When is domestic violence acceptable?
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THE answer to the above question is revealed somewhere in this article. Only people with unresolved deep-rooted psychological or emotional issues lash out violently. They believe they have every right to behave in this manner. But deep inside, they know they are wrong. They would never beat up a work colleague, their boss or someone they respect; for the same reason they take out their aggression on their families. Physical abuse is mainly perpetrated on women by men. Husbands beat up their wives when vexed, drunk or if they feel belittled.

Boyfriends beat up their girlfriends if they think she is flirting or talking out of turn. Lovers have a tiff, and the girl wants to break up and move on, but he wants to stay with her, so he ‘knocks’ her about her head and body, leaving her bruised and disoriented.

For these and other reasons, such incidents happen every day to women globally. Men behave this way because they can get away with it – they are bigger, stronger and far more aggressive than women. But why do women put up with the beatings? The usual reasons are: for the children’s sake: or they have nowhere to go: and the daunting classical reason: ‘He said if I leave him, he’d hunt me down and kill me’. Many women are afraid and some have low self-esteem, while others are trapped in a web, hoping things will change but they seldom do. We are all aware of many women dying at the hands of men.

Men who have an ounce of self-respect do not beat up women. They seek to understand and get along with them. There is an earthly plan for the two to exist side by side. Women think differently to men and vice versa. They complement each other, and so it was meant to be – evenly yoked. Everyone has quirks, strange behaviours and annoying habits, and of course, ‘Teeth and tongue must bite’. But man-woman relationships should be harmonious, cooperative and heartfelt.

Even when a partner makes the other as mad as hell, the underlying unconditional factor should be love. Love for your fellow man, love for the beauty and essence of life, and love for your family with whom you share awesome experiences – the ups and downs, the unexpected occurrences; the lessons, the curveballs you overcome and the pleasures. Life is time.

Time spent beating up a woman does not make a man macho. Neither does it mean he is tough or the head of his household. If anything, it proves him to be a lousy communicator with poor self-esteem, a rogue, a wimp, a coward and, as mentioned above, a person in need of therapy. Instead of thinking things through and controlling his thoughts and actions, or walking away – he lashes out. (Would men ‘like’ being knocked about by women?)

Hardships, stresses and problems come to all of us in life; we must face them, deal with them and learn to cope, regardless of how grave, painful, and despairing they may be. A true man is known by his conduct and tact. When his back is against the wall, he gives strength to his family physically, mentally, and spiritually, sustaining them with love, patience, humility, resilience and encouragement.

To raise boys into men with redeeming qualities (like those mentioned) is difficult nowadays. The distractions and influences available online and elsewhere are overwhelming, and few authentic, local role models exist. Most parents do not know what the younger generations are exposed to through the internet, and many parents don’t mind once their children seem okay, contented and quiet. Their school work is done, their chores completed, so they are allowed free time online.

Children can learn good and interesting things online, but nothing beats the lessons taught to them by adults who care, and are ahead of their game in parenting. If the goal is to deter boys from growing into aggressive, abusive men, parents need to recognise red flags and curb disparaging behaviour before it escalates and becomes inherent.

Is your son aggressive, or a sore loser? Does he witness a fair share of anti-social behaviour? Can he accept criticism and shrug it off without getting annoyed or seeking to save face? Is he easily provoked? Children need skills to deal with instances as they occur, and adults to teach them acceptable behaviour.

Criticism can be constructive. Help children to weigh up opinions and use their intelligence. Participation is more important than winning or losing. Help your child accept losing, gracefully, without hostility, holding a grudge or seeking revenge. Negative attributes such as retaliating behaviours, manipulation, threats to siblings or friends, lack of personal responsibility and always blaming others – indicate that a boy or young man needs guidance from someone (preferably a male figure) he can look up to and trust.

People wonder about men who beat women; How did they get that way? Where in their childhood did they learn such behaviour? Maybe the abuser can answer those questions with some honest self-reflection. However, one thing we all know for sure, is that domestic violence is NEVER acceptable.

There are many reasons why boys grow into men who abuse, an example being growing up in an abusive household. Another could be the result of internalising humiliation and emotions experienced as a child – many boys are not allowed to express true feelings and speak their mind. However, NOTHING gives men the liberty to take out their deep-seated frustration, (when triggered) on a woman.

We need to work with our boys while they are young. Teach them to respect themselves and others. Self-control is a virtue they must identify, value and practise.

If you are concerned about the welfare of a child, call the CPA hotline on 227 0979 or write to us at childcaregy@gmail.com
A MESSAGE FROM THE CHILDCARE AND PROTECTION AGENCY,
MINISTRY OF HUMAN SERVICES AND SOCIAL SECURITY

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