Will He Beat you Black and Blue? By Victor Akunna
Relationships are wonderful gifts and experiences. As a matter of fact, one of the best sights to behold is that of couples in love; holding hands on walkways, whispering into each other’s ears at the mall, writing love notes on planes, looking into each other’s eyes in the salon, etc.. Irrespective of the negative publicity given to love and marital romance in the media today, true love is still celebrated in its purest form, especially when it is seasoned with selflessness and consistent dedication.
What happens when instead of true love and marital romance, what we have in a marriage are deep hurt, bitterness, broken communication and the like? What happens when all spouses do is to tear down each other’s esteem at the slightest mistake? I believe that marriage in itself is not the problem; the issue is often with the individuals within the marriage. They make the marriage what it is.
Talking about the people in marriage determining its quality, sometime ago, I saw a video about Ray Rice, a professional NFL star, beating his wife in an elevator, to an unconscious state. He was eventually fired by his club, the Ravens; a move that set him back professionally. However, this is often not the case in every situation. Across the globe, particularly in third world countries where men are often the breadwinners of the family and the legal systems are poor, many women are constantly abused and nothing happens. According to Women’s Aid UK, 2 women a week are killed; women are more likely than men to be the victims of multiple occurrences of abuse. What system can abused persons put in place to protect themselves and their children?
Speak up: Abuse often begins like a little ‘drop of water’. You will often see signs of abusive tendencies towards other people by the abuser especially at the early stages of your relationship. At other times, these may be directed towards you in form of mean jokes, sarcasm, pushing, etc.. Psychologists assert that victims should speak up against such behaviours. Let the abuser know that such behaviours cannot be tolerated. It is better to be by yourself than to fall in love with an abuser.
Silence strengthens abuse: The power of abuse is secrecy because abusers often work hard at isolating their victims in order to mentally torment, intimidate and oppress them. However, it is important for you to carefully select who you share your story with; protect your privacy.
Change your location: There are cases in which it is necessary to leave the location temporarily until a solution is reached. I am often suspicious of any intervention which insists on keeping victims in the same environment with their abusers. Encouraging a victim to remain with the abuser is suicidal; many women have lost their lives in situations like this. Unfortunately, not every country has been able to make provision to shelter victims of abuse.
Learn to forgive: “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies” |Joyce Meyer. Forgiving the abuser does not excuse the gravity of what was done to you, but it is part of the healing process which is for your own good.
Seek professional help: Most times, victims of domestic violence end up with emotional scars, low self-esteem, guilt, weight gain due to emotional eating, etc. Please seek professional help from a Counsellor, a Therapist or a Pastor. This will go a long way.
Don’t blame yourself: There is a tendency for victims of abuse to blame themselves, feel sorry for themselves, or develop a defeatist mentality. You must not give room to this at all. As a matter of fact, rather than blame yourself, turn your pain into power. Recognise that you are a survivor, so use your story to encourage and empower other people like yourself, “Life is a class” |Oprah Winfrey
Photo Credit: anonhq.com
Victor Akunna is fondly called the Relationship Catalyst because of his passion for helping individuals, couples and companies build sustainable and valuable relationships with key stakeholders. He is a member of The Coaching Academy, UK with experience in relationship coaching. He and his lovely wife, Chidi, run “Romance Masterclass” – a coaching programme, and write “Connected Hearts” – a leading daily devotional on spicing up marital romance, while also running Foundation for Family Affairs – a charity focused on strengthening families around the globe. You can connect with him on BBM 73E8821E, TWITTER @FamilyAffairs05 and BLOG http://foundationforfamilyaffairs.org/