“I’ve just got back from the police station, but they are not even taking me serious,” she told her friend.
“I’m actually walking up and down the streets, I don’t know what to do or where to go,” she continued.
“The police said it was a domestic issue, we need to sort it out between ourselves. I know the pattern. He started picking on me, and it’s escalating.
The last time this happened, I ended up in hospital. I called the ambulance but two policemen came to get me instead. Hot blood was pouring from my body. I couldn’t work out where from.
My face was swollen, I wasn’t sure if my cheek was fractured. I could hardly see through my right eye. I lost weeks of work. Months of income, and still had to bear the responsibility of paying the mortgage and bills.
I didn’t know what to tell them at work. Would I tell them that I had been mugged or suffered a fall?
What to tell them became another predicament, another source of stress and anxiety.
I still had to attend a course I had been booked on.
I can see all the women looking at me, my swollen face, and black eye told my story, as I tried to network and interact with them as if everything was alright.
Then I had to be at my brother’s baby’s naming ceremony.
When he saw me, he cried.
This grown man, cried.
Then a few days passed, and a week or so passed.
My husband came to look for me at work, with a bunch of flowers behind his back.
He tried to surprise me.
He had a smile on his face.
His eyes were smiling too.
I was still in a bit of a shock, as he handed the flowers to me. He had never been to my workplace, ever.
Begging me on one knee, he handed them to me, and promised that it would never happen again, ever.
He wanted his wife back.
He missed his wife.
He wanted to come home, he told me.
He hated sleeping on his friend’s couch.
He’d been on the run since the incident. The police wanted to have a word with him.
I told him the police were looking for him, and that it would do him a world of good, if he reported to the nearest police station.
I showed him a picture I took immediately after the incident. He bawled his eyes out.
He couldn’t imagine he had done that to me.
He begged to come home to his family. I agreed on the condition that he handed himself in to the police.
It was not up to a week after he had returned home; I noticed a change in his behaviour.
His remorse was gone.
The passive aggression had replaced it.
Another regime of abuse had begun.
I had reported him to the police.
In reality, I hadn’t.
I realised I was bleeding.
Hot blood was pouring on to my white pyjamas top, gushing out of a wound that had been made by the sharp metal object he was holding in his hands.
I didn’t know blood was supposed to be that hot or sticky, but it was.
Did I call the police?
No I didn’t.
I had been counselled not to.
I had been counselled to call the Church.
So I called my pastor.
He said, “Well get yourself to your Doctor.” I told him, I couldn’t even drive in the state that I was in.
He said. “Then call the ambulance.”
I called the ambulance service. But they didn’t come. The ambulance service sent the police instead.
There I was, in my pyjamas sitting between two police, a male and a female, in the hospitals’ emergency department, waiting for someone to stop the blood that was steaming down from a cut on my face, blurring my vision, waiting for my jaw which was considerably swollen, extremely painful and possibly fractured to be x-rayed.
Six months later, my left eye was still blinking involuntarily from the trauma.”
Domestic violence touches every facet of a person’s life.
A lot can be prevented, but more often than not, the woman crying out for help, trapped with her children in this death trap is often ignored.
She sees the signs of another violent episode coming, she knows the signs, but she is often ignored because others cannot see it.
I’ve always thought that prevention is better than cure. But a woman or child in a situation of danger is often ignored.
She cries out for help, but her cry is belittled.
They are often ignored.
They want to see more evidence.
A broken nose.
A fractured cheekbone.
A swollen eye.
But what about the invisible evidence that people do not readily see.
The confused mind.
The low self esteem.
The lost income.
Debts piling up
The time wasted dealing with minutia.
Their life is slowly ebbing away.
Some end up losing their life, with one part in heaven, while the other spends time in hell… I mean jail.
Things do not have to get this bad, before help is given and things spiral even further downwards.
What affects a woman cascades downwards. It affects her children, family and community. What affect her community affects her nation and our world.
No one is an island.
We live in an interconnected reality.
That woman’s problem is your problem, but you may not realise it yet.
There are many people and agencies that are needed to help to nurse the woman, her children and family back to health and give them the stability that they yearn for, as she picks the pieces of her life up once again and struggles to work her way back to normality.
Economic empowerment centres.
They all play a part in helping this family put their lives back together.
Prevention is better than cure. Do we have to wait for the worst to happen before we lend a helping hand?
Partnership working is needed.
Let’s stand together against domestic abuse and violence.
Become a partner, play your part, lend a helping hand.