Conclusion part 3
Link to pt2 WHAT SHE DESERVES -pt2
Does anyone deserve domestic violence?
… She smiled weakly and shut the door.
As I made my way out of the building, I tried to get my head around the past 90 minutes. It seemed so surreal. Domestic Violence is a reality in every society. We hear about it in the news, read about it in the papers but for some people, this reality is all too present. I wondered if the shell-shocked feeling I was having was normal for children who witnessed such in their homes or did it just become a normal way of life? Did the true victims of the abuse, women like Funto, ever truly forget? Did they get to a point where they were so desensitized that it was just one of those things? I still could not believe she had tried to justify his actions. I have heard that women in such situations tend to do that. And for someone like her who was universally disliked it must have seemed like the only choice. In the society we live in, and indeed around the world, people tend to believe that domestic violence and abuse is often meted out to women who are deserving of it. But was this really true?
Granted, Funto had a lot of qualities that I intensely disliked. She was loud, obnoxious, snobbish, a gossip, incredibly rude and just plain annoying. But did that make it okay for her to be beat up by her spouse? Did she truly deserve it? I am no saint myself and in my relationship with my husband, as in practically all marriages, there are disagreements and sometimes heated arguments. I would be lying if I said in those moments I hadn’t raised my voice or uttered things that were hurtful. Did I deserve a beating for that? In fact, while we’re being honest, I’ll admit that I’m no Mary Poppins myself and would never win an award for Miss Congeniality in any contest. Did this mean that there were people out there who thought I deserved a beating from my spouse?
The normal face of domestic violence
I was forced out of my reverie by a car pulling into the compound and stopping a few feet away from where I stood. I took a deep breath as her husband stepped out of the car; he was much taller than I remembered. He smiled at me warmly in that familiar way people reserved for close friends and family. I wasn’t fooled though. Monster, I thought.
I unconsciously took a step back as he advanced towards me and refused to shake his hand. The smile disappeared from his face. “Ah! Doc, good evening. How are you?” he asked, in a vain attempt at being friendly.
“I was just leaving”, I replied curtly, struggling to keep the anger from reflecting in my voice. I started to walk away when I heard him ask, “ Ah-Ah! Hope all is well?”.
As I turned to face him, I thought of a thousand things I wanted to say to him. I could tell him he was a violent brute that couldn’t hide behind his expensive suit and flashy car. Or that he was a sorry excuse for a husband if he had to treat the mother of his children in this manner. Or even that he had no idea the emotional trauma he was putting his children through. Or that I simply found him too repulsive to remain in his presence a moment longer. But all I could say was, “Your wife needs stitches. You need to take her to a hospital. Make sure the doctor gives her tetanus injection too.”
He was shocked at my words and remained speechless as I walked away from him.
What is the right way to tackle this?
Why didn’t I say more? To be honest, it isn’t my business what goes on in any marriage other than mine. Every marriage has its problems and it is the couple’s responsibility to work out these intricacies. It is my business, though, when another human being has been subjected to violence and brutality for any reason whatsoever because nothing justifies this. No argument or disagreement should explain physically hurting your spouse. And no one, male or female should be subjected to the pain and humiliation of domestic violence. In the African Society, it tends to be accepted as justifiable. If a woman endures physical abuse at the hands of her husband, she is advised to try to refrain from those things that annoy him to avoid a repetition. This is just totally unacceptable because you can’t determine how another human being can behave. You can only control your reaction to such behavior. The focus in domestic abuse has to be the abuser and not the person being abused because it is his/her decision to react in a violent way. We are all constantly being provoked in our daily lives by people and circumstances that come our way and if we always lash out at each other in violence no matter how justified, the world would soon be depleted of human beings.
Funto and I are still not the best of friends. She is still the same annoying talking head I met some years ago and will probably always be. However, she is also a person. A person with feelings and emotions like everyone else. A person with unlikeable and (perhaps) unlikeable qualities like everyone else. A person who does not deserve to be hurt physically or mistreated violently. Like everyone else.
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