Kick out gender-based violence
In the movie 'What’s Love Got To Do With It?' we saw Angela Bassett play the very talented Tina Turner and Laurence Fishburne, her abusive husband, Ike Turner.
Many of us as fans were astonished to learn about the abusive relationship that Tina had with Ike and all she had to endure during what looked like a very successful career.
What stood out to me in the movie was how well she hid the evidence of her abuse.
There was a scene where Ike raped her during a studio session and that was her lowest point in that relationship.
When a woman is in an abusive relationship, she spends much time hiding it because she deals with much shame and for a large part, even holds herself responsible for the abuse.
For persons outside of the relationship, it is inexplicable why a woman would stay with an abusive partner and they make assumptions.
The prevalence of abuse in our society is still too high and we must start working on eradicating this damaging practice.
We can start by changing how we treat victims of abuse:
1. Instead of trying to find out what the victim did to cause their abuse, offer support. Let them know that you are there for them in whatever capacity they need. Victims of abuse feel helpless and alone so offering support can be the first step to healing.
2. Say the words “It’s not your fault”. Victims are already blaming themselves, they are trying to figure out what they could have done differently to prevent this horrible incident.
3. Help the victims move on. This is a process that will take some time and patience so just be open to making adjustments as the individual requires. Be a friend, a shoulder to lean on, or even just a listening ear – healing is different for each person.
4. The justice system has dropped the ball when dealing with victims of abuse and better training of officials should be implemented. The way the society looks at gender based violence is reflected in the justice system and in order for the victim to get the justice they deserve, this must change.
5. Create more support groups for victims of abuse. These groups can include affiliates and counsellors that can help victims start the healing process.
Gender based violence is a real thing and many women (and a few men) are still living in very abusive relationships.
We have to change out mindset about this practice if we want to eradicate it from your lives for good.
At this point I want to congratulate some organisations on the work that they have been doing to bring awareness and provide support for victims of abuse.
They are WeChange Jamaica, Woman Inc, UN Women, I’m Glad I’m a Girl Foundation, and many others.
One of the biggest hindrances is silence, so please speak up.
If you know of abuse happening in your community, say something. If you are being abused, speak out.
If you are in an abusive relationship right now, know that you are stronger than you think. You can get out, there is help available. You just have to make the first step to leave that relationship.
There is a happy life waiting for you on the other side of your abuse.
You are loved and you deserve to be happy. It’s not your fault!