Women Have A Right Not To Be Battered

Anti domestic violence poster, Tanzania. Photo courtesy of http://www.spraguephoto.com

Translation: Abuse of women is outdated! Women have a right not to be battered!

Is it only me or there is a sudden increase of women coming out on social media off late, as unfortunate victims of domestic violence? The latest, being one I saw today upon logging in to my Facebook account.

I’m not yet married. Have never experienced any kind of violence before, thank God, in any of my relationships. So I can’t quite confidently state that, I understand the full magnitude of a battered woman’s feelings.

However, I can confidently state that I’m not an advocate for domestic violence against women. I’m not one who will advocate for a boyfriend to beat up a girlfriend. I’m not one who is going to agree to whatever warped ideas that society and culture have adopted concerning the battery of women. Nobody can convince me whatsoever that women need to be disciplined battered from time to time. But despite my strong feelings towards this phenomenon, women continue to be victims of domestic violence on a daily basis.

The worst bit is that society has since socialized itself to accept this as a normal occurrence. If a woman decides to come out and speak up against the abuse she is enduring at the hands of her husband or boyfriend, a section of people are still going to judge her secretly or openly even! If the man in question is wealthy, some are going to put blame on her for wanting to marry rich or date rich, therefore being deserving of the mistreatment.

A couple of women too, (do not be surprised) are going to think that she’s just airing dirty linen in public for nothing and that it’s probably her fault for making a wrong choice with this man in the first place. Far from it! Nobody going through domestic violence should be branded a coward or poor at making decisions on whom to marry or date.

Some of these ugly traits in a spouse or partner rear their heads once the relationship has fully progressed. By then the victim is in too deep that the thought of walking out, elicits all forms of questions that are too hard to answer for this person. Perhaps there are children involved and the perpetrator fully provides for his children. Perhaps this woman went against her parents’ wishes when marrying this man. Perhaps she’s jobless and therefore financially unstable. You cannot therefore point fingers at this woman for being cowardly in such a situation.

Being from Africa, I have full knowledge that tradition plays a huge role in contributing to the normalization of the battery of women. There is a joke in my country, that goes something in the lines of, “In a certain community, when a woman stays for like a year, without her husband raising a hand to beat the crap out of her, then she gets highly dissatisfied because she interprets that to mean that he does not love her.”

This is actually a sick joke in its entirety. It is indeed retrogressive to equate love to battery because someone who truly loves you cannot raise a hand to you no matter the disagreement. It is a joke intended to give the men the go ahead to clobber women, with a justification of them loving those women. It is a joke intended to make women feel the need to be battered as a form of being given attention.

Whether it is a joke or a half truth for that matter, there are many societies that actually have no issue with domestic violence against women. Societies which interpret submission to a husband, as a wife cowering in fear while a husband barks orders at her or rains blows on her head. When women get to that point where they are empowered enough to speak up against mistreatment in the home, they are then branded in-disciplined. I then wonder who gave such kinds of men the mandate to discipline grown women as if their own parents never did that in the first place.

When young boys grow up in homes where their fathers constantly beat up their mothers, they are socialized to see it as normal. Some of them may share in the pain of their mothers and vow never to raise a hand to a woman in their lifetimes, but many internalize it as an act of manliness. Many find it necessary to emulate their fathers since according to them, it brought order to the home. Such men grow up lacking in any ounce of respect for women, because they made a conscious decision to follow in the footsteps of their fathers, who can be forgiven for being backward and for conforming to retrogressive, cultural thinking of their era.

Once a man sees domestic violence against a woman as a non-issue, then it eventually morphs into a psychological problem, unbeknownst to him. It will get to a point where no dispute in the home can be handled without getting physical. If the woman is unlucky enough to take it the first time it happens, then it will happen again and again.

Those people who view women coming out to speak up against the domestic violence they are enduring as lame, should know that they are equally advocating for the manifestation of deep psychological issues from the perpetrator. Nobody in his right mind can beat the mother of his child/children to a pulp. It is actually not a normal occurrence to constantly exhibit violent tendencies. It is something that needs to be checked by a psychologist forget what culture, tradition and society may state.

Women in physically abusive relationships need to be supported. They do not need castigation or laughter, God forbid. They need our help, those of us in better places, in order to feel courageous enough to get out of a violent relationship or liaison. They need to know that they have that strength within to start all over again, no matter how broken they might feel. More so, they need our love. A love that is not with hidden agenda or laced with connotations of suppression.

Let’s put an end to domestic violence against women.




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