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When ‘happily ever after’ turns into a nightmare

Saturday May 25 2019

domestic violence

Pearl Mumbi. She has been able to recover despite being a victim of domestic violence. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SONI KANAKE
By SONI KANAKE
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Hers was the perfect marriage … a dream come true until one day her husband lost a sizeable amount of money in a business venture that failed. Pearl Mumbi, 29, shares her ‘happily ever after’ gone wrong.

"My name is Pearl Mumbi, a mother of two. My boy is eight years old and the girl is six. When I met my Prince Charming, I was about 20 and I could sense he was a good man.

And true to my intuition, he turned out to be the ideal husband. Ours was an enviable marriage.

What with this man who treated me like a queen and always took good care of me?

He was the kind of man who would cook for me and always took me out on dates. Everything felt so perfect and I enjoyed every step of the journey.

When we welcomed our firstborn, it was pure bliss. At this time, I was working as a cashier in one of the local supermarkets in Nairobi.

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QUIT

In 2014, after we got our second baby, my husband asked me to quit work as I was really having a rough time with house helps.

'Sweetheart, stay at home and raise our babies, I'll take care of us,' he promised. I was comfortable being a stay-at-home mum as I knew he would provide for us.

My husband did not disappoint and he even moved us to a bigger house. All our bills were paid on time and he carried out his parental responsibilities without fail.

He set apart Sundays as our family time and he enjoyed taking us out with the kids.

During week days he ensured that I wasn't bored and always brought me movies and magazines to keep myself busy. Also, to ensure I was comfortable, he paid a laundry lady who used to come and wash our clothes.

ALCOHOL BUSINESS

One day in December 2016, my hubby informed me that he wanted to start a wines and spirits shop with a female business partner.

That was not what I was expecting to hear and I thus told him I wasn't comfortable with the choice of partner.

Besides, I told him that since the children were not too delicate anymore, we could hire a house help as I joined him in business.

Well, he was adamant and went ahead to open the shop with his lady friend.

He had invested a huge amount of money in the venture and was hoping it would pay back soon. Unfortunately, that was not to be. And in a month's time the business collapsed … and that was when the nightmare began.

VIOLENCE

My once responsible husband started drinking heavily and would come home staggering at odd hours of the night.

He would insist I wake up and warm the food for him and sit with him as he ate. Woe unto me if I accidentally dozed off.

I would be woken up with a hot slap. I remember the first time he hit me I had served him food and then he threw the plate at the wall, breaking it.

He then asked for water and threw the glass at the wall. This behaviour shocked me as I had never known him to be violent before.

When I asked him what the problem was, he beat me up to a pulp. The second time he beat me, I ran to the kids’ bedroom and locked the door, which he broke down and beat me up until my son woke up.

The following day he would claim that he had been high and would even insist on buying me olive oil to massage my sore body.

FINAL STRAW

He would then cook us a delicious meal. However, he continued with the violence and often times he would get angry without provocation.

One evening I was watching TV after putting the children to bed, he came home drunk and had lost his phone.

For some reason he started complaining and tried pinning the blame on me. I tried to defend myself and the next thing I saw is our TV flying my direction.

My husband in his anger had thrown the TV at me. I was lucky I managed to move out of its way on time as it crashed on the floor.

That was my turning point. I did not feel safe anymore. I locked my sleeping children in their room and still in my nightdress, I took a taxi from Waiyaki Way to my mum's place on Ngong Road.

Interestingly, the following morning he called to ask if I would be coming over to stay with the kids as he wanted to leave for work, yet I was still nursing a black eye from a dog's beating I had received earlier that week.

RESILIENCE

To him it was business as usual, and I played along. I told him I'd be coming home though I was shaking like a leaf as I was scared of what he would do to me.

I went home, got two taxis and loaded my children’s clothes, and we moved to mum's place.

He tried reconciling with me, but the last two weeks had cancelled every good thing he had ever done for us.

I was in constant fear that he would harm me. He helped out for two months but when he realised I was not going to change my mind, he stopped sending child support.

To make ends meet, I ventured into business. I specialise in deras and trench coats for both children and adults and do most of my sales through my Facebook page Activewear Collections and Instagram page Pearl Mumbi.

I'm happy as I can afford to pay the bills and my children's school fees, and have even moved out of mum's place to our own."

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