Woman, Rouphina Onyiliagha Narrates How Her Violent Husband Abused Her For Years

  • Husband beats her for not having a male child

Marriage is meant to be enjoyed, but a Nigerian woman living in London has a different recount of her life with her husband.

Rouphina Onyiliagha married her husband Victor Onyiliagha in 1977 in South-East of Nigeria before relocating to Italy with him in February 1998.

The romance didn’t last long as Rouphina started noticing hostility barely four days after her arrival.

He would get mad for listening to Jehovah witness preachers, and in 1999, Victor left his wife at the job centre knowing she had no transport or a direction home.

Marriage abuse
Marriage abuse

Victor told his wife in the evening of the same day that “next time we go out, shut up and let me do the talking.”

Rouphina wasn’t the only one bearing the grunts of Victor’s Violence. His boss, Mr Sauro, had to fire him in February 1999, after he fought with him for questioning his lateness.

The situation turned physical when Rouphina accompanied their flatmate, Miss Emparo, to Cesana local market.

Her offence was that she left the house without his consent. The same day, he fought other five friends, Emeka, Bobby, Pascal, Chukwudi and Chima.

Victor’s violent nature drove them out of their neighbourhood in Pola 21 Cesena as neighbours didn’t want anything to do with him.

The same year, Rouphina started working at an Agricultural company, CAPOR, while her husband secured another job at Kikiriki, a chicken factory.

Rouphina visited a relation’s house where she had her hair done. Victor beat her to stupor when he found out that she left the house without his permission other than her job.

She was taken to Cesena hospital as her face was swollen from the beating, and couldn’t move her neck, and at this time, she was five months pregnant with their first child. She was later transferred to A&E, where she remained for two days due to her breathing problem. The hospital informed the police, and Victor was arrested.

Rouphina said Victor kicked her in the stomach in August 1999. This time, “I was eight months pregnant, and Peter and his brother came to my aid.”

“December 25 1999, Mr Dan and Maria Aghara invited us for Xmas dinner. Victor fought with other guests. On our way home, he stopped and shouted am to get out of the car. I told him it was snowing, 11.30 pm where am to go with a 2months old baby. He slapped me twice and pushed me down. He drove off with my handbag in the car.

Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence

“I stood on the middle of Via Emilia road, not knowing what to do. I walked half a mile, saw few men drinking in a cafeteria; I walked in, they contributed money and called a taxi for me.

“Reacting home, reluctantly, he opened the door and said, ‘you will experience the worst next time if you keep supporting and siding strangers.'”

Another Nigerian man, Peter, who felt concerned for the safety of Roughphina, told her family during one of his visits to Nigeria in December 1999, a decision he lived to regret.

Returning to Italy in January 2000, Victor confronted Peter at a supermarket, leading to a severe fight. Peter bit Victor’s thumb off during the fight, and to date, “he has a missing left thumb,” Rouphina told Standard Gazette.

She added, “In March 2000, he was driving to work, was stopped by police for driving a car without insurance and the car was tolled. He fought one of the policemen and spat on his face. The policeman pulled out his gun. He was sued.

“A beautiful family Mr Renato Politi, wife Julia Politi and daughter Lisa Politi, from church volunteered to babysit my daughter, Ambra.

“My maternity was over, and I started work. Victor took my 1,800.00 lire maternity pay, bought a Mercedes car and shipped it to Nigeria.

“Don Victor Calisesse got a part-time weekend job for me to work in the cafeteria. Victor refused, said men would start dating me. The man also got another weekend job for me, Office cleaning on Saturday morning and working in Paco hotel Saturday and Sunday night.

“I was paid cash, but Victor won’t let me in the house after work until I give him all my pay. My daily work cheque goes to his account, and he collected my weekend pay at the door.

“He said he didn’t want me having money to avoid my buying phone cards to phone my family in Nigeria. I ask him for money if I do need anything.”

“The weekend’s I would refuse to give him my weekend pay; he would beat me, dropped Ambra off at babysitters, lock up the house and drive out.

I would sit on road pavement for hours. The neighbour on the first floor would offer me water and food. The neighbour asked if he was aware I was three months pregnant.”

The loving neighbour moved out of the property in May 2000 after drunken Victor beat the man with a mop and threatened his wife not to testify in court.

Rouphina’s problem compounded after Victor expressed disgust towards his daughters.

She was pregnant with the second daughter, and as soon as Victor knew the sex, he demanded an abortion.

In Nigeria, some regions believe a female child is worthless. According to the belief, a male child continues the family name, and a female child adopts her husband’s name.

Though living in Italy, the Nigerian mentality remained. Victor wanted a male child and blamed his wife for “only giving birth to girls.”

