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“The Descent Into Darkness: Love & Abuse” – This Compelling Photo Short Story about Domestic Violence is a Must Read | TCD Photography



The first time he laid his eyes on her was at a party. What drew him to her was the sensual way she was dancing. She was twisting, moving and grinding like she was one with the music. He fell in love at that moment. In his heart she was the one, the one his heart had been searching for through the years.

As he approached her, he felt like gravity was pulling him to her like he had lost his will and the universe was controlling his gravitation towards her. She was so beautiful, she stood out in the crowded room. When he got to her, she smiled, she had a look in her eyes like she could recognize how he felt, she could see through his eyes into his soul.

While he stood still in front of her, taking in all her beguiling essence, she pulled him into a tight embrace and whispered in his ears “My name is Cathy, what’s yours?” Her voice sounded like what he imagined his guardian angel’s voice sounded like. He replied, “My name is Joe”. From that moment on, he was hooked and little did he know that was the beginning of a tempestuous journey for him that will change his life forever.

She was intense in everything, she felt things deeply. Her emotions were a roller coaster, she loved deeply and she was passionate about everything she set her heart out to do. She was stubborn, it was her way or no way. It seemed like there was a never-quenching fire burning in her soul and that fire engulfed everything she touched. Joe did not recognize this as a problem, he knew she was passionate and could be stubborn, but he felt these were amazing qualities. She was kind, strong, passionate and hard working. Her stubbornness was cute, the way she took control of everything was incredibly sexy to him. He was happy to allow her lead the way.

He later realized that these qualities that he loved about her was going to be a problem. It always had to be her way, if she didn’t have her way everything in sight was destroyed. When she was in one of her moods where she felt she was not in control, she broke everything in her line of sight. They lost a lot of properties to her tantrums. When she came to her senses, she’d start crying and begging for forgiveness and proceed to blame him for her actions. She made him feel he drove her to do all she did and if only he could just be the right man for her, she wouldn’t behave that way, he believed her. That was the beginning of a fast descent into a whirlpool of disaster.

One Thursday, they decided to go and watch a movie she had been raving about for days. She must have called him 20 times and sent over 10 messages reminding him they had to see the movie that evening after work. It was such a stressful day for him, he did all he could to finish work on time. However, when he got home, he was exhausted. He saw she was already dressed and waiting for him. As soon as he walked through the door, she stood up carried her bag and said “we have to head out now, movie starts in 15 minutes and I do not want to miss any scene” he pulled her to him and said “babe, please can we see this movie tomorrow, I had a tough day and all I want to do now is sleep. Please” the next thing that happened left him in complete shock.

In a split second, he felt a sharp pain across his cheek. She was swift and cold with the delivery of her slap across his face. He could not believe it and it took him a little over 10 seconds to process what just happened, he never expected it, not in a million years. He looked at her and he could not recognize who was before him, the look on her face gave him chills. When she noticed him looking at her, her face softened and she started crying, she told him she did not mean to and she did not know how it happened. She went on her knees and begged him to forgive her. He thought to himself “maybe I was being inconsiderate to cancel on her last minute, maybe I was being selfish, maybe I really hurt her feelings” a thousand excuses went through his mind. He knew she loved him and she would never hurt him intentionally. He asked her to get up and he apologized for not considering her feelings and he agreed he was being selfish, as he should not have allowed his day affect their plans.

On their way to the cinema, his mind began to wander, wander to the times they had their little tiffs and she would break things in the house, she once smashed his laptop in anger and he thought to himself that he had to stop provoking her, all her outbursts were his fault and he had to do better. His actions were making her act out of character and he had to do more to make their relationship peaceful. He made a resolve to act better around her, listen to her more and be a better man for her because he was hurting her and making her hurt him unintentionally.

When they got to the cinema, she made her way to sit down and pointed to the concession stand without saying a word, so he made his way there and proceeded to buy their tickets and popcorn. As he stood on the queue, a lady behind him asked what movie he was seeing and they started a conversation as they waited their turn. While they were conversing, he got a text message from Cathy, “I see you are having a good time on the queue, you have no respect for me. How can you be chatting up another woman right before me?” His first emotion was fear he thought “ I have done it again, I have upset her, I have done something terrible” He genuinely believed he was a terrible partner and was doing all the wrong things a man shouldn’t. He immediately stopped replying the woman’s questions. His turn came he bought his tickets and popcorn and left the queue, he didn’t even look in the direction of the woman after she told him “ enjoy your movie!”.

