A friend is in an abusive relationship.
Her husband is considered an upright citizen in the community, is well connected, and has a thriving business. He does not allow her to have a permanent job – even braiding that she can and does do well, he decides whose hair she can braid and when, and takes most of the pay. Sometimes he takes all of it. Her husband rapes her, threatens to and sometimes cuts off utilities, does not give her money for groceries, and often threatens to beat her. One time he hit her with his car.
They have 6 kids. The heartbreaking part is the oldest (twins) ran away from home a while back and cannot stand to see their mother tolerate the abuse. One has promised to only visit her when she leaves him. Every now and then he sends her gifts. The other visits occasionally.
The next two are also grown. One is done with school and works in their father’s company. This one hates what the father is doing, has attempted to try and talk sense into him, but can only do so much lest the father makes good on his threat of firing him and making sure he does not get another job.
The other one is living with their father’s mistress while going to university. This one thinks the mother is lazy and does not know how to take care of her man. After all, she is married to him, a privilege other women will gladly take. This one also believes the mom should stop whining as she has it better than most. Okay, so he cheats on her and is abusive, but he always comes home in the end. Yes, he treats the mistress better but she looks nicer, has better food in her house, etc. This view infuriates the other kids and hurts the mom. She loves her child but interacting with the child is like adding salt to her wounds.
The last two are at home and started talking back to the dad a while back, which ended with beatings for both of them and no food for a few days. However, it did not seem enough to stop them.
The mother decides to leave the abusive relationship
Last year, their mother decided that she was leaving him. He beat her. Now beating is a regular occurrence. The beating is so bad she has bruises all over and is disfigured. A few months ago one of the twins got her a body suit to stop the rapes, which simply infuriated the dad and he beats her more. The two younger ones now join the fight and try their best to hit him back and stop him. Recently they gave him a black eye and he had to stay home in shame till it healed.
The two young ones are increasingly gaining confidence that they can one day beat and overpower their Dad. The older ones are not so sure these two are strong enough to subdue him.
Recently things came to a head when he was beating her in their yard and a neighbor caught it on live Facebook video.
Most of her family is infuriated by her condition and want her to leave him. Friends and neighbors have tried talking him into treating her better but have failed. Most do not push as they benefit from his generous donations. Now they are simply saying he just needs to stop beating her and things will be okay.
The two kids at home are terribly disappointed, and, sick of all these ‘councilors’ and their advice which they think is useless. These advisers have no idea what hell they endure each day. They and their mom are malnourished due to living conditions imposed by their dad. She wanted to leave him for a variety of reasons – of which the threats of a beating was one. Stopping the beating without changing the other bad habits is not enough.
What is worse is now she feels so alone. It is as if the world is ganging up on her. Sometimes she wonders at the value of living to see another day, then thinks of her children, especially the two at home doing their best to protect her, and she carries on.
So, what should happen here?
Domestic violence is real! Our attitudes, actions, and inaction all serve to make the environment conducive for such behavior.