My fellow Ugandans, people of Tooro, friends, and supporters around the world:Nimbaramukya n’okugonza n’obusinge bwa Mukama.
As you well know, last year, I married Christopher Thomas, an African American young man from St. Louis, Missouri. Like all marriages, we have had our peaks and valleys that we dealt with privately. However, there are challenges we encountered that cannot be reconciled or easily forgotten.
For the person we love, we are reluctant to believe their negative traits and behaviors; love also made me blind, and unable to see the negatives. Yet, a number of issues surfaced requiring me to take a step back and reflect on those values that define us individually and as a couple. Unfortunately, through this process, I realized that Chris and I were heading in two separate paths, because of his personality, promiscuousness, and the physical and emotional domestic abuse.
For example, as you may have seen in the media, a few weeks after our wedding, things got out of hand. Chris physically abused me and continued drinking heavily, which led to more promiscuity and infidelity. While he was out one night, he called asking me to join him in a hotel with “a nice view.” I thought he probably wanted to surprise me with something nice. But on arriving at the hotel he took me to a room where a woman was standing in a towel. They were obviously together before I arrived. When I asked him why he was doing this to me, his response was that he wanted to make me feel jealous because other men wanted to dance with me when were out the previous night.
I could go on and on about how Chris physically and emotionally tormented me. I am so ashamed to mention all the things he has put me through, but it is about time everyone knows the truth. I have suffered in silence long enough, and I am tired. I tried to save my marriage numerous times and forgave all his transgressions in vain. I have also worked extremely hard to keep my private life to myself, and avoid making a public spectacle, but I have been left with no choice but to come out and tell the whole truth.
Due to the continuous abuse I have endured in my marriage, this week I told Chris we needed a break from our relationship until I could be certain I will never be physically or emotionally abused again. Chris responded by going into a rage, threatened to destroy my reputation and that of my family unless I stayed with him. He gave me an ultimatum to change my mind in five minutes or he would publically humiliate me but I refused to give in to his usual controlling tricks.
Before I knew it, he went on Facebook and posted wild and false allegations to damage my reputation and force me to do what he wants. Using his Facebook account, the ‘Princess komuntale’ page, and the ‘Batebe’ facebook page which are under his sole control and do not belong to me, he posted humiliating and painful lies for the world to see. But I refused to allow myself to get back in abusive relationship so that he could stop blackmailing me.
I loved my husband and respected him and our marriage vows until the end and it saddens to announce that our marriage has ended. I plan to move forward with my life where I am not abused everyday.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who have stood by me in this challenging period. I am eternally grateful for your support and encouragement. I am especially humbled and heartened by my fellow women who have endured domestic abuse and have reached out to me and supported me in the last week.
This painful ordeal has taught me many important life lessons. First, that sheer one-sided love is not sufficient for a life-long relationship. Secondly, that one ought to have exceptional judgment of character before entering a life-long commitment. This comes with long-term courtship. And third, love should not hurt, abuse, or torment.
To those women who find themselves in a situation similar to mine, I urge you to take a stand against anyone who can harm you physically or emotionally. It’s not worth it. I tried it for over a year and it never works out. Remember, marriage should not be a trap, but rather a healthy relationship that supports the best interests of both; it should be based on mutual respect, it should bring happiness, it should bring two souls together for a life-long mutual commitment.
At this time, I kindly ask you for your prayers and support. I also ask the media to allow me some privacy as I embark on a healing process. I am strong and I know with God’s help I will be a better person because of this.
May God bless you, Tooro, and our country Uganda.
HRH Ruth Nsemere Komuntale