (should we really continue to address her as Mrs.? He has lost the right to that honor by what he did to her) Nnamdi, I urge you to imagine your daughters, sisters, mothers, and nieces lying on that hospital bed looking like that, instead of Mercy, and ask yourselves these two questions: can I do this to another person’s child? What would be my reaction if another man does this to my relative? (I know what my reaction will be)

 How you treat, or begin to treat, your wife will depend on your answers to these questions

The hospital where Mercy is being treating should set up an account for people to donate money for her treatment, many of us will donate. If the National Organization for Women wants to redeem its do-nothing image, it should arrange for her to be flown overseas for treatment, because they have failed so many poor and helpless women in Nigeria.

Felix Oti

Arlington, Texas

USA

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