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By Deborah Luka (Limkokwing University of creative technology) & Noel Zacharia (University of Malawi, Chancellor College)

It is always argued that unequal treatment of equals is an enemy of progress as others are reduced to objects of someone’s success. It is even worse when the said inequality is sponsored by your own free will. It sounds bogus but that’s what the youth are going through. We will just call it love and fear. Agree?

Waking up in a hospital bed one morning was the worst night mare I ever had. I felt pity for myself and mostly for my dearest mum who had to leave her job and spend a couple of days in the hospital just to watch over me for something I could have avoided.

I was so ignorant that I failed to take responsibilities for my own life. I wish i had known.

“Okay, Richard! I am sorry!”, I shouted as my boyfriend pushed me against the closets and held me there.

His already dark eyes darkened even more and I swallowed hard.

“How many times do I have to tell you never to shout at me like that? Do not use that tone with me again, okay?”, he whispered in my ears.

His face a few inches away from mine as if he was trying to intimidate me. It was working though.

I should be used to it by now. I have been dealing with this for almost 2 years now, but every time Richard gets angry with me I still get scared. And he loves it. I can see how much he loves seeing the fear in my eyes and knowing that he has the upper hand in this relationship.

The worst part was the fact that he figured out I was such a coward. knowing my weakness gave him all the powers to control me and our relationship.

Honestly, I loved Richard and I could do anything to keep my relationship with him even when I knew it wasn’t worth it. All I wanted was to be with him.

The most amazing thing about my relationship with Richard was how I loved and defended him at all times. I never counted how many times he made me feel down. All I had was my unconditional love for him. Yes, you are right, he was one of the luckiest guys as everyone said, but the thing was, Richard used to be the sweetest guy any girl could wish to date.
That is why I ended up falling for him in the first place.

I remember my friend Betty used to complain about her boyfriend and how he mistreated her, and I used to laugh at her. I considered myself the luckiest girl on earth to have such an amazing boyfriend like Richard. But as time went by, I came to realize that “even sweetest chocolate gets sour when you eat too much of it”.

It has not always been like this with Richard. He and I became friends in the beginning of our first year in college. Then at the start of the second semester he asked me out and we have been dating ever since.

It was not until the middle of 3rd year that Richard changed completely. He wasn’t the guy I used to know anymore. He was like a total stranger to me. I know you have already started speculating why he changed in such a short period but before you conclude, hear my part first.

It all started after we hit a rough patch a few months after we started dating. We would have been fighting for weeks. At one point, Richard was so angry that he made out with another girl right in front of me. I’d reached my breaking point and told him we were over. Only then did he break down and beg for another chance. I was so stupid to forgive him. I was so blind in love that I failed to notice that sorry is indeed a sorry word as Richard continued doing the things he was sorry for. It was as if Richard was the only human in our relationship such that the phrase ‘to err is human’ seemed to be applicable to him only. But despite all these, my blindness continued.

After we worked out, everything changed. The Richard I knew since my first year in college was gone and replaced by a rough, possessive, over-protective boyfriend. I didn’t know what was happening to him or why he had changed. But I was afraid, too afraid to break up with him. I did not know that one day it will cost me.

I kept pretending that Richard and I were happy together, but deep inside me I was not happy at all and it was killing me until I ended up in this hospital bed.

Richard never allowed me to associate with anyone apart from him and my mum. I had no friend because every time people tried to hang around with me he would scare them up and would leave.

“I wanted to be a normal teenager with a normal boyfriend, living a normal life but here I am stuck in a relationship I do not deserve to be in, only because am scared of taking the next step wondering how I will live without Richard, my abusive boyfriend”, I contemplated one day.

Sometimes we let ourselves suffer simply because we do not know what will happen next If we take the next step and that is what killed me; fear.

I was not brave enough to stand up for myself and I suffered in the name of love. I did not know that there was more to live for than letting my abusive boyfriend get the best of me.

The moment he saw me talking to that girl at the football game, I knew I was in trouble. But I could not help it, the girl was just nice to me and she wanted to be my friend. If only she knew I was not allowed to have friends, she would have left to save me from getting into trouble.

“so you won’t tell me who that girl was?”, Richard asked.

Towering over me and looking down at me with harsh stare, I stayed quiet and stared at the pavement. The look in his eyes terrified me. Suddenly, Richard threw me against his car. My head flew back, hitting the driver’s window and that was it.

The next thing I woke up in the hospital bed and I could not remember what happened next but they tell me I have been unconscious for 5 hours, love and fear.

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