I heard her cry in the middle of the night, terrified of the shrilling sound of a woman being beaten, I ran to my parent’s room. The crashing blow of hand on skin was just too much, I was only 9 years old at the time. My neighbours were who I would describe as cool people, their children were my friends, we got along very well.
I was very confused, “Mom, Dad, he is beating her and she is crying, let’s do something!” but my plea for help fell on deaf ears, I was ordered back to my bedroom and was promised it would have been addressed in the morning. It took me a while to go back to sleep.
I saw my neighbours the next morning and the wife was her usual self, doing her chores around the house and looked at me with a smile, life goes on.
That is certainly not the end of the story, this continued for a while, people in the community all knew about the beatings, but no one seemed to care and my neighbours did not appear to be going anywhere or getting a divorce.
Domestic violence is common place in most societies and is more prevalent than we think it is. Church clergy’s, men of status, and persons you would never imagine were involved, which explains why in some societies it is tolerated, though not accepted. My neighbours are now long gone, but had it not been for parents who grew me up to believe that domestic abuse is not acceptable, I would probably think that it is okay to put my hands or saying the most derogatory thing to my woman in anger.
Fact is, national studies estimate that 3 to 4 million women are beaten each year in our country. A study conducted in 1995 found that 31% of women surveyed admitted to having been physically assaulted by a husband or boyfriend. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in America, and the FBI estimates that a woman is beaten every 15 seconds. Thirty percent of female homicide victims are killed by partners or ex-partners and 1,500 women are murdered as a result of domestic violence each year in the United States. In the Caribbean women ages 14 to 34 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
More than 4 million women experience physical assault and rape by their partners. 1 in 3 female homicide victims are murdered by their current or former partner every year. Abuse is created in different ways, children, men and women, employers, siblings and the list goes on, however more women die from abuse and so we place more emphasis in that area.
While our society derives from a patriarchal legal system that afforded men the right to physically chastise their wives and children, we do not live under such a system now. Women and children are no longer considered the property of men, and domestic violence is a crime in every country. This is an appeal to the society at large, domestic abuse solves nothing! Whether you are being abused or the abuser… you are a victim.