One of the reasons people find partners is to share with them love and companionship. But what happens if the person you hope to spend your life with starts beating you? In this article, Paida Mpaso explores the issue of beating in an abusive relationship.
Most relationship, experts say, where the wife turns into a punching bag for whatever reason, the relationship becomes unhealthy.
Dorothy Banda (not her real name) recalls how her ex-husband ‘victimised her.’
With two children and a stable job, Banda says her husband at one point burnt her college degree certificate.
“During our courtship days in college, like most men, he was a good man. We got married after we both graduated and he immediately changed. He would get angry for no reason. At one point, he chased me out of the house. I had to sleep at my sister’s place,” says Banda.
A number of people told her to leave the man, but she believed would change.
“It’s not like he was beating me on a daily basis. There were moments we laughed and had fun. But, of course, I was still in love. So, I stayed on even when he challenged me to leave. After some seven years, I just had enough. With the help of my friends, I left him. We have been apart for more than three years but once in a while he comes to see the children,” she says.
Marriage clinician Benjamin Kumwenda says although marital abuse has been speculated as portraying the woman as the victim, men are also being abused in homes.
“Abuse has been widely stereotyped to men abusing women, but the reality on the ground is that women are equally abusing men. We admit that it is mostly men who are guilty of this act. Stereotyping abuse has blinded us into the real initial sign of relationship abuse. The extent to which couples abuse each other may differ but the initial signs are usually and generally similar.
“The major sign of relationship abuse is when one spouse controls the other. It occurs when spouses deny each other’s free will. Free will is what differentiates humans from animals. It is one of the greatest gifts that God has given humanity. When one spouse thinks that they know what is best for the other and then decides for them what is good or bad for them, abuse begins to manifest,” says Kumwenda.
Stella Fowewe, one of our inspiration writers, who is also Dean of Students at Blantyre International University (BIU) and pursuing a PhD in Educational Psychology, faults victims who do not report abuse.
“Abuse in relationships is not normal. Statistics reveal increasing figures because abuse is viewed as a private matter which must be kept behind doors. As a result, most victims of abuse never report their suffering. This is one of the main reasons why the situation is getting worse,” Fowewe says.
She advocates that victims take corrective action against abuse in relationships from the very beginning.
“If you are feeling this way [beaten or any other forms of abuse] in your relationship, talk to a friend or family member you can trust, a counsellor or mental health provider. Pray and trust God for a change. It’s important to deal with this before you get hurt. Love should not be about fear,” she concludes.