I cannot believe that in 2019 men are still beating women. Despite all the PSA’s (Public Service Announcements) that have gone out over the past decades it is certain that as a society we have not built an intolerance for the practice. The practice continues unabated though it seems that women have made so much progress. Of course this is not a class thing. The scourge of women trampling happens in the most erudite of places and positions. We know of the public, high level figures that have been so accused; politicians, lawyers, teachers, custom officers etc, etc etc.
So you wake up in an impoverish community. It is just a bit after 4:00a.m. You hear the female screaming. You are new to the area. She is being beaten at the hand of her boyfriend with whom she has had a long relationship, so much so, that they have made children. She is not crying for help. She is apologizing to the man and asking him to stop it. But he demands his respect.
You are concerned and the situation troubles you. What do you do as a new neighbour? You know that you are not the only one aware of the screams. The other neighbours seem unconcerned. This has become a habitual practice. You reasoned that they may have spoken to the victim many times before but she keeps going back into the relationship. You can tell that this domestic violence is a habitual occurrence. But why is no one else putting out their heads? What do you do?
Do you call the neighbours for help in trying to rescue the victim? Do you go to the person’s door and knock on it and ask the man to stop beating the woman? Do you shout insults from afar at the perpetrator? Do you take the risk of him coming at you yielding his sharp cutlass and you become the victim and your interference occasions a rise in the homicide statistics? Do you play super hero?
Ok. Call the police, is your next thought. But then, a number of variables run through your mind. Do you have to identify yourself as the caller?
You have to tell where you are calling from and where the incident is happening? You are from the area, will the officer recognize your voice? Do you trust the police? Does the police have a stigma of the area? What is the culture of the police toward domestic violence? Will they rush over? When they do come, if they do, will the perpetrator of the crime figure out that you were the one who called the police? Will both the victim and the perpetrator hate you for your action? She has two children. She does not have a job. The educational, economic, spiritual and social mobility that she needs to get out of the trap does not exist or eludes her.
What more can we do to eliminate this scourge? Are we fighting it at the root? We have children in the homes as witnesses to the abuse. Talk about a vicious cycle!