Everybody has heard of domestic violence whether they think it is a normal practice or not. I remember a time when a woman would report her husband to the police for beating her only to be sent back right home because it was a ‘family/private’ issue. I am happy that domestic violence was recognized as a crime in Zambia some years ago.
There are women who do not mind being beaten every once in a while because that is a sign of love to them. Some men believe that they can beat their better halves when needed. I do not subscribe to this thought, but to each his own if they do not mind being tapped every now and then.
For this post, I am not as interested in what makes an abuser tick as to what makes abused partners stay in toxic relationships. From my lay person’s point of view, some reasons are:
- They think they deserve the mistreatment because they are not good enough for their partners
- They will not find another partner if they leave
- Their partners will change for the better and stop beating them
- They are not financially independent
- Their culture allows partners to be beaten
- They believe that their partners just made a mistake in beating them (even though the abuse has been going on for a long time)
- Their partners still love them even if they beat them every so often
‘Rachel’, back in the States was an abused woman and her boyfriend even spent 18 months in jail for battering her several times. Interestingly, Rachel allowed boyfriend to move back into her apartment when he was released from prison. Said boyfriend also knew that Rachel would move on if she found the better partner she was actively looking for.
Sarah, in Zambia, used to be beaten to unconsciousness by her husband but she stayed in her marriage for years. She later said her husband had two sides to him; the loving/caring side and the violent side (like every abuser, I think). Her husband made sure she saw the nice side regularly because after beating her he would be very repentant, loving, taking her out and lavishing her with gifts. Sarah said interventions did not work because she was not ready to leave. She only left him when she was ready to and at no-one’s prodding. Sarah reported her husband to the police several times but would withdraw the charges when she saw the police getting their guns to go and arrest him. She would feel sorry for her ‘poor’ husband.
I think that domestic violence charges should still go ahead even if the victim withdraws charges like in the US. Rachel had wanted to drop charges, but the police told her that once reported, the issue is out of one’s hands and the law takes its course.
I believe that any person found guilty of laying hands on his/her partner should face some consequences, no matter who they are. The punishment can be going to jail, doing community service, being fired from public service or whatever else is deemed as punishment in that country. People should not be raised thinking that domestic violence is a normal way of resolving issue.