DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Helping The Abuser, And Saving Children From Becoming Future Abusers

(By Peters Precious Oshone)

A child is born; brilliant, good looking and adorable. Everyone expects him/ her to grow up living the best life, getting the best spouse and generally becoming better than their parents. At least that is what Africans pray for. But environmental/parental influence sets in. At the middle of the night, right from an infant age, the child is awoken by ‘cries’ from a battered parent. As the child grows older, anger begins to build up. The child is bitter, very bitter. Guilt sometimes sets in when they find themselves loving the offending parent. They are torn between both parents and for the very unlucky ones, the battery hammer lands o them as they grow older. Their childhood is filled with memories of bleeding body parts, swollen heads, black eyes and so on.

Well, they survive but with warped minds. They have been taught nothing other than domestic violence. They vow never to be like the offending parent but they soon realize how deep the psychological effect of their past is eating into their present and future happiness. The first disappointment comes when they find themselves hitting their partner, long before they even wish to get married. Or those with a little more self control, exercise a high level of decorum until they get married and the changes embedded in marital relationships begin to show up. They hate themselves for thinking wicked thoughts and for hurting their spouses and even their precious children. They are the abusers, the villains, the ones society speak against. And no one, just nobody wants to hear their story. No one is willing to help them heal. Everyone wishes them dead!

And so, they wallow deeper and deeper in their hideous shell; rejected and neglected by family and society. The result is that they begin to wreck more havoc or even commit murder! Those that end up with them as partners or lovers even make it worse by showing their love in the worst kind of way. Covering up for an abuser for whatever reason is as good as hating the abuser. If things deteriorate to the point of extreme brutality or even murder, you have just sentenced the one you claim to love to jail or to death!

Also, when children are involved, it is wisdom to take them away from the abuser in order to break the viscous cycle of the abuser’s past. Take bold steps; take right steps. Don’t die in silence! Get help; financial help, material help, protective custody…whatever it takes, just do it! Help the abuser stop the abuse. Silence is a boost to continuous battering and physical abuse. When life is been threatened, find a way to separate homes. Issues like this could be very complicated, but they can always be sorted out. Don’t allow social status, religious belief or even the fear of raising your kids in a broken relationship make you take the wrong steps. Help the abuser, help the children, and help yourself by speaking out and getting help. And for those been battered in pre – marital relationships; it is foolishness to notice any form of brutality in your partner and still dive into marriage with such a person without helping the person overcome their issues first. It is better to walk away from the relationship than to end up with a messed up life or even dead!

At the very beginning stage of the abuser’s abusive actions, such a person should be advised to go for counselling and rehabilitation. With willingness and love, and abuser’s warped mind can be helped to adjust to a normal life. If at some point in the process, the abuser starts getting very offensive to a point of disfiguring their spouse or kids, or if sexual abuse on the kids and siblings becomes an inclusive issue, then maintaining separate homes (with the help of the law) is an option. If it gets to a point of criminal brutality, going to jail is better than continuous crime and threat to lives and property. The help of the law is necessary in the sense that, some abusers get so brutal as to visit their spouse in their new house to vent their anger as regards the reason for separation. Most times, they end up causing more harm than they did before the separation. Or, alternatively, hiding under the shelter of a trusted family member could also be an option.

The abuser is a person. Help him or her stop the negative habit by speaking out to the right sources. Love the abuser by getting help… “Oftentimes, we don’t like the negative habits our parents had. But we end up just like them before we know it”.

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