Times of Eswatini

Unwillingn­ess to believe abuse


Abuse survivors are most times depicted as lying, manipulati­ve and looking to settle a score’. o what does it take for a woman to be be lieved, really The unwillingn­ess to believe a man’s allegedly abusive behaviour is at odds with the over whelming number of women lying in hospital beds, after being assaulted by their spouses.

Their evidence and experience­s of abuse are repeatedly dismissed as a fuss over nothing. eactions are usually a mix of victim blaming, , wonder what she did to provoke him’, or she was wearing that dress he was definitely asking for it!’ And the defensive, he had just gone through a hard time, cut him some slack’.


And when the victim eventually dies in the hands of her abuser, then maybe we can start believing that he was abu sive. , s this how far domestic violence needs to escalate before we deem it as real’, or worthy of condemnati­on

The unwillingn­ess to believe that a friend, relative or someone we admire i s capable of abuse i s usually cen tred on how he doesn’t look like an abuser’. What exactly does an abuser look like That all abusers are vicious monsters is a harmful myth that should come to a rest. riends of the abuser keep echoing erroneous sentiments , ’ ve known him for years, he’s a good friend’! The idea that someone can be a good friend, and be abusive, is too much for some people to wrap their minds around.


These are just subtle attempts to un dermine the victim’s story with their own, that because the abuser is kind or good’ to his friends, he can’t be abusive to his partner or other people. 3eople need to understand that violent behaviour can exist in one relation ship, and not in another. , t neither has any bearing on the other.

One in three girls experience vi olen ce in the country before they even reach the age of , one in five will ex peri enc ev io lence through out their lives. 0 os to ft he se go unreported for many re a sons. We talk about these statistics every day, yet when a woman comes forward, we dismiss her claims. ictim blaming is normalised to alarming extents in our culture, and the stunning ignorance is the crafty nature of abuse. We do not want to talk about how a beloved public figure or a respectabl­e man in the community might be capable of abuse. ut this is a conversati­on we must have. We need to stop talking about what women do to men to deserve to be killed even as, wrote this, it sounded ri di cu lou sand start talking about what makes men think it is okay to resort to violence, when the onstitutio­n of swat i ni, and theib le we all claim to love, condemn the taking of another’s life.

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