My mother is one of the most loyal people I know. She sticks to her friends, in good and in bad times. She has remained friends with people who at one point in their lives felt that she wasn’t good enough for them, and when the cruel hand of fate struck them, she was there to help them dry their tears. She is patient to a fault, and I want to be just like her.
There are, however, some instances of human behaviour that she refuses to tolerate, the number one being violence.
She once told me that one of the reasons that she is still with my father is because he has never laid a hand on her. She said that even now, after more than 30 years together, if he dares to hurt her physically, she will not hesitate to walk out.
She told me that the first time a man is violent towards a woman, and she forgives him, it is the point of no return. It would have opened the gateway to abuse and torture.
I feel the very same. In fact, I wonder why a man would beat up a whole grown up woman, when her parents would not even dare to do so. Is she his child for him to discipline?
Actually, why are parents up in arms when teacher discipline their children but are quiet when their daughters are battered by husbands?
My heart is breaking. There are too many reports on the deaths of young women and men at the hands of their lovers and spouses. If this person who purports to love you so much can beat you black and blue, what should a person that hates you do?
I am angry. Violence is not and should never be the solution to any conflict. Even these wars that we send our young men to are all for naught. I am a pacifist. But since I cannot bring all wars to a stop overnight, let me at least try to put sense in the heads of people who show others how much they love them by the number of scars and broken bones they give them.
I have heard it told that the most violent people in a relationship are also the best apologisers. A battered woman once narrated how her husband had beaten her until she broke her arm. Afterwards, he was so meek and apologetic, telling her how sorry he was for getting so angry and lashing out at her.
She forgave him and went back home to him, only to be beaten again, until she lost consciousness. Her family had to intervene and remove her from that environment.
Last week, a young woman in a relatively new marriage lost her life after she got into an altercation with her husband. Neighbours later revealed that there was always noise, shouting and screaming from their house. Nobody claimed that they had tried to get her to leave the violent marriage. Her siblings had actually been mediators who worked hard to reconcile the warring couple.
My appeal is to the families of people in violent relationships. Never fear to tell them that if it is not working out, they can always leave. Never mind what society will say about them, as I say, we will always talk before we find the next interesting topic or person. Even in Kenya, cruelty in marriage is solid grounds for divorce.
For the violent partners, if you are not happy with a person, just leave them. If you really want to inflict pain on them, show them how good they would have had it had they been with you. There is no point in injuring them, it just wastes your energy, money on hospital bills and eventually erodes all they trust they have in you. It is not worth it