Monday, August 16, 2010

Stop being passive about abuse

One year ago we were in Soweto to celebrate Watint’Abafazi, Watint’ Ibokodo but there is still behaviour in our society that has been striking women and they do not find the strength to strike back: ABUSE.

Abuse from of any source or at any level is just not right. It means taking away someone’s dignity.

God created us on the basis of respect, actually to be His likeness and image. God is not abusive. He is the one who first gave mankind the right to choose.

The idea of this campaign has been in our hearts for a long time. We want to take it from a very different approach and we are not prepared to look down on men or cast blame on the male gender.

As Christians we uphold Biblical teachings and we believe in the institution of marriage and family as much as we believe in the responsibility of men to lead their households.

The most difficult part is to realise how much each one of us has been passive about abuse, treating it as a natural course of life: it happened to my mom, to my sister, to my neighbour, it surely has to happen to me.

I grew up seeing my father bashing my mom and us, now my husband is doing the same to me.

Women live, day in and day out, with a resigned attitude to abuse, not taking a stand to protect themselves and their children.

The worst pain, though, is when children are betrayed by those who were supposed to protect them. Those who just keep quiet when abuse takes place, pretending it did not happen.

And we play the blame game:

It is your fault! Why were you walking alone on that street? Look at your clothes … But what blame can be put on a child who was inside her house and someone known to the family or a close friend takes advantage and sexually violates her fragile body?

We cannot carry on hoping that it will never happen to us or to any of our dear ones. Hope is not enough.

Men of character, you can play such an important role to bring about a change of behaviour. You must be role models to your children, neighbours and community members.

We have to deal with the consequences of abuse. And WiA’s main purpose is to offer support to those who were or are victims of abuse. Thoughts, feelings and images are constantly taunting you. The day it happened, your dreams were shattered; you feel so unclean, rejected, undignified and even forgotten by God; your self-esteem is so low you have been dragging yourself through your life since then.

You do not need to live like that – you are a woman of value, of courage and you need to awaken the strength you have inside you to overcome the ghosts of the past.

Marcia Pires

1 comment:

Boitumelo - S.Africa said...

I believe that with the attention given to this subject. many will be able to undertsand that it is not just how things are and that things can change and should change in fact. Abuse breaks a person down, feeling worthless and therefore doe snot have the strenght to do soemthing about it or to leave... the scars defninitely run deeper than just skin. Thanks again for the good work WiA is doing.