Tag Archives: abuse

Memoirs of a battered woman

Domestic violence

It was a late Sunday night. All the lights in the nearby houses were off, a clear indication everyone was asleep as the landlady’s dogs growled fiercely, sending chills down the spines of all who heard them. The night was quiet, and the dogs’ barking was the only sound tearing through the silence, and I hated the sound; because I associated it to break-ins.

The neighbourhood we lived in wasn’t the safest, given that our landlady’s son was a young man, who had recently cleared from high school and had joined a gang which used to break into people’s houses. A few recent burglaries made me so afraid of the night as that meant thieves were free to roam.

Unfortunately, in my house we used to sleep late. It had become a tradition. Dad would come home late drunk, and we would be eagerly waiting for him to bring us food, even though most nights the wait would be for naught as we would still go to bed hungry and crying after seeing mom and dad fight. That night however, as we were sitted in the living room we heard a knock on the door.

At first we were all afraid but when the knocking persisted, mom peeped through the window which was adjacent to the door and seeing it was just her friend, she opened up. The woman, who we had visited earlier in the day walked in, dressed in dark clothes and a shawl over her head. She was a bit reluctant to drop the shawl, and when she finally did, I understood why.

Her face was all swollen, with dried blood stains. I could barely recognize her. To this day, I’ve never forgotten how shaken I felt. She looked so different. Luckily for us, mom and dad hadn’t fought that day and dad had gone to bed early, so mom and her friend had all the time to talk. When we managed to get a chance to talk to mom, we curiously asked her what had happened to her friend because she seemed like she had been mugged.

I don’t remember how old I was at the time, but mom told us her friend’s husband had beaten her. I couldn’t believe it. She had been okay earlier when we visited her at her place after church. Worse still, her house was almost an hour away from ours if one walked and apparently, she had come on foot, alone in the dark. Everything about that picture was scary.

I’m not sure if we were on holiday but the next day my mom and I saw her off at the bus stop, where she took a bus to go back to her mom’s. She had left her four children with her husband. When her husband attacked her she had fled out of the house with no money on her; only with the clothes on her back. It was really sad.

I knew her husband, and he didn’t seem like the violent type. Then again, it’s hard telling men who are violent just by looking at them; dad looks like he couldn’t possibly harm a fly; looks can be deceiving.

After that day I don’t remember seeing much of her as I went to boarding school later so I didn’t tag along often everytime mom went to see her as she was her best friend at the time. All I know is she later went back to her husband.

Years later, she went to see mom at work the Thursday before mom quit her job. They don’t see each other a lot because we moved to a different part of the city and the long distance sought of put a barrier in their relationship. They talk on phone rarely but they are still good friends.
When she visited mom at work, she told mom she’s now separated from her husband.

Sombrely, she went on to tell mom the events that led to their separation and I must admit; it was pretty ugly: One night her husband came home, wielding a sword. Her youngest daughter was away in boarding school, while the oldest was in her college hostel.

She was in the house with her third born daughter. Her only son was just nearby at a friend’s house. Scared, the daughter stood between her mom and dad screaming, shouting for help. Eventually her son came home just in time to find her husband about to slash her. Her son tried to hold his dad from behind but he still overpowered him and hit him on the jaw with the handle.

Her daughter intercepted it, holding the blade with her fingers and she suffered severe cuts, with her fingers almost falling off. When neighbours came in to help, the man hid the sword and sneaked his daughter, who was bleeding profusely to a nearby health centre. After that incident mom’s friend moved out, taking her children with her.

When mom told me about the incident, I pitied them an awful lot. She has been through so much. I always hate it when my parents fight but I don’t remember dad inflicting such physical wounds on us. With my family, the wounds are mostly emotional. It’s difficult too, but I’d hate to lose my fingers in a one-man-sword fight.

The husband as it is, wants his wife to go back to him. I hate to come off as unforgiving, but given the nature of that man, I would really discourage mom’s friend from being sweet talked into reconciling with him. If she went back, he might succeed in killing her the next time; God forbid!

Such abusive people just need to be left alone.

The problem with love

cheating men

Loving the wrong person can make someone hate love, and even feel like they are worthless. There’s this show I was watching: a beautiful woman falls in love with a rich guy who’s practically a brat in every sense of the word. He has a personal servant, who tags along wherever he goes, to perform petty tasks like lighting fire at night when he takes his girlfriend camping; saddling his horse, because his family owns the biggest ranch in that town; carry picnic baskets.

