Domestic abuse is a world wide phenomenon. Both men and women suffer, though more light is shed upon the abuse of women because they are the most susceptible victims. It is interesting that the average human being does not believe abuse is right, yet when faced with the situation many of us respond in an unexpected way. I was 12 and he was 12, we were in boarding school and I promise you, I did not see the slap coming. I wasn’t dazed, I just wanted to fight back, but I didn’t have that opportunity. Over the years, many people have said that it is forgivable for a 2 year old as he doesn’t know better, but a 12 year old should have. But what about a 30 year old.

Is there a difference between a father hitting his daughter and him hitting his wife? What happens when a married woman is physically abused by her husband? He slaps her once and she calls it a one off. But when that episode becomes an everyday affair, and the place she called home has become a battle zone. Should she leave? If he was emotionally abusive, would you ask her to leave as quickly?

Many Religions would tell you that marriage is for life? For better or worse? But what happens when worse is unbearable? I’ve heard Christian preachers chastise male abusers. I’ve heard of them encouraging a time of separation for safety and reporting the offender to the police. But many women around the world don’t have that luxury. Shouldn’t Pastor’s and religious leaders advocate divorce, in such situations? I was always of the opinion that if he hits you, you pack your bag and run. I have a friend whose mother taught her different. Her mother said to her; “the first time you do nothing, the second time you fight back, the third time you have a problem”. I have one question; what happens if you don’t live to see the second time? What happens if the strength you thought you had, was no strength at all?

I recently read the book When Broken Chords Sing; by Abimbola Dare. It was poignant tale of the troubles so many women face worldwide. Especially women in developing countries like Nigeria (where the Novel is set); the system is not designed to protect the vulnerable. Women like Destiny Okoye the protagonist in the novel are too often left alone to fend for themselves. The pastor she turned to for help and her own mother, often suggested to her that she may have been the instigator. The woman she runs to for safety dose not advocate divorce, though she runs a women’s shelter. The author seems to imply that reconciliation is best if the husband will learn to change. I on the other hand am hesitant? Am I alone?

Many people, are good at being judgmental. I’ve grown up in church and I have stayed there so I witness judgement all the time. Many times to dispel the crucifying glances, we advice others to put themselves in the shoes of the person they are accusing. But today I want you to consider this; if it was your daughter, would you tell her to stay or leave? How much abuse would you have her endure? Is there a difference between emotional, physical and sexual abuse in marriage? Is there one that is easier to bear? And yes I said sexual abuse, because ‘NO means NO’ married or not, and countless women are raped by their husbands on a regular basis.

If your female friend, sister or daughter was being abused what would you say to her? If it was you what would you do? If it has been you, what did you do?

Do share below. Until next time.

If you or someone you know needs support do contact; Women’s Aid