This would lead to daily assault, threats, arrests and more threats.

Meanwhile, Victor had lost his Kikiriki’s job in September 2000 and another job at a welding company after fighting some women and his new boss.

Rouphina said, “With my pregnancy, I work daily to support the family, and Victor stayed home watching porn films every day.

“February 22 2001, I was breastfeeding Viola at 2.00 am with the side lamp. He entered the room, asking why the lamp was on, and I answered, ‘I am using it.’

“He slapped me, hitting my head and eye. I hid Viola in my armpit. He turned off the lamp and walked out. I stayed in the darkness, using the shade of street light coming in from the window to breastfeed.”

In March 2002, two policemen informed Rouphina, while at work, that her husband and two kids were involved in an accident.

Victor had gone to a party, got drunk and fell asleep while driving, which led to the vehicle swerving off the road and hitting a huge tree with the two kids in the vehicle.

“The tree wedged the car from falling inside a big ditch.”

Victor also believed in voodoo as he had a couple of charms hidden under his bed.

Rouphina got the surprise of her life in June 2002 when he found the carefully wrapped voodoo under the bed she had always slept in.

“Coming back from his newly found work as a carrel driver in a warehouse. He asked why they were wet. He used voodoo to protect himself. He got a tree branch and flogged me with it. I cried and ran to the road. He locked me out, and I remained outside.

Domestic Abuse
Domestic Abuse

“He phoned a friend Mr Daniel Aghara that I was trying to kill him by using holy water on his charms. Daniel came with his wife Maria, who now lives in London.

“Victor told him he never called the wife why come with her. Daniel frowned at his giving me deep bruises with a tree branch and leaving me outside. Daniel told him to dispose of the voodoo; the kids might accidentally drink the substance.”

When Rouhina’s father died, Victor’s only condition for attending the funeral was for his wife to hand over all her savings.

Victor couldn’t resist the temptation of beating his wife in Nigeria during her father’s funeral, leading to a family meeting where he was made to agree to some conditions before his wife would return with him to Italy.

Some of the conditions were to allow his wife to open her bank account, never hit Rouphina, allow her to talk and see her friends, support her in housework, and take care of the kids.

Victor’s promises did not last long as the beating started when Rouphina was pregnant with her third child in 2004.

The husband had just found out the sex of the child and demanded an abortion, and she refused, leading to daily threats and assault.

After beating his pregnant wife, Victor took a knife saying, “One day this knife will go through your throat”.

The beating became unbearable and persistent that Rouphina ran to a social worker, Mrs Lucy Turci, who secured temporary accommodation for her at the convent while the police arrested Victor.

Rouphina lost the pregnancy due to pressure, and the doctor had to choose between saving her or the pregnancy.

IN 2005, Victor ran to the family in Nigeria who mounted pressure on Rouphina to take him back. The social service took the kids after she decided to give her violent husband another chance.

“The social services sent him for a mental assessment, he refused. Victor went for a solicitor Mr Roberto on behalf of the kids. I was allowed to visit the kids in the convent.

Rouphina escaped to the United Kingdom through France after she was temporarily given the kids for the weekend.

Life in the UK was almost too good to be true. The kids returned to school, Rouphina started working as a carer, and Victor received £6,000 from Chief Bonny Ezeaka, which was the condition for throwing away his voodoo in Spain.

Ezeaka advised him to used the money to buy a car and work as a taxi driver since he had beaten all his previous bosses.

The problem started again when, in August 2006, Rouphina became pregnant with the fourth child.

Victor demanded to know the sex of the child, and three months into the pregnancy, he learned they were having another girl child.

In December 2006, Victor beat his pregnant wife for attending St Peters church in Woolwich without his consent.

He later apologised for £1000. Victor’s business was booming, not from the taxi driving but drug peddling.

In January 2007, Victor pounced on his wife again, almost blinding her for questioning him.

Due to pressure, Rouphina had a premature delivery in March 2007, and Victor only visited once.

When asked why she remained with Victor despite the horrific assaults, Rouphina told this journalist that she couldn’t shake her family off. She returned to Victor because he used them against her. And in the UK, Victor adopted a new tactic of giving her money after causing her severe bodily harm.

“In April 2007 my mum came visiting. He earlier said he doesn’t want my mum and has got no flight ticket money. I bought a flight ticket for mum.

“My mum saw he didn’t stay home, several women phoned calls, calling me names, not playing with kids, and irritated over minor things. Mum gently told him to try and find time for his family, and he told mum he had got no family. He marshalled my mom out of the house because she told him not to make such a statement,” Rouphina narrates.

