I once watched a goat being slaughtered. That day I realised that fear and a sense of self-preservation is a near tangible thing. With no background information, formal education, and possibly very little to live for (it’s not like he was halfway through Season 3 of Breaking Bad), this animal knew instinctively that harm was coming its way and that it was better to be alive. Better. I have a penchant for goat meat, but those last few moments of the animal’s life was horrible to watch.
Those last moments a wife or girlfriend realises that today is the day she dies in the hands of her lover must be more painful. I sometimes wonder in a macabre way about her thoughts, memories and feelings at that precise moment.
Does she regret not leaving the gazillion chances she might have had an opportunity to do so before? Or if it’s the first time does she wish for one more chance at life so she can walk away permanently? Does she worry for her children, her family? The pain they would feel at her death? Does she wonder if his face is the last thing she will ever see?
When it starts to get dark for her, does she forgive her lover or does she hope he joins her soon or is severely punished by the law?
I don’t know; those are feelings I don’t wish any woman to experience. Dying is horrific by any standard, but dying through domestic violence – by the hands of the one love and trust to protect you is HORROR no one should go through.
With the rise in domestic violence one can only hope women start to put themselves and their children first. Some deaths are avoidable, yet why some women deliberately put themselves at risk is beyond me. All for what? A marriage or a relationship that has gone to shit anyway? A society that will forget about you as soon as a fresh juicy gist circulates into town? A family that will have to grieve and move on without you anyway? Abuse victims think of everyone else but themselves, everything else and other people’s feelings is a priority but not how they feel. Why is this?
And we as a society aren’t doing them any favours either. Rather than encourage them to save their lives, we tell them to pray about it, we tell them to stop doing the things that are getting them beaten up. We tell them they are owned, we instil fear in them by telling them there are no good men out there and that it’s slim pickings out in these cold, lonely streets. We forget that domestic violence ain’t no cartoon and this is no Disneyland.
To those women who still have the opportunity to breathe and have the chance to get out I want to beg you to do so. Do not end up as another statistic. Abusers seldom change and rarely do so while within easy reach of their victims. That is like surrounding an alcoholic with fine spirits and expecting change.
Think of your kids, the same kids you tell everyone you are staying for, they would still be motherless and left to the mercy of the world if you die. Why not take them and run and be alive to see them grow? When kids aren’t involved, there are no excuses to even stay another second with a man that hurts you. Love shouldn’t hurt. Ever.
What we permit is what will continue. At the end of the day, nothing can replace the joy of waking up happy and bruise free everyday and most importantly, breathing. Run and LIVE.
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