THE TRUTH ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
“Why didn’t she leave? Is it just about being Mrs? Now she’s dead, who will take care of her children? Why do women care what other people say?!! She could have left and saved herself all the pain! If you’re in an abusive relationship, you better run, RUN!! before you become another statistic! Before you will become another R.I.P Faceboook!!!”
Remember that time when your friend called you in the middle of the night, crying and, after listening, you found a roundabout way to tell her you didn’t want to get involved?
Remember that day you had an argument with your female divorced colleague and you muttered in anger, “This is why you can’t keep a man/home”?
Remember when you escorted your cousin to beg his wife to return to him after another spell in hospital from his chronic violence against her and, when she refused, you all agreed it was because “she’s too stubborn”?
Remember when your sister told you about the emotional abuse she’s enduring from her husband and your first question was, “but does he beat you?”
Remember how you listened to someone bemoaning the fact that women nowadays don’t want to ‘fight for their marriages like our mothers did,” and you said nothing?
Remember when you called a woman ‘silly’ and ‘unwise’ because she broke the code of silence one is supposed to maintain around marriage by talking about the problems in her own?
Remember when you sat through yet another sermon from your pastor about how a woman’s place is by her husband’s side, regardless of what he does? Remember how you nodded when he said, “a wise woman keeps her home”, whether or not she sleeps with one eye open, waiting for him to come home drunk and try to stab her to death?
You, me, your family, our pastors, imams, mosques, churches, communities, village associations, women’s groups, men’s groups, school boards, men, women.
You and I have joined hands and succeeded in building a society where a woman’s worth is tied with death-cords to whether or not she’s married, not whether she is a whole human, physically or psychologically. In one breath, we ask women to leave abuse, but in another breath we give them nowhere to go.
We measure what kind of woman she is by how many years she’s been in a marriage and whether or not she has children, but then we are surprised than some women would do everything to maintain that façade of respectability, which we so demand that they cloak themselves with.
Even those who think they are liberal and supportive, do little in actual practical help and quickly revert to the traditional trite slogans. Before long, even those who manage to leave are bombarded with a barrage that makes them feel they have no choice but to go back.
Yes, everyone is responsible for the choices they make in their lives, and women who stay with abusers ultimately are responsible for their own choices, but how many of us can survive when the reigns of survival are constantly pulled from our grasps, no matter how hard we try to hold on to them?
This is the world we have created. Why are surprised when these women have no choice but to live in it?
Until we start to see women are HUMAN BEINGS FIRST, before wives or mothers, these deaths WILL NOT STOP.