She was called Anita as a child, at least that’s what her parents named her at the time of her birth and she lived up to her name. Then the name changed in school.
She earned the name Rose not because of her tall body frame, glass skin, dark complexion, large and captivating green eyes but for her lips, they were as red as a rose. She was indeed a child of beauty. Everyone always thought she wore contact lens but that was the natural colour of her eyes.

She was soft-spoken and no matter how angry she was, she never screamed but you would know from the colour of eyes, it changes to red. This earned her the nickname “Red Rose.”

As a child, Rose was playful and delightful. She always asked questions until an incident happened then she became a reserved woman.

Anitaaaaaaaa can you get the milk from Temi’s shop, I don’t like the milk from Letgo supermart.” Anita’s mom said.

“Mom, it’s the same product, manufactured by the same company. What’s the difference?” Anita said.

“Haven’t you heard that her name is not Anita, it is Rose or Red Rose?” Her brother Alfred chipped in. He was laughing. Only their parents called her Anita. Everyone called her Rose.

“We are discussing A and you are in P, you are effectively speaking off point.” Anita’s mom said. She rolled her eyes and hissed. She was not in the mood for Alfred’s games or gimmicks.
“Mom, even Anita calls herself Rose. I don’t see why you and daddy cannot do the same. After all, she has changed her name.” Alfred said.

Alfreddddddd” Anita called him in a warning tone. She was not ready for this conversation.

“I would know if you got it from any other shop.” Anita’s mom said ignoring Alfred’s comments.

Anita who was also known as Rose and also known as Red Rose was never allowed to wander off. Her parents feared she would be raped because of her beauty so they hid her. She was homeschooled until she was matured enough to be in secondary school. She went to a day secondary school and she was always dropped off and picked up from school by her mom. She was not allowed to have friends because they thought the friends would corrupt her.

No one in her house talked about her beauty and each time she got compliments her parents always told her it was not a big deal. They wanted her to have a normal life, they never wanted her to feel special.

She ached for their love because she was an emotional child but all she got was a set of rules of dos and don’ts. She felt imprisoned and with time she learnt how to bottle her emotions.

At the University, she was called “Cold Rose” because nothing ever made her laugh or cry. No one could tell whether she was happy or sad. But her parents were blinded by the protective measures that they failed to see the damage that had been caused.

As she grew older she wore low cut on her mother’s instructions and she was not allowed to use make-up even as a University student. Yet she looked stunning on her low cut. She was always plagued with questions from strangers.
Erm excuse me, is this your real eyes?” One girl at the campus asked her.
“Why? Would you like to buy them?” Anita said. She was always sarcastic because of the never-ending questions and attention she got.
“I wonder why you delight in sleeping with your make-up. It’s always better to wash it off for a brighter face.” Her roommate Biola said.
She stared at her intensely.
Anita smiled. She was quiet.
“What? Ain’t you going to say something or did I hurt your feelings or what?” Biola said.
“There is nothing to say. Since you love observing me, maybe you should change your discipline to human observation. I can tell the VC to open a department for you.” Anita said.
“I knew you would avoid the topic, but I won’t let this one slide. I have noticed how your eyes change to red. I don’t even know the sort of contact lens you have in there that changes.” Biola said.

“Really? For real? You want to do this today. Let me show you something.” Anita held Biola’s hand and half dragged her to the bathroom, she washed her face twice with soap and water, then dabbed it.

“Are you satisfied now? She asked.
“Not that I have an obligation to prove anything to you. Madam observatory services limited” Anita said.
“I would never have guessed that a human being can look this way,” Biola said in astonishment.
“If you like take a public address system and announce it to the world,” Anita said.
The bustling, outspoken and jolly good Biola was silent for a long time.

“I would never do that. Your secret is safe with me.” She said.

Anita met Akin at the famous Temi’s shop. Akin was a showman, a celebrity in his own right. He was a one time winner of the Handsome Intelligent Male talent hunt show. Everyone knew him wherever he went. He was a man of the screen. As a presenter, his booming voice always gave people some level of comfort even when the news was grave. He could convince anyone to do what he wanted or to believe what he wanted them to believe. He was as smooth as that. He was also a brand ambassador to several famous brands.