The Violence continued even in the presence of Rouphina’s mom. He would call her “ugly”, “fatty fatty”, and her self esteem was so hurt that she signed up at a gym while the mom babysit.

Victor then started accusing her of having an affair, demanding a confession, and sometimes clinched his first to punch her and her would jump in front of her.

“After my mom left for Nigeria, I bought a treadmill, and he broke it in pieces. I must be exercising for a man, he said. And I like you the way you are.”

Victor would beat her for various reasons. For dominating a conversation, not shutting up when he was talking or leaving the house without his consent.

“In April 2008, I am to accompany my younger sister Obiageli Ngwuocha( nee Umeh) to buy her wedding gown. He insisted I was not stepping out of the house. I ignored him, putting Olive in her buggy and waiting for Oby to arrive.

“He grabbed me from the back, hitting me several times and pushed me away with a great force towards the glass door. The glass broke and cut my left knee and arm. Ambra, Viola and I were crying loudly, didn’t hear Oby Ngwuocha was knocking. Coming in, she saw what was going on. She phoned Okey Ngwuocha, her fiancé, to come to see what was happening. Oby took the kids away from the broken glasses. Swept the floor and wiped out the blood.

The family moved to Johnson Willson street in Woolwich in 2009. Again, the beating continued, and neighbours couldn’t sit idly by.

Victor resorted to threats after a concerned neighbour, Diane, threatened to call the police, leading to a huge fight on the street.

Victor retired from his known business and went into drug smuggling from Ghana, using the proceeds to build houses and lands in Nigeria.

In desperation to get a male child, Victor’s money also went to IVF, which he paid for at London Bridge Hospital.

“He paid for sex selection, and two attempts didn’t work,” she told Standard Gazette.

Social service in the UK was also involved after the second daughter, Viola, reported her dad in school.

Rouphina got pregnant again in 2010, and as usual, Victor demanded sex immediately. He demanded abortion when he discovered he was having another girl.

He intensified his beating and said, “I really gave it to you as you deserve.” Victor told his wife he would marry another woman in Nigeria since she refused to give birth to a male child.

“January 2011, I went shopping in Asda. Coming back, he asked why it took so long time shopping. He punched me several times and asked me to tell him the truth, where I went to. My blouse was filled with blood, and the kids were crying too.

“He cares less. I was 7months pregnant. Running out of breath, I went outside, calling my mum. She couldn’t believe what I was saying. She drove to see Victor’s mum in Nigeria. I walked down the street to the police station in Woolwich, pressed the bell, and no one came out.

“A passerby told me it’s closed; I should go to Plumstead police station. Looking up, I saw him coming after me. He walked past me, and I guessed he wanted to know what I would do next.”

March 28 2011, Bella was born with another caesarean. He didn’t pick us up in hospital. He’s working, he said. I begged him to pick Olive from school. Coming back, Olive told me she doesn’t want dad picking her up, and he’s always embarrassing her. Within minutes, police officers stood by the door, and they arrested him for assaulting a road warden at Olive’s school.

Victor had another challenge. He could not get a resident’s permit in the UK, so he had a sham marriage with a woman named Maria.

He asked his brother in Nigeria to fabricate a divorce paper in Nigeria, which he presented to the Home office.

The Home Office refused him as it discovered he was still living with his wife.

Rouphina alleged that in 2015, victor paid £2,500 to one Ikechukwu, a staff of the Home office, to hide his file.

He was also arrested for threatening Mr Hassan, his solicitor who filed his papers to the Home office.

Rouphina finally left Victor on May 18, 2013, after many years of pain. She went to social services in Woolwich, who informed the police following her detailed report.

For the second time, they were taken to Hounslow, Wellington road, TW4, for safety.

Rouphina and her kids live somewhere in London, but she believes her husband is still after her as several homes she had occupied had been broken into with hidden cameras hidden in the house.

She also believes the husband is trying to poison her as she can’t shake the smell that oozes out of her house and her car.

She told this journalist that since Victor vowed to make her life miserable in the UK, she had been living on nothing, and sometimes, she couldn’t feed herself.

Rouphina could not explain why she lived with Victor or let her children live with a violent man for many years despite the despicable things she alleged he did to her.

Victor had told his wife’s lawyer that “I have finished her up in this UK. She will never have a life. Unless she’s no more in the UK,” His counsel replied, “what will you do her? Black magic?” He started laughing. Court resumed, I told the Judge all he said at the corridor. Judge asked what was holding me from obtaining a divorce. I have filed for divorce.”

The couple is still fighting over custody as Victor still believes he can secure residents documents through his children, the female children he once claimed weren’t his family.

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