The rich guy can barely handle a horse, yet he arrogantly challenges his servant, who is a rodeo champion, to a race; just to show off. Backstage, he has another one of his men threaten the servant so he can deliberately lose the race. According to them, a servant shouldn’t outshine their master.

Because of his inflated ego, he beats his naïve girlfriend whenever the opportunity presents itself, reminding her he’s the one who feeds her family as her parents work in his ranch, which is actually owned by his grandmother.

His idea of impressing girls is going on and on for hours about how much his family owns; and that the girl who marries him will be lucky because she will be the queen of that ranch when it’s finally bequeathed to him, even though he is second in line, after his equally arrogant dad.

When he is not too busy bragging about his family’s wealth, he is a reckless drunk, who sleeps with just about anyone in a skirt. All this happens while he still feigns faithfulness to his girlfriend, who is completely oblivious to his sexual shenanigans.

Unluckily, he sleeps with one of the housemaids, who is only too eager to share her erotic experience with the boss, with the rest of the maids. While the maid is giving details of what the boss did to her, the girlfriend walks in and gets to hear everything because the maid doesn’t see her approaching from behind.

Obviously the girlfriend gets all worked up and confronts the boyfriend. In the heat of the moment she slaps him hard across his face, accusing him of cheating on her. The unapologetic boyfriend asks her to get out of his sight, and as she leaves, all the fury turns into pain and she starts sobbing. All this while, as the confrontation is going down, the servant is watching because he was talking with the boss when the girlfriend walked in.

The servant is a caring guy, and hates the way his boss treats women; and his girlfriend in particular. The boss leaves for the city, leaving a distraught girlfriend behind. Enraged, she threatens to commit suicide, citing low self-worth. Her jerk of a boyfriend was apparently the best thing that ever happened to her and now that she doesn’t have him, she doesn’t desire to continue living.

I watch painfully as she cries uncontrollably, asking what’s wrong with her; why men seem to trivialize her that way. The caring servant consoles her, asking her not to give up on life just because she ran into a hurdle. He tells her not to take her own life because life has so much to offer still.

By the time the show ends, the girl is still attempting to commit suicide. The servant forcefully carries her on his shoulder, taking her to his house so he can keep a close look on her. She only calms down when she comes down with a fever after staying out in the cold for too long.

The girl is obviously crushed, that her boyfriend cheated on her. I would feel the same way too if I found out my boyfriend was cheating on me. What I couldn’t agree with was the idea of her threatening to take her own life because now her life has lost meaning.

For starters, the servant she was with is a really nice guy. He is not wealthy, but his girlfriend would be a very lucky woman. The reason he, on the other hand, is single is because he feels he is so poor, he wouldn’t have anything to offer a woman.

As I watch the two, I can’t help wondering; if they were to become an item, they would make an amazing couple. The girl likes the guy, only as a friend, so I have a feeling she wouldn’t mind dating him, and the guy would in turn treat her like a queen with the little he has. Both would have the best of love.

The woman feels inadequate because she dates the wrong men, who make her feel worthless. If she dated the right guy, like the servant, who unlike the rich, bratty boss, is humble and caring, she wouldn’t feel so worthless because he would treat her right.

Sometimes we love the wrong people and end up hurting. As a result we hate love and feel worthless. If one is in a relationship where they feel unhappy, they should ‘step out’ of the relationship, and weigh things from a third person’s perspective. By doing that, one might end up realizing they are not the ones with the problem but their partners.

Like the girl; she would notice the problem is she loves and trusts a guy who doesn’t deserve her. He beats her, cheats on her, and she still manages to feel like she is the one at fault; and while she is going through all that heartbreak, he is in the city saying “I love you baibe,” to a woman he just met. She should say good riddance and find a guy who will love her right, and treat her like the queen she is.

 

Children; who will protect them?

sexually abused

The things people are doing nowadays, just to get laid? People have clearly lost their minds. On the news, there was this story about a man who has been defiling his daughter, for months. When arraigned in court, he said he had heard his daughter was sleeping around and wanted to prove she was still a virgin; how? By having sex with her.

I was about to start laughing at such absurdity, when I figured people have actually lost all their morals. Anything goes. What made the story even worse is that the said daughter got pregnant and her mother, afraid that society would judge her husband took the girl to have an abortion, so there wouldn’t proof of his perversion.

When I hear of such stories, I just feel parents are letting their children down. Parents are failing their own children, the same ones they are supposed to protect. That leaves me wondering, if parents are preying on their own flesh and blood, dirtying them in the most repulsive of ways, how then will strangers treat the same children with love?

