Walk Away When You Do Not Feel Loved Enough
You are lucky if you have never been woken up by the screams of a tortured soul saying someone was going to kill them. You are fortunate if you have never had to make a quick decision, knowing that a life was in the balance.
For families, friends and neighbours of people in violent relationships, the decision on whether to intervene and how to intervene to safeguard life must be made, often on a regular basis. Violence against women is a public health concern; something we cannot afford to view from a distance and shrug as if it has nothing to do with us.
At the very least, if you do not know someone in a violent relationship (daughter, sister, friend, employee), your taxes are going towards fixing broken limbs and burn injuries of domestic violence victims.
Global estimates by the World Health Organisation indicate that as many as 38 per cent of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner. Even where abuse does not end in death, women in violent relationships suffer short term and long term physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health problems.
At least 42 per cent of women suffering intimate partner violence end up with an injury as a result of this violence. According to the annual crime report of the Uganda Police Force 2019, of 14, 232 people who were victims of domestic violence, 2,908 were male adults while 9, 978 were female adults, 676 female juveniles and an almost equal number of male juveniles.
From these reported figures, a disproportionately large number of women and girls still suffer domestic violence and these are only the reported cases. In many instances, violence goes unreported because of the shame attached to such an admission.
Rather than admit that their relationships are failing, women hang on in unsafe environments at home where violence is almost a daily song. Until something tragic happens, we never know the extent of the atrocities committed in the name of love, lust or some other passion.
With economic and health factors such as HIV further complicating the dynamics in relationships and large parts of society still encouraging victims to “hang in there” for the sake of the marriage, the children, the church vows, public image and so forth, the trend is not likely to change.
Given that violence results in many health emergencies, we need to do something radically different to address it. It should be treated as a health issue and given prominence on the education curriculum alongside primary health care topics like body hygiene. Women and girls should be taught that maintaining good health includes staying away from people who cause you bodily or mental harm. The signs and symptoms of abuse should be written down and posted in every classroom and clinic across this country.
Our children should be taught from an early age what makes a healthy relationship, how to spot an abuser and where to report abuse. Dealing with the consequences of violence costs the country resources in policing and treating of resulting health conditions. It also causes society a lot of mental anguish and trauma.
If you have never had to face a partner wielding a weapon of death and if you have not seen the tears and injuries inflicted on a loved one by a violent partner, you are lucky indeed, but not for long. If we do not address violence from the root, many more of us and our children will find ourselves the sad victims of a terrible societal ill.
From DAILY MONITOR