The record of what injuries you did us,
Though written in our flesh,
We shall remember
As things but done by chance.
— Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, V, 2
INJURIES you did us, written in our flesh, we shall remember.... those words could very well be written by members of the battered wives' club, and forsooth, they are many. These women have to live a life of not only physical abuse, but also anguish of the mental and emotional type. Compound this with the fear and shame that they have to live with, and we can safely say that they are not very happy women.
But even though they suffer through the misery, heartache and pain of living with a man who beats them, many refuse to leave, preferring to endure whatever torture that's inflicted on them on a regular basis.
I say refuse to leave, but perhaps some simply cannot leave for fear of being hunted down like an animal and suffer the same fate as prey. It does happen, and more often than we'd like to imagine.
It takes a very special type of man to beat his woman, his girlfriend, his wife. The wife beater, that's who gets our attention this week, right after responses to 'Father's heart'.
In your column you stated that you emulated the ways of your father, which proves that children, especially sons, watch and listen to their fathers. Kids get experience from watching their fathers make decisions, listening to logical explanations, or dad showing them how to use a tool, change a tyre or balance a bank book.
Teenagers also need firm leadership of fathers and their involvement in their daily life, and kids develop confidence when fathers spend time with them and show them affection. Kids will also learn how to treat their significant others when they are grown, by the examples set by how father treated mother.
Bravo to you for highlighting the role of the father in our society. I wish that many fathers got a chance to read it and reflect. I also wish that many mothers got a chance to read it too, and realise that they cannot be both mother and father to sons. Yes, I am angry, for many mothers reject the presence of fathers and battle with them day and night for control of the child. Mercifully they are in the minority, I hope, as the errant father is more prevalent. But as a father who was pushed aside, sidelined by a selfish, bitter mother, I have suffered, but the child also paid the price.
What makes a man open his hand and slap a woman? What makes a man double his fist and punch his wife until she's black and blue? What makes a man kick his woman in her stomach? And what makes a man use an object to batter his woman until she is nearly dead? In a word -- cowardice.
Only a coward fights someone he knows cannot fight back. Put that same 'brave' wife beater before another man and see how quickly he turns tail and runs like the cur that he is.
But coward or not, the woman beater inflicts a lot of damage on his victim, and his mind is as warped and as demented as can be. The irony is, the wife beater is a master of disguise, for he does not walk around with horns sticking from his forehead, neither does he have a pointy tail nor wield a pitchfork, but he certainly has the characteristics of a devil as he carries out his diabolical deeds.
The wife beater does not wear a T-shirt that proclaims, "I am a wife beater", so you'd never know what his favourite pastime is, but he fools us all, except the woman he beats, for she who feels it knows it. So clever is he at deception that he'll even convince others that he does no such dastardly deed.
"Say what, beat woman?... what a terrible thing to do." So brilliant is he that he'll even convince his woman that it's either her fault why he beats her, or that it's because he loves her why he lays on the pugilistic pummelling, the flailing fists, the crunching chokes. "Baby, if I didn't care I wouldn't slap you. Parents beat their children too, yu nuh."
Why do they do it? Some say that it's because their woman drives them to it by having too much back-chat, too much lip, too provoking. "She too damn facety and love to put me down, so I nip it in the bud." It often takes some women by surprise, for they never saw it coming. "I knew him for five years and never saw a violent streak in him until that first slap,"
Remember, many wife beaters are masters of deception. Combine this with his ability to let his anger lay dormant for years, until just like a volcano, it erupts with a cataclysmic force. Wham bam, take that ma'am.
The first slap is the deepest....emotionally, but if you check the background of most wife beaters, you'll see a pattern. Either their father abused their mother, or they were abused by their own mothers when young. Some are occasional beaters, while others are serial beaters, inflicting pain at regular intervals. In most cases though, the occasional beater graduates to the serial beater as it becomes easier with every blow.
Wife beaters have expressed, "I don't know what came over me, but when she laughed in my face, my fist just flew into her mouth to shut her up." Some say that it's like an out-of-body experience, and they didn't know what they were doing. I don't buy it, tell it to the judge.
For others, though, they thoroughly enjoy beating women, and even brag about it to their friends like it's something to be proud of. "As soon as she open her mouth I shut it with a box (slap)," this man once told me about his exploits.
Another one said, "When she get out of line, I lay on the hands, man, I lay on the hands." You'd be surprised at who these men are, too; some very prominent in our society, others appearing in the media all the time, parading as paragons of virtue. But secretly, they are wife beaters.
There are some men who may have beater's remorse, feeling sorry and even begging for forgiveness afterwards. "Honey, I didn't mean to, it'll never happen again, please forgive me." But there are others who justify their actions and say that their wives drive them to beat them, as they nag, criticise and provoke them to intolerable levels. "Not even the patience of biblical Job could deal with that woman," I have heard men say.
Now, in no way would I justify a man beating his woman, but sometimes I have to sympathise with some men who lack the strength of character or courage not to beat. I have met some of those women, and observed how they interact with their men, and Lord knows, I can understand why the man would hit them.
There are some terrible, horrible women around who criticise, provoke, goad and dare men to hit them. Some even fire the first salvo, cast the first blow, and when the man retaliates, they cry blue murder. It takes a strong man not to hit some women. It's best to walk away, leave, stay far away before you strike a woman.
And yet, there are women who wear their bruises like a badge of honour. "My man beat me because he loves me, he cares for me." Then there are some women whose men ALWAYS beat them. Different men, same story. Why?
Many wives who are beaten have a certain look about them. They lack self-esteem, have no self-confidence, are almost childlike, and cower in fear when around their men. They dare not offer an opinion.
Why women stay in this abuse is a mystery to onlookers. Some cannot leave the trappings of their upper-middle-class existence, while others are simply too terrified to flee. Others are poor, with many children and depend on the man for economic maintenance, so they accept it as a trade-off. "Where would I go, where would I live, what would I do?" is the common cry.
Meanwhile, the wife beater gets away with near-murder. Still, there are some women who men CANNOT beat, and I applaud them.
Footnote: I must agree with athlete Veronica Campbell Brown when she said that many in our media do not defend or support our athletes when they're having challenges. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce echoed this sentiment, too. VCB has been exonerated by the highest power in world athletics, yet we have self-styled journalists here who are still on a campaign to cast doubts on the entire outcome of the proceedings and indeed the lady's character.
Even when presented with evidence to show her innocence, they still attempt to bore holes in the fabric to prove otherwise. Why can't we defend our own, even as foreigners defend them? I don't see the press in the USA hauling Tyson Gay across the coals after his slip-up. When last have you heard anything of that athlete? Yet we continue to throw petrol on whatever embers may remain on our athletes. Is how come we stay so? Cruel to our own.