For Akin, it was love at first sight. It was on a Sunday evening and he was meant to do a shoot for a brand, but the address was so confusing that google maps failed to locate the right spot. He had called the Company’s representative severally but the lady was bad at giving directions. He resolved to ask around the neighbourhood and also have a bottle of coke to quench his thirst. That’s when he bumped into her.

“Erm so so sorry for doing that. It was not intentional.” He said.

“No worries.” She mumbled.

She was not audible enough.

“Did you say something?” He asked staring at her closely. He noted her glass skin and red lips. He was amused by her green eyes.
These women and fashion sha. But this one looks different. He thought to himself.

“I said no worries ” Her voice was a pitch high.

“Nice voice.” He smiled.
” I am Akin. What’s your name?” He asked.

She smiled and walked away. But Akin was determined. He loved her lips, body shape and voice.
He was going to know her and marry her. He vowed to himself.
So he walked behind her until he got to her house.
Anita was laughing inside her, here comes another dog, she said to herself. One wonders why this one keeps following her.
She ran and he ran. She stopped and he stopped, then she walked slow-paced and he did.
She turned around and asked. “Why are you following me?”
“I would like to see your parents or guardian,” He said.
She rolled her eyes at him.

He clenched his fists. He disliked being disrespected. He was a screen god and he was to be feared, revered and respected.

She entered her house and closed the door behind her without letting him in. She ran to her room and locked the door waiting for the calamity that might befall her from the drama that was about to happen.

He knocked at the door Alfred answered the door and Akin requested to see his parents. He could guess from Alfred’s youngish look that he was not the lady’s father.

Akin didn’t know when he told Anita’s parents that he wanted to ask for her hand in marriage.

Her parents were excited. He was the famous Akin whose face regularly appeared on TV. They recognised him instantly.

They accepted without consulting her or seeking her consent.

Anita was 21 years old, she had just graduated when she was betrothed to Akin.

“I don’t know him.” She muttered in protest.

“We know what’s best for you.” Her mom said quietly.

“You need a man who can fight for you and speak up for you and Akin is that man. You will know him before the marriage.” Her father promised.

“I wish I was allowed to decide.” She said quietly. She was sobbing.

“Enough of this nonsense, he is a fine man and he is famous.” Her dad said.

He was thinking of how he will be in the spotlight and that would be good for his image and business. oh! How he would boast to his friends that his daughter married the famous Akin.

He could dream of the news and blogs headlines “Socialite Eke’s daughter Anita Eke weds Akin Aderemi.”

At least Akin was hardworking not like all those his friend’s sons who were spoilt and lazy. Anita’s father thought.

“Before marriage, you will undertake your postgraduate studies abroad.” Her dad said.

One year later, after her MSc at Cambridge University, UK she got married to Akin.

On their wedding night, Anita got beaten up and it was not by hoodlums but by her husband -Akin.

He said she did not prepare for him. She did not wear sexy lingerie and this upset him. He wanted to be treated like a king. He was upset that she had acquired a higher degree, it made him feel small in her presence. She was also late to bed and this earned her extra slaps. She sobbed silently.

She was bruised from the beating, then something strange happened. After beating her Akin began to cry. She couldn’t understand it. She had never experienced anything like this before. She has never seen her father and brothers cry.
He begged for forgiveness and blamed it on the devil.

She was confused and then she confided in her mother and her mother said
“Men are like babies, treat him as one.”

She forgave him after 5 days of non-stop begging.

“Did you tell anyone what I did to you? ” He asked when she told him that she had forgiven him.

“No.” She paused.
“Who could I possibly tell? ” She asked.

“No one. ” He said. A smile spread across his lips.

“Let me check your bruise. See it’s healed and your skin is flawless once again.” He said.
“Not quite, there is a patch here.” She pointed at her bruised left hand.
“Are you calling me a liar?” Akin said.
She got beaten again.
That day she learnt another lesson.

“Marriage is for better for worse.” She could hear her Mother’s voice in her head as she sobbed quietly. She was in physical pains.

One month after the wedding.

“Please dear, help me with the tissue,” Anita said.

She was engrossed with the food she was cooking. She wanted to please Akin. She was singing to Tina Turner’s “What’s love got to do with it.” in her head.

“Who is your servant? Ehn ehn” Akin approached her with so much venom. He wasn’t going to be under any woman.

“I.. only asked you to help me with the tissue.” She said with a gentle smile.
“Just because you have your MSc from Cambridge University and work with a Multinational company does not mean you can boss me around. Do I look like your subordinate?”