Their remaining time at the cinema was very silent, she did not speak a word to him for the rest of the night. Even when he asked her if she enjoyed the movie, she gave him a blank stare and ignored his question. When they got home, she got ready for bed and went to sleep. Joe was beside himself, he could not sleep and he could not stop blaming himself for everything happening in their relationship, everything going wrong was his fault. He thought of ways to be better for her, he prepared the speech he was going to tell her in the morning, how he was going to apologize for all his wrong doings, he knew he was the one bringing discord into their relationship by being selfish and disrespectful. “ I shouldn’t have made conversation with the woman on the queue,” he thought “ that was very disrespectful. It had to be, otherwise, why was Cathy so upset? of course what I did was wrong”. He continued thinking about everything until he drifted off to sleep.

He woke up with a jolt, something fell and woke him up, he looked at his bedside clock and it was 8 am, he was very late for work, he looked beside him and Cathy was there casually applying her make up. She knew he had to be up at 6.30 am, and she didn’t bother to wake him up. He didn’t have time to start processing any thoughts. He got into the shower and started the process of getting ready for work. While he was getting dressed, Cathy spoke “ are we going to discuss how you embarrassed me at the cinema yesterday? How you were chatting up another woman right in front of me” he replied “Please can we discuss this later, when I get back from work? I am running very late” she let out an evil laugh and said, “ How won’t you be late? Are you a real man? Real men know when to wake up and get ready for work. If it is to chat up a random woman or disrespect me your weak masculinity shows up” His heart started beating faster, he knew what was coming next and he was terrified. She started screaming at him “You cheat! You disrespectful cheat” she started hitting him as he tried to put on his shoes “This is all your fault Joe, look at the monster you have created. All I have done is love you and all you do is make me into this monster”.

Joe tried his best to ignore her, block her voice, block her words, he thought if he blocked her out long enough, she would stop, she would disappear and all will be well. That didn’t work, it was as if his silence infuriated her, she screamed louder at him, pulling him and hurling abuses at him. He stood up and walked out, his heart was bleeding, all of this was happening because of him, his actions were hurting her, this was all his fault but he had to be at work, he would sort everything out after work and all will be perfect again. As he walked out of the room, she followed him, throwing shoes at him, hurling insults, calling him names. As he turned to speak to her, her shoe landed right on his face beneath his eye and blood started rushing out. He tried to calm her down but she was hysterical and she continued screaming at him and pulling him by his clothes. He turned and left the house.

He wiped the blood off his face with his handkerchief, got in his car and started his drive to work. Half way he stopped, there was no way he could make it work looking like this he didn’t want anyone to see his face, he didn’t want anyone to think the love of his life was a monster, so he called in sick and told them he fell down the stairs on his way to work and he had to go to the hospital. After the call, he drove back home.

Cathy saw him drive in and she knew that if she didn’t act quickly she was going to lose Joe to another woman and there was no way in hell that was going to happen. As soon as Joe walked in she got on her knees and started begging him, crying and apologising, she told him she did not know what came over her and she did not mean to hurt him but he made her do it “you know I don’t want to lose you, you know I get very jealous when you talk to other women, yet you continue to provoke me, you continue to hurt me intentionally by talking to other women and you make me hurt you, this is unfair”

Joe motioned to her to get up and he made his way to sit at the dining table to think, he didn’t say a word. Joe was thinking about the right words to say to his beloved, he was sorry for turning her into this jealous monster, he was searching for the right words to say. Meanwhile, Cathy was so sure he was going to break up with her and she was not going to go down easy, she went into the kitchen to get a knife “ I’ll show him, if he thinks he can leave me, he is definitely joking”.

She walked up to him with the knife firmly behind her back and touched his shoulder, waiting for him to utter the words telling her she was not wanted anymore, waiting for him to try to leave her. She was prepared to kill him and die with him. Both of them remained in silence, time stood still in that moment waiting for who was going to make the first move.

: Tobbinator for TCD Photography
Makeup: Ara by Laide
Models: Efe Irele and Laolu
Story, Creative Direction & Styling: Funke Afolabi
For Deviant Republic


  1. LisaO

    March 30, 2017 at 11:32 am

    I was reading and thinking ‘can this be real? This is heartbreaking and sickening’ until i thought of my past. My 17 year old boyfriend.

    Dude pushed and hit me on two occasions. I tried to call the police the first time, he seized my phone. I reached for his land phone and told me they would ask what I was doing at his place. I was a law student then but i stupidly believed him. The second time he hit and pushed me in front of my elder sister and his siblings. Guess what, I went back. He embarrassed twice in a public space and that’s when I gathered sense and walked.
    Ps. No, he broke up with me. loool.
    Silly me…silly me.

