[L.E] WHY ALWAYS THE GIRLS AND WOMEN?

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Why do we mostly blame the girls and women in abusive relationships?

Why do we blame and shame them when they manage to master the strength to run away from their abusers?

WHY?

The effects of these relationships on these women’s mental health are traumatic, to put it mildly.

This post is not a generalization of the above issue, it’s not about Men against Women, but I am expressing my personal/professional opinion based on facts and true accounts. I am taking examples from  my own background and culture in the first instance. And this may ring true to other cultures and traditions.

I have discussions on abusive relationship from mainly women on a weekly basis. Sadly, the trend is the same and the prevalence is on the increase. 

Below are some of the most common themes:

I WAS MARRIED TO SOMEONE CHOSEN BY MY FAMILY AND PHYSICALLY, EMOTIONALLY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY ABUSED FOR YEARS. 

WHY WAS THE ABUSE I SUFFERED, SEEN AS MY FAULT? 

WHY DID ALL THE BLAME FALL ON ME? 

HOW DID I DISRESPECT MY FAMILY? 

WHY WAS THE FAMILY HONOUR ONLY ON MY SHOULDERS? 

HOW DID I BRING SHAME TO THE FAMILY? 

HOW DID I BRING THE FAMILY NAME INTO DISREPUTE? 

WHY DO I HAVE THIS ENORMOUS FEELING OF GUILT FOR LEAVING MY ABUSIVE MARITAL HOME? 

The answers to all of these questions lie within us all for looking at the problem solely from the women and girls. We are all to blame and have to accept a share of the responsibility for women feeling guilty, ashamed, disrespected and mentally scarred for life. We all have to take the blame for following traditions and cultures blindly. Just because our forefathers were brought up with these morals and dogmatic principles does not make it right for this day and age. Maybe these centuries’ old traditions have finally run out of time and are not fit for purpose anymore.

You see, in my view, the problems in the vast majority of these abusive relationships are not the women in the relationship, but all of us. The mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and in laws. The problem did not start in the relationship, but long before the boys and girls even started dating or going out.

We raise the girls to stay at home and be good at everything. At a very early age the girls are pushed into being a cook, a cleaner, a hostess to guests, a maid, manager of the house, trained into etiquette, a carer to the family (many girls are not married if mother or father are not well so that they can take care of the house), a full time nanny if there are young siblings, this is to name a few. In many a family this is done on purpose so that they can take care of these chores in their marital house and look after the husband. We teach the girls of family honour, respect and disrepute to the family name. We teach them about shame, guilt and dishonour. We teach them to look after others but in return we do not teach anyone to return them the favour. We prevent them from going out, be autonomous, further their education, build their career and create a name for themselves or have their own identity (rather than Mr X’s wife).

We do not teach the men of their value, their honour, their respect, their dignity and their importance in keeping the relationship alive. On the flip side, the boys are taught next to nothing. They are allowed to go out and be with their friends, play until late, go out with girlfriends, party until early hours of the morning and given no responsibility in the household chores. Basically teach/prepare them to do nothing when they are in a relationship. We prepare them for failure.

So, to me, the problem doesn’t lie with the girls and the women when relationship or marriage break up, they already know how to give stability to a relationship, they already know about dignity, respect and honour. No need to shame and dishonour them.

The issues lie with the majority of boys and the men who have no idea how to behave in a relationship or a marriage through no fault of their own.

The WHY is because we don’t teach/prepare them to be in a relationship or be a husband? We let them loose in the hope that their partner or wife will take care of that. How is this right?

So when the marriage fails, the person we blame is the one we taught everything to, because she is supposed to know. Not the one that we kept ignorant and free from any responsibility.

I ask you, IS THIS FAIR or MORALLY RIGHT?????

In a vast majority of cases of domestic violence/abuse, the women put up with the torture for fear of being blamed by their own parents and being treated as their fault, bringing shame to the family, dishonour and in many cases refuse to have them back.

The men in many cases go and get into another relationship within months, without any fear of being blamed or shamed, whereas the women are left traumatised by both sides of the family for years and some are unable to be in any meaningful relationship after leaving the abuser.

We all have a responsibility to support both the boys and men to becoming responsible and respectful from an early age, just as we teach the girls. Treat them as equal and allow them both equal opportunities to grow and develop. But above all we have a moral obligation to stop this inequality towards women in abusive marriages. Allow them to get out of the grip of abusers with dignity, respect and support from all of us. Blame and shame the abusers and show them that they were wrong. Encourage them to seek help. Be proud that they were strong enough to stand up to their abusers and walk out. Celebrate and embrace them. Show them that you are proud that they were able to fight injustice.

Walking out of a marriage because of abuse and torture is not a failed marriage but a success. Staying in the relationship while being abused and traumatized is a failed marriage.

A lot more work needs to be done around men and relationship. This needs to be done at an early age. We all need to take responsibility so that the burden of responsibility doesn’t only fall on women when marriages fail.

We shouldn’t treat girls as second best anymore as used to be the case. Create our own tradition and culture where equality of gender prevails. ONLY then, we might see a shift in the prevalence of marital abuse and blame culture towards women.

If anyone is in or has issues with abusive relationship feel free to call me on 58662781, Message me on Face book or email me on [email protected] for a confidential, non-judgemental chat.

PLEASE DO NOT SUFFER IN SILENCE

Anwar Maderbocus
+Specialist Mental Health Practitioner

NOTE : Les points de vue exprimés dans cette rubrique ne reflètent pas nécessairement ceux de la rédaction.