I woke up to your screams, loud and piercing. The tone of your voice sounded unfamiliar, though it was one of the most familiar ones I have ever known. I should be accustomed to your shrills by now, but surprisingly, I am not, though I have woken up to them a thousand nights. Is it because of the pain that accompanies them? Or the hoarseness it breeds after hours of crying?

Anytime we meet, you turn away to shield the bags and dark circles around your eyes; you hide your swollen jaws and conceal your cracked and distended lips. Your effort to shield your facial injury is porous because I can see it clearly through your makeup.

You shun me in order to avoid my blabs about how you should escape that hell, and drift away from the claws of that beast. You are probably tired of exhibiting optimism about a possible change in his abusive behaviour. People of his caliber barely change, and neither can YOU make them change. They are the only ones who can make that bold decision to change such behaviour, but as you can see, they enjoy what they do.

How do you deliberately walk into hell when heaven is just an arm’s reach? Can’t you see the doom that befalls people who are in similar situations as you? Haven’t you heard and read the news?

Not long ago, a woman by the name of Lilian Dedjoe lost her life, due to the physical assault inflicted on her by her husband. This happened on the 6th of March, 2021. Just two days after, another woman named Elizebeth Yesutor was killed by her boyfriend in Ho.

Haven’t you also heard that a man set a room ablaze with the intention of burning his fiancée, but rather ended up burning her eleven year old son to death, while she ended up in a critical condition?

Also, on the 26th of March,2021, a man was arrested at Kokomlemle for killing his pregnant girlfriend. On the 29th, another man was arrested at Denu for beating his wife to death and secretly depositing her body at the morgue.

I can go on and on, but I prefer to reserve the rest for another day.  Are you aware that as of August 2020, the rate of domestic violence had risen to 31.9% according to the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit ( DOVVSU)? These statistics constitute all forms of abuse including physical, economic, psychological, and sexual abuse.

These abuses still thrive because women like you, who are mostly victims, are considered weak. Perpetrators feed on this assertion and feel they should be in control or possessive of their partners. They continue with their preposterous behaviours because they are certain that they will get away with it or probably be forgiven by their victim. They find excuses for their behaviours such as blaming it on alcohol, drugs, stress, mental illness, provocation, and among others. Some also continue to be abusive because it makes them feel superior. You should bear in mind that all these excuses are neither tangible nor logical.

Also, the fact that perpetrators are able to identify these issues themselves to the extent of using them as excuses, should tell you that they are being abusive deliberately. If they are truly remorseful about their behaviour and deem it as unintentional, then they would make efforts to seek help or take measures to curb whatever problem they possess. Just in case you are unaware of the implications of domestic violence, I will elaborate further and also suggest solutions.

Domestic violence and abuse are so fatal that victims who survive may never be the same again. Aside from death, victims may incur injury, disability, emotional and psychological trauma, and homelessness (as victims may try to escape their abusive environment). Victims may also resort to using alcohol or drugs to forget their ordeal.

Provocation, which is one major excuse used by perpetrators should be avoided. As a person, you have the right to quit a relationship if you feel your partner is provocative or verbally abusive. You should not compromise, because that trait your partner possesses, would certainly hurt your emotions. And if it is a case where you suspect your partner of infidelity, you have the choice to either quit the relationship or forgive the person. Violence is never a solution. It will only get your hands stained with blood and may end you in prison for the rest of your life.

Domestic violence awareness should be intensified. The public, especially victims should be educated on the traits of abusive persons, what to do, and when to leave abusive relationships or environments. As it stands, some of these victims are either made to think or personally view domestic violence as normal. Therefore, they remain silent about it and do nothing to escape their predicament.

Also, victims should be provided with legal assistance to help punish perpetrators under the law. And ensure victims get the justice they deserve.

Most importantly, family and friends should lend their support to victims, to enable them to overcome the trauma and regain their life and confidence once again.

Domestic violence befits no one. Regardless of one’s gender, abuse should never be condoned. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and care, hence, people who have no regard for these values should never be a part of one’s life.

 

Written by : Nasreen Zankawah

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