    I’m in my late 20s now and I’ve never let any guy treat me that way. I walk away once I sense anger/manipulative issues…no matter how hard it hurts. He is engaged now and I pity his wife to be. Cause a leopard never changes its spots, right? who knows…I’m in a healthy relationship now and I’m thankful he is amazing.

    • King Bae

      March 30, 2017 at 5:37 pm

      The day my ex raised his hands on me in front of his friends and in a public place… i walked away. That was it!. Uttermost disrespect, we were even bf and gf o… so God-forbid, we went ahead to get married… well, the rest they say, would have been history.

  2. Ah!

    March 30, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Now this made for a really good read. Complete with the pictures… A few grammatical errors but altogether a good read! Well done!

  3. Joke

    March 30, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Bros, she’s tall, fair, slim and beautiful. A trophy to be put on a pedestal for your friends to gawk at! What else do you need? Even if she’s a lunatic that beats you up from time to time that’s a small price to pay for a trophy wife. Just manage her like that. I love the flying shoe. Just learn to duck. It is well!

    • keke driver

      March 30, 2017 at 11:46 am

      ” Even if she’s a lunatic that beats you up from time to time that’s a small price to pay for a trophy wife. Just manage her like that”…[email protected] pleaseeeeee tell me this is a joke.

    • Adunnie

      March 30, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      Aunty, he’s tall, dark, handsome, has 6 packs and is rich. A hunk to show off to your female friends so you can feel proud. What else do you need? Even if he’s a psychopath that beats you up from time to time that’s a small price to pay for a hunk as a husband. Just manage him like that I love the part he takes off his belt and whips you. Just learn to dodge fast. It is well. Does this version sound better?
      Joke I’m going to pretend like your comment was a joke and even if it was, it’s quite insensitive.

    • The Real Oma

      March 30, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      Sarcasm my friends, sarcasm…

  4. PH Boy

    March 30, 2017 at 11:39 am

    very nice piece!
    May God never allow his children to meet this kin witch because na die be this!

  5. Spunky

    March 30, 2017 at 11:40 am

    I had to comment before I read( guilty)! Now, lemme grab small chops and coke…before I read…

    • Huh

      March 30, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      Why ever would you want to do that? What exactly have you achieved?

  6. lizzy

    March 30, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    nice Narrative

  7. LisaO

    March 30, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    So i read this and thought, ‘Could this be real?’
    Then I sat back and thought about my boyfriend who abused me when I was 17. We were age mates.

    He pushed me aggressively the first time, I thought -‘ It’s only a push. I upset him’. But he kept pushing me that night, so hard – against the bed, against the wall and against his door. I couldn’t recognise who he was. The look in his eyes scared me. I reached for the phone to call the police and he told me that they’d ask why I was calling from his house – they’d ask what i was doing there if indeed i was scared for my life. I was a law student but i believed him.
    Silly me.

    It continued. From pushing to choking me with his elbow.
    I repressed the memory. If I didn’t think it, it didn’t happen – right?
    Then he broke up with me. I went back, again and again.
    Until he pushed me publicly and laughed to my face.

    I decided it was enough.

    I’m in my late 20s and I’ve dated other guys. Never been abused again – cause I run once I sense anger or manipulation. I’m in a healthy relationship now. He is engaged. I feel for her. I mean, a leopard never changes its spots, right?

  8. "changing moniker"

    March 30, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    **a sad reality for some**.

  9. funmilola

    March 30, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    I don’t know why people still go ahead to get married to an abusive person, when the signs were all over the place during courtship.
    your boyfriend slaps you or your girlfriend breaks or throws a plate when angry…etc
    is it love or foolishness?

  10. Bleed Blue

    March 30, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Baby girl needs a shrink for sure.

    This sort of thing makes me wonder about the “in sickness and in health” part of our vows and I’d been thinking of sending a piece to BN to get us discussing.

    Does this particular vow extend to mental health? Especially when you’re the target of your spouse’s moments of madness?

    I’m all for sticking it out, but not at the expense of your life abeg.

    Baby boy needs to RUN.

  11. Idomagirl

    March 30, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Nwokem run!!!!!!
    Pick race!!!
    Call your families and tell them you’re not doing again…because if you continue she will kill you o.
    Knife, bottle, hot water or even acid sef.
    Leave and don’t let her know where you stay biko.
    Let her go and sort out her mental problems abeg.

