Monday, July 23, 2007

Domestic Violence!

It was a warm afternoon. Even though it was raining season, the sky was still and clear as calm breeze blew through the small Estate. All of a sudden, our peace was disturbed. The sound of silence was broken by a loud cry of someone in pain.

“I will kill you today” a male voice barked angrily. I heard a loud commotion as footsteps thundered towards the incessant scream of people fighting. Although they were all in a hurry to intervene and separate the fight, they seem to carry an aura of casual attitude, one that spells “we are use to this”. A child who didn’t look a day older than seven later confirmed this.

Being a curious observer, I walked towards the small crowd forming in front of the shop- close enough to see what was happening and far enough to be able to flee to safety should the need arise.

“It is a man fighting with his wife…he is married to two wives…that is how they fight every time” the child who was also an onlooker explained to me. For a minute, I stopped to take a long look at the child, and other children around. I was not oblivious of the fact that they were taking in every little details around them; I wondered silently what they could be learning from it. If they are use to being expose to such violence, are they not likely to think it was an okay part of the society they could try out with their peers?

The scene of the bruised couples tangled up like enemies in a wrestling ring describes the reality of what so many people suffer every day from abusers who are either drunk, stressed out- in the case of transfer of aggression, or love to control others by afflicting pain. Many women and children who are mostly victims suffer in silence, ignorant of how to find help. Others are forced to remain in such an abuse for fear of social exclusion in a society that would not hesitate to stigmatise them as being unruly.

Other forms of abuse includes: name-calling, keeping someone from contacting their families or friends, withholding money or needed support, threatening or physical harm, sexual assault, bullying etc., most maltreatment even result to severe depression and death.

In a culture that believes it is okay to hit a child at every opportunity or use fist to settle scores during disagreement, the rate of domestic violence remains high. Especially due to economic hardship that contributes to the increase in frustration that turns love ones against one another.

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