Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Marriage and Domestic Violence in my family

A week to the wedding, my father gets a phone call at 3:00 AM. It’s the groom to-be and bride to-be. They just had a fight. Kayondo the groom to-be came back home late and accused the wife of being adulterous. The wife in defense denied all the preposterous accusations. It didn’t take long before they did what went on every other night, fighting. Except this time, unfortunately for Kayondo, his wife
to-be got her hands onto a log in the nick of time and swung it towards him with all the rage and anger she could garner from the beating. My father listens on, he must have been devastated. After all the work he and the rest of the family had put into making the wedding possible. All that was expected of Kayondo and his wife was to get along and prepare for the big day, I guess even that was too hard.
In the fight, Kayondo’s arm is hit. A collar bone is broken and he is furious. “I have lost the battle but not the war,” so he seemed to say.
Father must be confused over what to do. Over breakfast we talk about it. I’m more skeptical. I sympathize with the wife. It is obvious Kayondo is nursing a grudge and a wound. After the wedding, his future wife Olive is likely to be mistreated. It is a complicated situation. Kayonodo and Olive are getting married because my father suggested they ought to in order to straighten their marriage after 8 years of co-habiting. To please my father and the rest of the family, Kayonodo seemed not to have objections. If he hesitated, the help he receives from the family would drastically decrease. To please everyone, he goes ahead with the plan, not out of love for Olive or the fact that she has bore three of his children but rather for the convenience.
Kayonodo can barely afford a meal at home and yet he has to pull off a wedding, the family is the one footing the bill, which means they are the ones pulling the strings, not a very good situation to be in.
After reflecting on all this over breakfast, I condemn the wedding in the strongest terms. Going through with the wedding would indirectly condemn Olive to eternal embarrassment and unhappiness. Marriage should offer a woman security, love and happiness, in this case, deep down she is not looking forward to the day she gets the ring. My father is trying to be optimistic and promises to get a lay reader over to their house to talk to them. Two days later the lay reader convinces my father to go ahead with the wedding. I question whether she said this out of honesty or for the benefit of the church. I tell father that it is not too late to cancel it. He gets mad and I choose not to talk about the matter again.
At the wedding, the bride’s care taker who was meant to give her away was not in church. She almost wanted to cry. I was taking the photographs; I could see the sadness in her eyes despite the colorful gown that covered just about every inch of her body. Towards the end, the church starts to fund raise for construction, Ah! I think to myself. “That was the lay readers catch all along.” Ten minutes later, at the point where the newlyweds are supposed to be handed their certificate, the pastor announces that there wasn’t money that would have catered for his journey to the parish to purchase it. The church falls silent. I could tell everyone’s mind was spinning around the fact that fund raising was done before we were hit with the bad news. The Kayodos are standing at the pulpit, facing the audience, it’s getting hard for olive to hide her emotions any more, and I turn away and look at the pictures on the camera, to keep myself busy. I don’t want to be part of this. A week ago, my father should have listened to me.

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