I don’t know if it’s the in-thing, but there seems to be so many sexual assault cases, with parents as the main culprits. Like this other story I heard last week; a man had been arraigned in court for defiling his son for years. When questioned, he said the devil led him to do it. They do repugnant things, then give the most preposterous answers. Then again, how does anyone come up with a credible answer to such heinousness? There’s none!

How does one get such a precious gift, a child, then vitiate it in such a manner? I’ve mentioned my own mom in numerous posts, and as I’ve said before, she is not a perfect human being; nonetheless, she has done the best she can to ensure my sisters and I turned out right. She has taught us what it means to make sacrifices for loved ones.

With her marriage for instance; she hasn’t stayed with dad because she wanted to, but simply because she didn’t want us to grow in a broken home. Has she made choices I felt were wrong? Severally. Still, she never forgets how to be a mother. She may not be the strongest person I know, physically speaking, but if she were to take on someone bigger than her, just for my sisters and me, she definitely would. She could stand having someone treat her wrongly, but if it’s us on the receiving end, she opposes it with all her might.

Seeing the things mom has gone through to defend us from harmful situations, leaves me wondering why some parents cause their own children harm when they should be their protectors. How can a father rape the same child he sired, or a woman, the child she birthed? How does a parent kill their own child, just because they feel they can’t provide for them anymore?

Other men, on the other hand, defile their children because their wives denied them their conjugal rights. Seriously? I don’t know what kind of a mother I’ll be, but right now I feel that is wrong. There is no excuse in the world that could make any of the debaucheries sound right.

A father is not supposed to be involved in any sexual relationship with his children, whether it’s consensual or forced. It’s wrong. And neither is a mother. It’s just wrong. It doesn’t matter if one was sexually starved, going through a very painful breakup or did it under the influence; it’s wrong.

Sometimes women are aware of their children’s predicament (being molested by their own fathers) but because they feel they could be worsening the situation if they reported the crime, they become accomplices. It’s not easy revealing such sordid acts to people who might possibly judge, but before one becomes an accessory to their partner’s crimes, they should consider the defenceless victims; the children. Who will defend them?

sexually abused 2

When I look at small children I get the impression they feel their parents are superwomen/men. They feel their parents can protect them from any type of danger, big/small. So what happens when the same ‘supermen’ attack them and the ‘superwomen’ don’t do anything to stop the pain? The children are left scarred for life, unable to trust anyone.

If one can’t stop it, they should consult a friend, or a neighbour, church minister/priest…anyone who can help. It’s better to fail knowing you tried than to look back and realize you didn’t lift a finger.

The woman who had her daughter have an abortion had me wondering, how different is she from the husband, who defiled his own daughter? Their neighbours are the ones who called the authorities after the teenage daughter talked to one of them, when she freaked out on realizing she was pregnant.

In my opinion, it’s a parent’s duty to protect their children; to keep them from harm.

 

For better or for worse

for better or for worse

Did you swear to love him/her forever; in good times, and in bad; for better or for worse… and now you feel you can’t keep that promise?

Do you want to leave your partner because you feel you don’t love them anymore? Because all the love you once felt for them is all gone?

Well here’s the thing. Love is not just a feeling. If it were, there would be very few people staying for decades together. Love, it turns out, is a decision; a choice to stand by one, for better or for worse. I’m anything but a love guru, but one thing I’ve learned from experience/observation is that love is not the only feeling that binds a couple.

In most cases, love sought of takes a back seat, especially if the two people in the relationship have been together for long and virtues like tolerance, acceptance and understanding keep the relationship going.

My parents for instance; it’s been eighteen years since they officially said, “I do,” swearing to love each other for better or for worse, but have been in a relationship for more than two decades. Is it love that has seen them this far? I would strongly disagree. In my opinion, love only pops every once in a while, but most of the time it’s the vow they made that keeps them together.

If they weren’t legally married, sometimes I get the feeling mom would have left dad a long time ago. She constantly says he is not the man she hoped he would turn out to be. Dad, as I’ve constantly said in previous posts, isn’t the most generous man I know. When my sisters and I were small he would leave home for the office early in the morning and would return after midnight.

Normally that wouldn’t be too big an issue if we were all fed. Problem is he hardly bought food and mom didn’t have a job at the time. His behaviour was the root cause of most of the arguments he and mom used to have. Mom usually blames herself for her failure to read the writings on the wall when they started going out.

