What should this battered woman do?
I just read a sad story of a woman who is being physically abused by her husband but finds herself stuck and cannot leave him. Several issues were raised in the article that point to systematic abuse that has been left to grow and engulf it's victim who now finds herself in a prison type of marriage.
Firstly, the fact that the police are not willing to come out clearly to protect this woman , despite the existence of a law against domestic violence, points to an inconsistent application of the law if not outright lack of appreciation of the harmful effects of domestic violence. I'm not sure if the police officers are male or female but I would like to guess that if they were women , they could have easily related to this woman's ordeal.
The other stunning fact about this story is that , trouble started before the two got married. For some strange reason the woman went out of her way to cover up for him in order to maintain harmony. This was the ideal time when she should have evaluated whether this relationship was worth persuing or not. Perhaps she was so smitten and head over heels in love and so her heart overtook her head and she made decisions based on chemical reactions that were removed from reality.
So instead of terminating the relationship immediately when she started experiencing abusive behavior, she mistakenly though having a baby would help resolve issues and bring them closer. This is common in many relationships and is based on the mistaken belief that children help to strengthen the relationship. While it might have helped our ancestors , it doesn't seem to apply to this generation.
Anyway, as this woman got more and more entrenched in this abusive relationship, she seems to have lost her confidence due to the continuous batterings with no sign of help or protection from either the police or the public. In fact it was stated that instead of sympathizing and coming to her rescue, on-lookers actually laugh at her when her husband assaults her in public. So now this woman has resorted to keeping the abuse to herself and locks herself indoors whenever the abuse happens so that she can nurse her wounds in private. It is even worse when coupled with the fact that she does not want to disappoint her parents who are looking forward to receiving bride price from her husband.
Finally, this woman has lost all hope as due to economic reasons , she is not empowered to deal with this situation. Despite having qualifications, she cannot find a job and so feels that , she will not be able to fend for herself if she decided to leave this abusive relationship. Though she has contemplated leaving, her financial situation holds her down and stops her from taking any action until such time as she is financially independent.
Wow... I'm afraid that by the time this woman finds a conducive environment in which to free herself from this bondage, either she will be dead or will have lost an eye or all her front teeth. What can this battered woman do?
Mosline Farawu is a writer of spiritual and intellectual articles with a bias toward women's issues. She lives in Zimbabwe, Africa and is a mother, wife and career woman. She aspires to become a successful coach and counsellor to other women.