It was deliberate that I took so long to write on my blog as I wanted to be objective as well as forthright in my opinion on the topic of abuse.
In recent times Jamaicans have pondered over domestic abuse and there have been many opinions some of which have shifted blame towards the abused. This may be in part because of ignorance on the impact that the abuse has on the abuser as well as the long-term side effects of being abused. There was also one theory on marriage being a resolution being that fewer individuals report domestic abuse (spousal abuse) when married. I must caution that non-reporting does not indicate ‘no’ abuse happening. As there is a myriad of reasons for spousal abuse not to be reported such as; fear of losing their children or access to them, fear of judgment from family members and friends, inability to maintain self or becoming homeless and fear of being killed or harm to the child.
It is often quite easy to make pronouncements “when the shoe has not fit you”. I have spoken with both men and women who out of fear for life have remained in an abusive relationship and have not reported the abuse. Though some of the reasons may seem nonsensical; the truth is that they are the once living the abuse and so they understanding the risks especially when children are involved.
I would implore onlookers and persons who are concerned such as friends to be more understanding and patient. Be their voice of reason, but be patient with the pace that the reasoning is being embraced. Domestic abuse usually encompasses all the other type of abuse: emotional, sexual, physical and often even social. The abuser is ‘the dominant” in the relationship, they are in full control and often dominate the mental space of individual being abused. Fear is real for the abused and it is not until the person overcomes that fear that they can make the decision for their own wellbeing. Strength and readiness are at opposite tail ends and are not often in sync; hence, the pace to walk away or report an abusive relationship varies, with pride and religion often playing a major role.
As we propel on this topic, it will be important for the subject of the signs of abuse and the side effects to be discussed. If one understands what the abuse can do and what it looks like then more persons may be cautious when entering into relationships. Information needs to be shared with fulsome understanding and without bias. Knowledge is indeed power; hence abuse needs to be treated as a disease one that no nation wants to become an epidemic.