“There were very many red lights,” she says in retrospect, “it’s just that I was too in love to take notice. There were tell-tale signs everywhere. If only I hadn’t ignored them. Even when we were dating, he neither took me out to nice places nor bought me gifts.”

Years later, she is still the one who buys him gifts and he never feels the need to reciprocate. On special days like valentine’s days, he doesn’t do anything special for her.

I always find it ironic that on such days, she gets hit on by other men, like those from her workplace and all, with some even confessing they have been secretly in love with her for long. Even some of our neighbours hit on her. Still, mom has never cheated on dad.

The way I see it, the only reasons that prevent her from having extra-marital affairs are the vows she made on their wedding day; ‘for better or for worse, in good times and in bad, till death do us part’. It’s a choice she keeps reinforcing, to stay with dad, as flawed as he might be.

When my sisters and I were growing up she stayed because she didn’t want us to grow up in a broken family; she weathered the storm for us. Now we’re old enough, and the solemn vows are what keep her by his side.

Everytime mom laughs when I tell her I pray that God will give me a husband I will never be tempted to cheat on. The last time I told her that, about a fortnight ago, she asked me, “What makes you say that. Is it because you feel you might cheat on your husband?”

“It’s because I’m almost sure if I get someone who behaves like dad, I will cheat on him,” I paused before continuing, “It’s true what they say, when God gives you a difficult situation He also gives you the strength to deal with it. You’re strong woman mom, not many can live the life you live. It’s difficult.”

I admire her for her resilience. She knows she deserves much better from dad, yet she wakes up each morning, determined to stay faithful to him; to ward off any suitors who promise her all the things dad doesn’t do for her. He hardly makes any effort to make her feel special, only buying her gifts when we ask him to, and everytime he spends his money on her, one can feel the obvious reluctance.

Looking at my parent’s relationship, I can confidently say, it’s not always love that makes two people- married or just friends- stick together. It’s a choice we make, to accept people as they are, and to put up with their shortcomings.

So if you’re afraid you have fallen out of love with someone, just remember, love alone can’t sustain a relationship. Love may pop in every once in a while, but most importantly, it’s tolerance that makes it work and most importantly, the personal decision to stay by one’s side, for better or for worse.

Still, this shouldn’t be reason enough for one to stay in an abusive relationship; one could end up dead while trying to salvage a dead relationship.

Know your worth

know your worth 1

How much are you worth?

I’m always wondering why some people let others treat them like trash. The unfair treatment is mostly attributed to one’s financial status, i.e. if one is considered poor they could be treated unfairly by those who are wealthy. It could also be due to one’s role e.g. in a company; some sub-ordinates really get their fair share of ill-treatment from their conceited honchos. It could also be due to one’s race, gender, sexual orientation…I could just think of so many reasons why some people get undermined.

But question is, is it right? Is it okay to treat someone like a lesser human being because of such inadmissible excuses? In my opinion, it is not. I know some people feel we can’t all be equal; nonetheless, those who wield power/authority shouldn’t oppress those they feel are below them. I empathize an awful lot with people who get treated badly at work, yet can’t quit because they need the money. They know they deserve to be treated better; still they take it all stoically. No one should be maltreated, especially if they didn’t do anything to warrant such torment. Like with one’s race; if one isn’t proud of who/what are, they can change their nationality, but if they are Asian, African, white etc. they will still remain as such. Some things just can’t be changed.

Relationships also come with their own baggage; some partners could be so abusive. There are those who will break their mates down, pointing out their flaws blatantly, in an attempt to shatter their self-confidence. Subsequently, the victim ends up despising themselves, under the illusion that they are repulsive and no one else, but their abusive mate could really love them. So, no matter how oppressed they feel, they never get the courage to walk out of the relationship.

know your worth

One thing I would love to point out is that each individual is worth so much, and therefore deserves to be treated better. It may be hard for someone in a difficult situation to believe this, but this is the absolute truth. For instance, a recovering drug addict might feel they deserve to be ill-treated by other people because they got themselves into that mess in the first place; nonetheless, that shouldn’t be the case. Truth is we all make mistakes; however, one’s past faults, especially when they are trying to right their wrongs, shouldn’t be used against them.

know your worth 2

So, how much are you worth? (One need not attach a price tag to it). Point is, one should know their worth. Many settle for less, failing to realize they should be treated better, because they don’t know/believe they could be worth much. Colour, race, financial status, gender…etc. shouldn’t be used as an excuse to be treated unfairly.

