It takes a lot of courage for a woman to leave a man abusing her
Domestic violence is not a joke. It destroys lives. It takes a lot of courage for a woman to stand up and leave her abuser. She is torn between what she knows she has to do for herself and what people around are telling her to do.
She doesn’t want to be judged by society. She doesn’t want other women to laugh at her for failing to keep her marriage. She doesn’t want to be tagged a divorcee. Her family reminds her not to bring shame to the family name.
She is told to do everything possible to make her marriage work. Her religious leader tells her to be more submissive and not talk back whenever her husband is talking.
She is told to pray more, cook more of her abuser’s favourite delicacies. Some people tell her it’s normal to be beaten. She is told take all the beatings because her great grand mothers took beatings from their husbands and didn’t die.
But how many people have taken time to ask these women what they truly want for themselves?
Some of them have been rendered powerless financially. Even if they want to leave, how will they take care of themselves and their children?
What are you doing to help that woman whose life is being gradually taken away by not only physical abuse but emotional and psychological abuse too?
Are you telling her to stay back in an unsafe environment and endure because marriage is endurance?
Are you spreading her pathetic story across town and making her the subject of your gossips with your neighbours?
Are you among the religious people who claim that ‘God hates divorce’ but you don’t ask yourself if God loves murder and wickedness?
As a society, we have to be able to tell these women that they will have a safe place to go. They will have resources to help them and they will get justice as their abusers are punished.
We still have a very long way to go regarding domestic violence in this country. Law enforcement officers should stop treating domestic violence as a family matter, it is a criminal offence.
Families should stop sending their abused children back to their abusers.
Churches should stop spiritualizing domestic violence. It is physical and it is destructive.
Friends should stop ostracizing their friends who summon the courage to leave their abusers.
Children shouldn’t be made to suffer the effects of violence in the home. They shouldn’t be witnessing the murders of one of their parents and told to recount the stories. It’s horrifying.
A home where any partner is not safe is not a home. It is unhealthy to raise children in such environments. They will grow up thinking violence solves issues.
Do your own bit to curb this menace. It will take our collective efforts to reduce domestic violence in homes.