‘If you ever walked away from an abusive relationship, you won!’ – Adetorera Obimakinde
Adetorera is a banker with over seven years work experience. She graduated with an HND in Mass Communications from Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, Ogun state in 2007, proceeded for her Bsc in International Relations from Lead City University and went on to get her MBA in Marketing Management from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho, Oyo State in 2012.
Her failed marriage, subsequent abuse physically, emotionally, psychologically and verbally in another relationship, having a child out of wedlock, struggle with career and other unpleasant experiences sent her on a quest to find her voice and decided she was going to overcome all the challenges she faced. This and the thirst for her own personal healing gave birth to her NGO, The Renewed Woman Foundation (The RWF) ,a place of hope and strength for women of all background where they can draw strength and inspiration. The NGO is poised to help other women gain back their voices, see life from positive perspective regardless of whatever challenges they’re going through. The foundation is helping them heal, gain strength to forgive themselves and others who hurt them.
She believes there are people in the same or worse situation she was years ago but are unable to find help. Adetorera is actively committed to mentoring several young girls in her community. She is also an entrepreneur and a mother to a lovely boy. She shares her story with me in this interview.
I never had a childhood that prepared me for all these. My parents have been married for about 40years now and I have never seen my dad raise his hands against my mom. Yes the quarrel and argue but I never saw them confront each other. Growing up I never lacked anything , all I saw around me was love and care. My 2 siblings and I are also neatly-closed . As a matter of fact, for me before my marriage in 2013, life was beautiful. I never encountered any challenge until then. I made my papers once, got into school once, didn’t struggle to get a job, you understand. So I never thought I would be here.
I had my primary, secondary and tertiary education in Abeokuta too. Before proceeding to Ibadan for my B.Sc. at Lead City University and NYSC at NTA.
I got a job with Coolfm/Wazobia FM shortly after and spent a few years there before joining the banking industry since over 7 years now. Currently I’m a service leader in one of the branches of keystone bank. I’m passionate about anything concerning the welfare of girls and women. I believe every woman deserves to be heard and deserves an opportunity.I love to travel, watch movies and make friends
Failed Marriage and finding my voice again
I guess I married for the wrong reasons. I didn’t know why I did and what I wanted out of marriage, I ended up marrying wrongly. Although at 26 I wouldn’t say I was young but I was naive and stupid. And I also think the man I married wasn’t sure he loved me because he never stood up for me, he never struggled to be better and never took responsibilities for his actions.
And then while trying to get out of it, I got trapped in the hands of a self-acclaimed prophet. And that was where the real lesson began. I was battered, suppressed, oppressed, humiliated, trampled upon, and lied against, manipulated. Infact, I totally lost all the self-esteem I had.
I was obviously affected at work and people who wanted to take advantage of me took it well, so in was demoted.
I got depressed, developed high BP, wasn’t sleeping and could barely take care of my child( thank God I had a very supportive mother and maid).
But a friend whom I’m grateful to , linked me up with a woman of God who helped me get back myself and of course my mother who prayed and fasted for me to be able to escape the dungeon I was. And so that’s how the journey to rediscovering and finding my purpose started.
Touching lives through RWF
Through Renewed Woman Foundation, over 100 women have found a place to share their experiences, connect with others who have gone through the same, thereby understanding that they aren’t alone after all. Collectively we’ve built an haven of support, hope and strength for women of all background, thereby drawing strength and inspiration from each other. In this place, women are able to reach out without fear of being judged and assured that they will find whatever help they seek, physically, spiritually, emotionally and sometimes financially. At the end, we have testimonies of women who have gone on to heal, be better women and chase their dreams once again.
The challenges basically is finances and getting the right people to support the vision. One tree cannot make a forest. Yes there are alot of people out there but are they the right people. One needs God to choose partners in a journey like this.
Time is also a major challenge, especially because of my kind of job. The RWF would have done more work if I had a more flexible schedule.
Being a Mom, Banker and voice for women
Ummmmm… What’s that quote again? ‘You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only option you have’. For me it’s been dedication, commitment, tenacity, purpose and perseverance. Being a Mom taught me dedication and commitment (chuckles, I bet a lot of Mom out there will nod to that). I know that my darling son is my utmost responsibility and biggest commitment so it keeps me going even in the darkest days.
Being a banker taught me tenacity. Any banker will tell you that. From meetings to targets and everything it comes with. And finally being a voice first for myself and then other women taught me first purpose, because before coming into that space I was lost. Like a ship without a sail. I found purpose and then developed perseverance to stop at nothing until my dreams are realized while helping other women achieve the same regardless of their stories. And that’s basically how I manage it all. And above all, I can say I’m utterly blessed with the most amazing family and friends. And they sure make my journey through it all memorable.
The greatest reward so far is the positive feedbacks that I have gotten from people who have attended our conferences, meet me one on one and who have been impacted by what we do. Alot of lives have become better through the RWF. And that’s an absolute joy to me.
5 Years from now..
In the next 5 years. I hope we are able to reach out to more women in south west and then move beyond the shores of this country. I look forward to patterning with both government and private organizations to organize various skill acquisition trainings for various survivors of DV. Because I’ve long discovered one of the major thing that keeps a lot of women in abuse is lack of financial capacity. So if they know help is ready available, perhaps more women will be encouraged to leave to live. So in 5 years I hope to have train hundreds of women in various skills and organized at least 20 conferences across 5 states.
Government has to do more for victims of Domestic Violence…
Yes, I do believing in recent times and in such State as Lagos, the government has been of immense help towards helping DV survivals. But I strongly believe the government need to do more. The seemingly rise of DV in recent times isn’t necessarily because it’s just happening, rather I will say it is due to the emergence of social media. Social media brings everything to light these days and we are able to see clearer the plight of most women and men alike. So the government need to do more. Pass stricter laws that keep abusers behind bars and for long too. There is a strong need for a physical safe havens, where women in DV can run to for refuge and know they are safe there until they figure out what to do with their lives (I’ve seen too many DV victims who ran away from their abusers but couldn’t find any safe place only to end up back at the abusers place). The government need to provide schemes that not only provide skills but also basic finances to begin with. There are major roles our parents need to play too. I believe I am able to easily get back up and be where I am today because I had a good support system from my family. Enough of parents insisting that their children in abusive marriages just so the society and their churches can see them as good people. If your child comes to you about being abused, as a good parent, your first response ought to be leave to live. There is no trophy given in heaven to anyone for dying in abusive relationship or marriages.
I am Precious, I am a Woman of Rubies
My strength , the acknowledgment of my state and the desires to help other women come out better makes me a woman of Rubies. Rubies although are precious, they undergo hard and tough process to become a precious gem and that is my story.
Advice to Women
Death is inevitable after all, one day we all will be called home. But please make sure you aren’t leaving that decision in the hands of an abuser to make for you. Do not lay your life on the altar of anyone’s anger and madness. God created us for purpose and to make His name glorious, you must never let anyone deprive you of that.
Stop focusing on what people will say, do not be fooled by a lot of people’s hypocritical ways. You will be shocked to find out what goes on behind closed doors. It is easier for people to come on social media and project whatever they want you to see about them and their marriages. And if care isn’t taken, you’d be swallowed into that lie and begin to live a make believe. Know and own your truth. You aren’t alone, and because you chose to walk out of an abusive marriage doesn’t make you a failure, instead it makes you a conqueror. And like a dear friend use to say ‘If you ever walk away from a no good, manipulative, demeaning and abusive relationship or marriage, you WON’!
Choose your own life, you come first. Leave to Live.
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