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Last updated: 14 May, 2007 - Published 16:02 GMT
 
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Domestic violence in Nigeria
 
Outlook listener Wana
Wana says that the whole community were aware of her father's behaviour but no-one intervened.
Outlook listener Wana has recorded a chilling account of domestic violence for Outlook.

Wana, who grew up in Lagos Nigeria, recounted the day when she first witnessed her father beating her mother.

She had just got back from school and was making lunch for herself.

"I just sort of heard this raucous noise from upstairs. I went into the living room and the next thing I saw my mum tumbling down the stairs and then I screamed this really loud scream.

"Before I knew it some of the workers from the hair salon beside our house came in. By the time they got in I was in tears - and I was still screaming.

My dad was holding my mum; kind of acting like she was going hysterical for no reason like she was a drama queen or something - and he was acting like he was just trying to console her.

 It was also the colour I saw every time my mum's skin broke, every time my father hit her, every time there was a blow to the head, a blow to the stomach... it was the colour that seeped out when her skin broke - the colour red.
 

"And all the workers came in and they were like why are you screaming?

"And I remember my instant noodles got burned - and I could never forget the smell. I think we had to chuck that pan away."

The beatings finally stopped after nearly ten years, when Wana's parents legally separated when Wana was fifteen.

But the memories are still painful for her. She spoke in particular about a red bag which was significant because it was the bag that her mother packed in preparation for running away.

"I guess the reason I never forget that bag is because it was red," she says, "It kind of means so many things.

"It was my world of escapism," she said, "The day I looked forward to... that we were going to get away from all this.

"It was also the colour I saw every time my mum's skin broke, every time my father hit her, every time there was a blow to the head, a blow to the stomach... it was the colour that seeped out when her skin broke - the colour red."

Wana punctuated her recording for Outlook with poetry that she had written about the beatings and ended with the refrain "little girl still cries, little girl still cries."

Do you have a similar experience? If you'd like to talk to Outlook about domestic violence please contact the programme.

 
 
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