Women’s Aid defined domestic violence as ‘a physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and that forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour’. This can include forced marriage and so-called ‘honour crimes’. Domestic violence may include a range of abusive behaviours, not all of which are in themselves inherently ‘violent’. I’ve decided to start off with a definition of domestic violence for a clearer perspective of how I want to approach the issue. I am very conversant with domestic violence. I’ve read about it, been on different trainings about it and I’ve seen one of my closest friend go through it.
However, I pondered on this question; What if domestic violence happens to me as Tope? What if Tunde turns into a monster and decides he wants to use me as a punching bag to build up his biceps? What if my marriage is a prison with 52 inch television? Would I pretend it’s not happening and recoil into my shell? That would tell the world all is not well because I don’t do shells. I announce my arrival!!!! Would I pack my bags and run for dear life? Would I just pray all will be well because the world, well my part of the world frowns on divorce cum separation? Talking about praying, would I just pray for divine intervention as a Christian? Or would I use my initiative and flee all appearances of evil as the Bible admonishes?
These are the questions that I’ve had to subject myself to. This is because when I read the story of the unloved girl written from the grave, my first thought was foolish girl, I bet he will remarry while you are still warm in the grave. However, I’ve come to realise that it is easy to make assumptions. Yeah, I know it is the least level of knowledge… Please raise your hands up if you have never assumed. Sorry to digress, I’ve known my husband for 12 years and it will be hard to leave him; yes even if he beats me. There is something about change that rocks our being. Whether it is a change for good or bad; human nature revolts against it. When my friend suffered domestic violence, my voice was the loudest asking her to leave before he kills her. She was 33 years when she finally got married. They had the one child and the marriage was less than a year old. How could she just up sticks and leave? She must have been thinking. However, I was thinking this animal will kill you. I saw domestic violence, she saw a divorcee. I saw life beyond marriage; she saw a married life against all odds. I saw a monster and a bully, she saw a lover, her husband who gets angry easily. I saw a new beginning, she saw her vows before God and man.
Back to my musing, so I thought long and hard about my life now and if domestic violence were part of it. My girls’ lives would be rocked, I would be back in the dating market ( that doesn’t sound bad). I would be a divorcee and would be regarded as a failure. I kid myself not; a divorcee is labelled as a failure in our part of the world. Gosh! I would have to mind my spending and cut down on the Kurt Geiger shoes….hmmmmmm!!!!! Ok, Tunde please don’t raise your hands against me, let’s resolve our issues amicably and civilly. It is highly possible social implications/ pressure would keep a victim of domestic violence quiet. This would stop her from telling anyone about the ordeal.
My two pence on this is women have a million and one reasons why they stay in that violent marriage. None of those reasons justify a life, I know. However, take a walk in her shoes before you go off ranting about how you would never condone what she’s putting up with. A listening ear, a sympathetic hug, a shoulder to cry on, a text or a phone call might just convince her to leave him. Women, please leave that brute before he sends you on a trip of no return. My friend left him and remarried; yes with her son in tow, she still found a good man. So all hope is not lost for you…….there’s a better man out there for you and he is not named ANIMAL.