The tragic story of Christine R. M. Dennis-Freeman has brought the issue of domestic abuse out of the dark unspoken place it thrives and into the open.
It's horrendous that it takes the death of women, or an attempt to kill women, to get a serious debate on the issue of domestic abuse. Discussing domestic violence in our society is a real taboo and most men in Africa don't even find the topic worth their time, as compared to discussing sports, politics and corruption.
But the sad reality is that women die everyday in the hands of men who should love and protect them.
Defying the odds, Mrs. Dennis-Freeman refuses to keep her mouth shut and go with the flow of silence in Liberian society. She courageously sat in a wheel chair up to 1:30am, sharing her story with C Liberia Clearly. In her own words, she walked us through the day that led to her horrific story.
The Christine R. M. Dennis-Freeman story
I left America on April 4th, 2017, the incident happened May 13, 2017. Mr. Darus Freeman and I have been married for three months, but have been together, on and off, for 8yrs.
My husband got burned in Togo while baking. I quickly boarded the plane and flew to Togo, to be by his side as he recovered. The burn was not severe but I needed to be there for him. After three days in Togo, we flew to Liberia because he had some business to take care of. Early one Friday morning, I saw him beating his 32yrs old sister. I advised him to cut it out, that his action was wrong and he told me to stay out of it. He walked out of the house and didn't returned until the next day.
When he came back, I was in the kitchen cooking. He told me not to cook, that he didn't want me doing anything. Then, he asked me if he could look in my phone. I said no, but he started screaming, drawing attention to us. I got embarrassed and gave him the phone. He went in the bedroom, looking in my phone. He called me in the room and asked "do you love me?" I said yes. He asked, "why did you married me?" I told him because I loved him. He asked, "are you cheating on me?" I said no. He said, "you are lying, I have evidence. Look at all these messages from your friends, asking you to have their sympathy because of your ex mother-in-law death." I told him that I've been knowing my kids father for over 20yrs, people were extending their sympathy to me because of the kids, not because I am cheating on him with my kids father. My husband told me that he was told, that whenever I went to Monrovia, the father of my kids and I do meet.
That's when he got a belt and started beating me. I thought he was joking. He hit me with the belt so hard, that I fought back and took the first belt from him. He got the second belt. About an hour into beating me, he had used about six belts. When he got exhausted with the belts, he pulled my hair and kicked me in the stomach, I peed on myself. He body-slammed me to the floor twice, on my back and told me, "I will kill you and no one will find your body." That's when I knew I was in real danger. He choked me until I passed out. I found myself in a beautiful place. When I woke from the dream, he was still beating me. I asked him where I was, he said to me, "you pretending not to know where you are." That's when he called the house boy to bring a 2X2 stick. He didn't like the first one the house boy brought, so he yelled at the boy to bring a bigger one. He said, "I am so angry with you, I want to take your eyes out." He beat me with that 2X2, until I was bleeding everywhere. At that moment, I stopped crying and I just started grunting. I gave up and surrender. I said my prayers to God, knowing I was going to died. He told me if he had a gun, he would have used it to kill me. So, he cut my wrist.
No one came to my rescue. After six hours of beating, he locked me into the closet. He came back later with a needle. I thought he was going to gouge my eyes out with it, but he poked my fingers with it and squeezed out my blood into a glass and mixed it with with water. He told me to drink the bloody mixture and swear to him by my kids while drinking my own blood, to prove that I am not cheating on him. He kept a small amount of the mixture and told me that he would take it to Togo, to a man who was going to used it to kill my kids, if I am cheating on him.
The next day, he refused to send me to the hospital. I convinced him to allow me to fly to the United States for treatment, promising him to return after the treatment. I told him that if asked, I was going to tell folks that I had a motorcycle accident. He bought the story and allowed me to leave under tight security, taking away all means of communication until I got into the terminal. I had to be transported in a wheel chair. The airline wanted to leave me in Brussels for treatment, but I refused. I just wanted to get back to my kids and family, where I felt loved and secured. When I landed into the United States, I was rushed from the airport to the emergency room. I am now in a wheel chair, diagnosed with slipped disc in the neck, broken backbones, and many more.
He have tried to communicate with me through Whats app, asking for my forgiveness, but refusing to let me know his where about.