As we approach the time in South Africa where we make a stand against the abuse of women and children it gives me pause to reflect on the fact that it happens under our very noses still.
The measure of control that is exerted by an abuser over their victims has its roots in many areas; lack of self-esteem, personality disorders and jealousy to mention a few. While we can identify reasons for it we cannot excuse the behaviour. I am sure you know by this time that I am an advocate of the benefits of silence BUT there are times when it seems to me that we need to speak up.
“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”
The quote above is an idealist’s view when you are in an abusive relationship. As a victim of abuse I know how difficult it is to move past that wall of silence because I needed it so badly to maintain the façade, to keep the peace. I had all the right words, gestures and smiles and knew what a happy family should look like and how they are to behave. I had all the excuses and backups. I had become a professional liar. There were those that I confided in but they either refused to help or sent me away saying I should be grateful for what I had. Some people just stopped coming by. I was alone and lost and needed a voice.
I am certain someone knows somebody who is being subjected to abuse. It is to these readers that I appeal this weekend. Please know that the victims of abuse are not weak, they are afraid and they need for us to assist in a practical way because their non-existent self-esteem cannot bring them to the point of moving away on their own. What can we do? Let us start by giving an ear, a moment of your day to open your heart, to reach out to them. Let us be open to the probability that this person is telling the truth, even if we cannot believe our ears and eyes. We need to remind them that they are special, they matter and we care enough to help if necessary. There is no cause to judge their situation. When they are ready to make a move away, let us be available. Do you think you are able to be that person who puts action behind their words? Or are you going to just sit back and rather not get involved? Are you woman or man enough to take your friend or neighbour to the police station when needed? Who will make a TRUE stand this month and every month hereon forward?
Will you be the voice for someone who temporarily cannot speak? As I write this article I can still feel the relief and appreciation of being free from my abuser. You can be the catalyst to making someone else also feel free and grateful and on the road to recovery and a stronger person.
As always I welcome your comments.