  12. Nana

    March 30, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Am I the only one who feels Tonto Dikeh is being shaded? Lol! On a more serious note women can be very abusive with words and cause great emotional damage to men; it’s not always about a man raising is hands! We should watch what comes out of our mouths and try as much as possible to be reasonable with our partners! We say men are cheats yet we don’t date or marry monkeys; we date and marry men! Let’s respect and love them! Let’s control our jealously and let’s communicate more effectively in our relationships

    • Ify

      March 31, 2017 at 10:57 am

      yes it sounds tonto dikeish

  13. mide

    March 30, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Don’t run o boy, stay till she buthers u&sends ur shattered meat 2 ur family…. God this isn’t love, na craze. The lady has insecurity issues yet she’s uncontrollable. I cannot imagine a guy dealing with all this silently&waiting 4 a miracle 2 happen…. Kick d witch out(if u can do that in one piece /alive)or flee 4 ur life bobo.

  14. Tru

    March 30, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    Very good read. Thumbs up

  15. Anne

    March 30, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    Those who saw true colors before marriage don’t know how fortunate they are. If you go ahead to get married to someone who is not fit to live with another human being and lose your eyes in the process no be God na you because Baba God loved you enough to show you the future. You saw it coming.

  16. k girl

    March 30, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    I was abusive to my ex. I beat him with a baseball bat and watched him bleed. You know that ‘This Christmas- Baby Oil beatdown’ kind of beating. Yes that kind. He begged but I didn’t stop beating him. Yes I was abusive but he was abusive too. Three weeks into our new relationship, he slapped me because I said I was too tired to get him something to eat. I love to cook, for him but also for everyone in my life. He had seen that and termed me wife material afterwards- more like slave material. So he slapped me. I was shocked, I didn’t cry, I walked into the kitchen and made him something to eat. Afterwards, he apologised for slapping me and told me that slapping me is for correction only- because he loves me. I smiled.
    We cuddled and he slept off in my arms, I was happy. I got out of bed and straight into the kitchen, I boiled water. I came back with the water and some Robb ointment in it and shocked him by pouring it on him. I beat him with my wooden baseball bat and he screamed for mercy. I asked him if he would ever touch me again and he promised not to. I didn’t care about that, I wanted to teach him that not every sane woman will take his shit. My dad bought me the baseball bat two years ago, after he watched my sister stay in an abusive relationship. Surely, he wasn’t going to let it happen again. Not on his watch.
    I was abusive, because he abused me first.
    I left him the very next day after dressing his wounds.
    I pray he doesn’t hit another woman again.
    I pray if he does, she takes the beating up a notch.
    I was abusive, all for the right reasons.
    I was abusive, I hope I never have to defend myself like that again.
    I was abusive, and will be, if the need arises

  17. Nv

    March 31, 2017 at 10:56 am

    I knew it! Just knew that was where the story was gonna get cut at! Hmmmmn, gbege o.

    First of all, I really love the illustrative pics to go along with the story.

    Second, I’m very thankful that Bellanaija touched on this topic of abuse from women. We don’t always discuss this, men suffer from abusive relationships but are either to ashamed to speak out for fear of being seen as weak or are shamed and ridiculed when they do speak out. its sad, everyone, every gender is capable of being a monster. I pray we reach a point in society where we are all better human beings and don’t subject each other to callous abuse.

    Way to amp up tension!! Now, the brother is busy thinking about whether to leave or stay, little does he know that someone (the love of his life, for that matter) has decided to end his life. Chai!

  18. Eager

    March 31, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    WE NEED PART TWO PLIX PLIX PLIIIXXX! What happened next????

  19. L.

    March 31, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    While I admit men are typically the aggressor, I think this write-up touches an important and often neglected aspect of domestic violence – the female aggressor.

    For cultural reasons, many men suffer in silence as it’s almost emasculating to open up about gf/wife being physical. Interestingly, I had an eerily similar experience – slap, throwing shoes, brandished knife – with my ex.

  20. josdaily

    March 31, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Happens a lot. God a sister-in-law like that. Dude had to run for life when he found himself staring death in the face. Both man and women are guilty of this … to much to say, too little space

  21. larz

    March 31, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Well done writer for showing us what domestic abuse of men looks like. It is such a shame though that, very few men have commented about this (anonymously or otherwise) and many women (esp past victims). This doesn’t help at all (that men don’t like talking about this) because it makes the story seem like fiction and does not help create the much needed awareness needed for male abuse.

    Yes, men are stronger than us women in strength but make no mistake domestic abuse can cause lasting damage to them (physical or emotional. Lets stop writing off women abuse as “tantrums” and lets call it what it is. If your male friend / relative, tell you they are going through something like this, help them get help. If your female friend / relative boasts of doing any of these to their bf/ spouse, call them out on this. Let us try to get rid of domestic abuse once and for all for all genders

  22. yummymummycumchick

    April 4, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    this is a full blown psychotic biatch …………. only the good guys can tolerate this crap…….

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