 

Men-an ‘endangered species’?

battered men

Women are the fairer sex; so it has been said over the years. Sometimes I feel we put too much emphasis on protecting girls/women (not that it’s a bad thing) that we forget boys/men. I think about young boys, who are rarely considered when security measures are being ‘dished out’. They may not always be on the news because they were married off young to older women, etc. but they sure have their own fair share of woes.

Hypothetically, there’s a rape. Two people, a male and female are placed in front of a focus group, and the people are asked to point out who the victim is and to back their answer with a brief explanation; high chances are that majority will assume the female is the one who got raped.

A stereotypical belief has been made over the years that men are stronger than women and therefore women happen to be automatically the victims whenever there’s a scuffle between the two sexes. In most reports it is showed that girls and women are more prone to rape because they are vulnerable, therefore preventive measures are put up to keep them safe; campaigns are conducted to create awareness about the predicaments of the girl child…

However, I’ve come to realize there’s so much that goes on backstage; so much that’s not aired or even reflected in statistics. Rarely are we told about young boys who are molested by older women/men; men who are battered by their own wives; men who are sexually harassed by their female honchos at work.

Late last year, I was watching a news feature, highlighting the plight of men, who are victims of battery; battered by their very own wives. A caller, who was watching the show, said his wife usually beat him but he wouldn’t dare tell anyone because the other men would scorn him. When asked whether he’d told his friends, he said he hadn’t and wasn’t planning to because they would think he wasn’t man enough.

I sympathized with him. He needed help but couldn’t ask for it because he was afraid people would mock him. “What man allows himself to get beaten by a woman?” I imagined some men laughing derisively at his misfortune. And somehow I understood why he couldn’t come out and say it in public, that he was being abused by his wife. Maybe he wouldn’t be mocked, but I’ve seen how people react when a man is maltreated by a woman. The issue is treated like a taboo.

Coincidentally, that same week mom got a call from one of her sisters. One of their brothers had been in a fight with his wife and she had bitten part of his lower lip off. I was taken aback. The first thing that came to mom’s mind was that her sister-in-law wanted to purposely hurt her brother. She called her brother to get the full story but he wouldn’t divulge much. So she called his wife, who said she had done it in self-defence.

Mom couldn’t do much; she couldn’t interfere in the couple’s affairs. Later she called her brother to ask if he had gone to hospital but he said he hadn’t gone yet. He didn’t give any reasons for his reluctance to get treatment. My mind went back to the news feature. I wondered if he dreaded the doctors would ask how he had sustained the injury and he was afraid of saying his wife-a woman-had inflicted it on him.

Then my mind wandered a bit further. I imagined how the situation would play out if he had to file a report about the assault at a nearby police station… Instead of seeing pity in the officers’ eyes, I saw derision. Maybe in reality it would turn out differently, but I imagined that’s how men feel like when they have to report an assault on them by the ‘fairer sex’.

I bet it’s not any different for boys, who are abused by older women/men. How does one begin to describe how they were defiled, when it’s almost treated as a rare phenomenon? There are very few reported cases of boys/men, who are abused, and sometimes I find myself wondering if the cases are rare because boys/men don’t find themselves victims of abusive women or it’s simply because they are too scared to come out and say it?

The guy who called to say his wife was abusive said he would remain married to his wife, because he was afraid if he left her people would ask questions. He chose to carry that cross stoically. That, plus there’s a possibility there are hundreds of men out there who are suffering the same plight,  uncomplainingly, makes me wonder if men are an ‘endangered species’?

 

Making Choices

making choices

In my recent posts, I have been writing about domestic violence. It’s a topic I rarely delve into, because it takes me back to a past I try so hard to forget; but then some issues can only be ignored for so long. Many people blame their parents or someone close to them for their shortcomings. Personally, I have more than enough things I blame my parents for. Sometimes I feel if it wasn’t for my relatively damaged past, I would be a much happier person than I am today. When I sink into my occasional depressions, I feel my past contributed a lot.

I’m not the only one; I know people who despise the lives they lead because it’s not what they would have chosen under normal circumstances, and were only led to make the choices they made by undesirable state of affairs.

Nonetheless, life doesn’t always have to take the course someone else carved out. The good thing in life is that each one has the right to make their own choices. One doesn’t have to turn out damaged because they met/lived with an equally damaged person.

Studies show that many perpetrators of abuse were themselves abused at one point; dealing with the trauma turned them into abusers. But slowly I’m learning one can lead a totally ‘clean’ life; one that’s not marred by a horrendous past. The one thing which determines the path one takes is their willingness to change. If one desires it, it will happen gradually. It could be difficult at first, but with determination, nothing is impossible.