Sometimes I feel our culture expects too much from a woman. We are taught to accept certain things as “normal” and not question them. Take infidelity for example. The moment a wife finds out her husband is cheating or has a small house trying to confide in his or her relatives can prove to be fruitless because most times she is told that’s what men do. Today I will touch on relationships in our society.
There are so many different cases of unimaginable things happening around Zimbabwe lately. One of the articles that I read recently shocked the lights out of me. A woman killed her husband over a text message. If you read the story at first glance you just tell yourself this woman be crazy! But when you really think about it; it was probably not about the messages. I would like to think there is a story behind this story; you just don’t wake up and decide today I am going to kill my husband for no reason. Chances are her spirit had been broken beyond repair because of issues that hadn’t been dealt with within the marriage and a whole lot of bullshit she had to endure as a woman. Remember I told you that our culture just tells you to accept things that a man does and go with the flow; now see where that kind of thinking leads to? A man will cheat, he will beat up his partner, he will have a love child and even bring the child to his matrimonial home, he will leave his family for another woman and what is the woman told?? SHINGA NDOZVAVANOITA VARUME!! (be strong that’s what men do).
I asked a few people whose names will obviously remain anonymous why they chose to stay in abusive relationships even though they could see they were in an unhealthy relationship.
- They were promised heaven on earth
- They had low self esteem
- They enjoyed the attention they got from their partner even though it was the wrong kind of attention
- They thought he will change and become a better person
- He promised he would never do it again
- They stayed because that’s what they knew and were used to
- Their partner threatened to commit suicide if they decided to leave
- They stayed because of the children involved in the union
- They stayed because they worried about what people would think
- They stayed because they did not want to be alone
I have been in a toxic relationship before and trust me at the time chances are you don’t see that this person is actually abusing you especially if it’s emotional abuse. Do not even ask me about the process of reporting to the police after an abusive incident, what a joke! I ended up feeling like I was the one who committed the crime. Then I tried to go to Musasa Project to try and get some counselling but the queues were long and I waited for half a day on both occasions I tried to go there until I just gave up. I ended up dealing with the abuse on my own because clearly there was nowhere else to turn to…
Okay, back to the story at hand. It’s only after you leave that you realise things could have gone pretty bad if you had decided to soldier on. I learnt my lesson though, I know that the moment I see any signs of abuse I will walk out and fast I won’t even second guess my decision. I remember the night my then boyfriend beat the life out of me like it happened yesterday…I stay at a flat with 30 units and even though I screamed and cried for help not a single person came to my rescue. Do you see another worrisome thing in our society? Our society does not want people interfering in things that don’t concern them so someone will probably get beaten to death and the neighbours wont say a word or intervene because “it’s none of their business.”
The people who contributed to this post also had a few lessons to share.
- He taught me that staying with an abuser is just letting them know it’s okay to get angry and lash out with physical violence they won’t stop. Your best bet is to leave before something worse happens.
- The moment three or four people highlight that your partner is abusive take a step back and look at your relationship from their point of view. Sometimes outsiders see what you are going through with clear eyes.
- People must at least try to intervene when they see a problem.
- “Being strong” is not the answer to every problem, people need to sit down and talk about their issues and concerns.
A few weeks ago I noticed that Njabulo wrote a status on Facebook asking why women do not leave abusive relationships. You can read more from here.
After all is said and done all I can say is we are all human beings and we should always consider how our actions will affect the next person. Do not go around doing things that will hurt the next person just because you know society will allow you to get away with it.
Have a heart!