Anita was slicing the carrots, stir-fried chicken sauce and white rice were what she intended to cook. The pot whistled as the rice boiled.

Akin slapped her violently and she lost her balance and fell towards the hot pot of boiling rice. It spilt on her leg and the floor.

He was in a blind rage. He kept pounding her into a pulp in the sea of spilt rice and hot water.

She wanted to fight back but she couldn’t. She was in severe pains.

He left her there and walked away. She heard the door slammed and the sound of the engine.

She crawled to the living room area where she left her phone. She called her mom.

“Mommy help, I am in pains.” She wailed.

“What happened? ” Her mother asked.

“I …I… I had an accident. ” She said.
“Where? Where is your husband ?” She asked.

“Please come… I am at home.” She said.

“I am coming.” Her mother said.

2 days later.

Anita was sitting on the hospital bed. She felt better.
“The skin will heal, just keep applying vaseline to the affected area once the burns have dried up.” The nurse said.

“You are so lucky, this did not affect your face.” Her mom said.

“Let’s thank God she is ok,” Akin said.

“Erm My daughter what happened? ” Her Dad asked.

Anita couldn’t speak. Her eyes were welled up with tears. She was in pains. Her skin was hurting.
She sobbed.

“It’s ok. You don’t need to say anything now. We can talk later. ” Her dad said.

“She slipped in the kitchen o! I was so shocked to hear you had brought her to the hospital. I don’t know why she did not call me.” Akin said.

“Anita is a careful person. I wondered what happened.” Her mom echoed.

“Mom, she is prone to accidents, domestic accidents. She didn’t tell you that this is not her first accident. There was this time she slipped from the stairs and sprained her ankle.
Ah! What of the time she slammed her hand by the door.” Akin said.

The room was silent for 20 minutes, everybody was immersed in their thoughts.

Anita was fuming, how dare he lie so well to her parents. He was just a monster. She thought.

“I did not slip or fall. Akin did this out of rage. He was angry I asked him to help me with the tissue.” Anita said quietly.

The 6 pairs of eyes stared at Akin, waiting for some sort of response.

“Ha! Ah! Why would you accuse me? I am certain this hospital has drugged you.” Akin said.

They kept starring at him, he felt uncomfortable.

“Did you touch her?” Her Dad asked.

“No Sir. How can I? My reputation is at stake here.” Akin said feigning that he was hurt.

“I have nothing to gain by lying against you. Did you not beat me up and left me for dead?” Anita asked.

“A woman should not speak ill against her husband. You have no right to speak to me in this manner? He blew hot.

“Akin, Akin, Akin, I will say this loud and clear for all to hear and once and for all. In less than two months of this marriage, you have slapped me 30 times, bruised my skin 15 times and now scarred me with hot water.” Anita said.

“Sir, are you watching while she is being rude to me?” Akin directed his question to his father-in-law, he refused to be put on the hot seat.

“Young man… did you touch her? A simple yes or no will suffice. ” Her father asked.

“I did not touch her.” Akin said.

Anita sobbed.

“See, she is being manipulative. Who wouldn’t believe a woman who cries over a man that stands his ground? Should I also cry to be believed ?” Akin said.

“Akin let’s talk outside.” Anita’s father said.

Her father walked Akin out of the room.

“My daughter. Calm down. Marriage entails a lot of things some of which is patience, perseverance and tolerance. I am certain your daddy will speak to him.” Her mother said.

Anita was quiet. She had nothing to say.

Her father walked into the hospital room alone.

“Where is Akin?” Her mother asked.

“I asked him to give us some time.” Her Dad said.

“My daughter, I know he did this. Even though he still denies it. Please forgive him. I know he will be a changed man. I have spoken to him. These things are bound to happen in a marriage.” Her Dad said.

“Just the same way you beat Mommy until she dislocated her waist.” Anita murmured.
“What did you say?” Her Dad asked.

“I don’t want the marriage anymore,” Anita said. Her voice was low but audible enough.

“I know. But we cannot afford to be in the news right now. You having these issues will most likely open a scandal. It is a big price to pay to satisfy you. I know you never really liked him but I didn’t know it was this bad.” Her father said.

