I speak openly about being divorced. I put it out there that I am a single mother. I have had one or two friends; Nigerian women, who have advised that perhaps I should not go public with this status, but I say noooo.
Those of us who are divorced; happily, divorced and blessed to be raising kids as single parents must speak openly about it. The narrative of marriage as the ultimate goal and end game for the Nigerian woman is sadly the reason Nigerian women stay in loveless and abusive marriages and relationships.
According to an article in The Guardian published in January 2018, `Despite high levels of violence within relationships in Nigeria, wedding vows are still regarded as sacred, and women are urged to stay with bullying husbands.’ The article noted that marriage in Nigeria is regarded as `a prized attainment, and there is a powerful social stigma around reporting violence, or, worse still, leaving your husband.’ A survey `found that 43% of women believe a husband is justified in beating his wife for a number of reasons, including going out without telling him, or neglecting the children.’
Women in Nigeria are celebrated in communities and religious institutions as successful women by how long their marriages lasted or have lasted, and how much perseverance to abuse they demonstrated. Yes, a long and happy marriage is successful, but the longevity of a marriage does not make a successful marriage.
Those of us who live successfully and happily with a different story must speak up. We must let women know of the many ways we are and can be successful. Yes, it would have been great if my marriage had lasted, but it is great that I am living a great life as a single woman than a miserable married one.
So, this is it: I am a Happily Divorced Single Woman and Parent, and in the words of late Maya Angelo, HEAR ME ROAR.