Anita’s mom was silent. She had a lot on her mind. Like the first time, she got beaten by her husband. How she wept and begged her parents to take her back so that they could put a stop to the beating but they refused. She ended up enduring and here she is 38 years later with a bad hip to show for it. She was still with her husband, she couldn’t say she loved him but she did not hate him either. She merely tolerated him and with age, he has become kinder. She hopes her daughter will also find that sort of closure.

Anita was discharged from the hospital after 7 days. The Doctor said the burns on her shoulder, left hand and neck had dried up. She could apply vaseline.

For the rest of her stay, Akin came in daily. He bought her roses.

“You are my Rose, my world.” He said.
The nurses marvelled at his show of love. They kept gushing over him.
“You are so lucky to have this type of caring husband.” They said.
“He is even the famous Akin, so handsome and nice. All in one package.” They said. Most times, the nurses on duty always did their make-up and put on their best smile to receive Akin.

Akin put out the word on his social media accounts on how his wife had an unfortunate domestic accident and how people’s prayers will go a long way to help the family during these difficult times.

He got a lot of sympathy from work colleagues and acquaintances.

To him, this was a perfect defence, should she decide to take it up.

Anita’s mom avoided Akin like a plague. Whenever he came visiting at the hospital, she always suddenly remembers that she had to be somewhere.

Akin found it amusing.

On her mother’s prompting, Anita stayed at her parent’s house at Ikoyi for another two weeks. Her mother took care of her during that period. Nothing was said about the violence she experienced.
“I am always a call away or you can call your brother. Put our numbers on speed dial and always be with your phone.” Her mom whispered in her ears as she hugged her tightly.

Akin was waiting to take her to their home.

On their arrival, he took Anita on a surprise trip to Spain. She seemed happy about it and they had a lovely time.

Then they returned and the problem returned with them.

This time, she got beaten because she inquired about a romantic message he received on his phone.

She had 5 broken ribs and a fractured leg. Her face was covered in bruises because she fought back. It agitated Akin and he beat her like a demented soul. She had never seen him that enraged.

“Please …be patient. After the elections, you can leave him.” Her father said.

Anita starred at them. Her stare was empty filled with nothingness. No one could tell what she felt. She was at the same hospital. This time the Nurses were never excited to see Akin and Akin took it out on her.
“Why not leave him.” One of the Nurses told her.
Anita smiled.
“My family.” She said.

She knew her Dad wanted her to die in the marriage so that his ideals of being a conservative will be fulfilled. Besides he does not know any better because he did the same to her mother.

She screamed every night at the hospital because she kept having the same nightmares.
In her dreams, a man would walk up to her and try to strangle her, but she always put up a fight.
After spending two months at the hospital, she was discharged.

She walked with the aid of a stick and Akin refused to have any maid live with them. Her mother stayed with her for a few days and once she could cope by herself, she left.

Anita startled at every little sound and at first Akin tried to be a better husband. He cooked the meals, did the laundry and even cleaned the house. He took her on another vacation. This time to Venice. It was a pleasant vacation until he noticed a man starring at her.
“You name is Rose. But you are damaged.” The man said to Anita.
Anita laughed.
“People always think my name is Rose. I am Anita.” She said to the man
“And this is my Husband ..Akin.” She said.
“Nice to meet you two. I am Arnold.” Arnold said.
“You both look like a celebrity couple,” Arnold said.
“Oh! Akin is a celebrity in our country. But I am not.” She said.

At the hotel.
“You don’t laugh or smile at me, but there you were, flashing your 32 for that man,” Akin said.
“Please I don’t want any trouble,” Anita said.
“You love trouble, that’s what you love,” Akin said.
“I was a fool to think you would change. That’s it. I am done with this marriage. When we get home, I am filing for a divorce.” Anita said.

Akin moved towards her.
“One more step and I will spray this pepper spray on your face,” Anita said.
Akin backed out.

But Anita never returned home.

The next day, it was said in the news that she died in her sleep.

Her mother saw marks around her neck and scratches on Akin’s face.

She was filled with pain, she had taught her daughter a little too late and not well enough.


Dedicated to all the departed victims of domestic violence. May their soul continue to rest on.

By floramichaels

Hi, I am Flora Ngo-Martins. I love writing and I am passionate about fashion, stories, news and food. Sometimes I get a little bit serious but that's alright, I can also be mischievous. I also like to analyse stuffs people do and sometimes judge.*wink* Most of all, I love to influence the lives of people positively and tell people's stories from a totally different perspective. Feel free to contact me if you have any suggestions or....

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