Wednesday, 26 July 2017 17:38

The Agony of Watching their Parents fight – The Cost to Children Pt. 1

A few weeks ago, a friend showed me the recording made by the daughter of a man whilst her mum was being beaten. I watched as the big man with various cars lined up in his compound, slapped his wife and pushed her towards their well-kept garden. I saw the driver make a half-hearted attempt to try to separate them and he was given a serious blow. I saw the “big man” in white under shirt and black trousers seize the wife’s frail hands as he tried to hit her face and the pain for me was the daughter’s voice.

                            “Daddy you are a good father, you are a wonderful daddy.

                             Daddy please stop, you are a good father” sobs.

I guess all these were to placate an irresponsible adult. Unfortunately this is not a video that can be shared, since the divorce proceeding is already in the court. The only silver lining in this dark story is the fact that the lady got out alive with her four children. Fortunately for her, she never gave up her career whilst married and only two of her children are still in the university. She took the decision after years of consistent domestic abuse.

Another case was that of a thin lovely woman in her forties who came to my office with a very sad tale. Married for 18years but the story changed about 10years ago when their joint business began to thrive and the extended family became a force to reckon with in their home. The beatings began, the slaps were regular, the children will cry and beg the father, still he did not stop . It is challenging to leave, - no resources, young children, no close family etc. where would she begin, she asked me. Finally a few weeks ago, he dragged her out of the house and whilst she was trying to resist, the beating began and her 10year old son in a bid to defend his mum was beaten too. The lady was even taken to the police station on trumped up charges but fortunately released by the next day when senior police officers got the full fact.

There are so many more. Listening to the various stories and looking at the bruises on the women is something I find very distressing. Most times I am unable to work once they share their stories because all I can think of would be “the children”.

The children who witness such beatings are left traumatized for life . One of such shared his experience with me. He witnessed his dad regularly beating his mum and he made up his mind that once married, he will never beat his wife. That was a great decision but there came this day that he was very angry with his wife. He raised his hand to slap her and as he was about to take the step, the memory of his mum flashed in his mind and his decision never to beat his wife, he stopped and instead of slapping, he hugged her and said “let’s go and sleep, we will discuss this tomorrow”. He stated this was what scared him from what would probably have become a cycle.

A traumatic one is a young girl I came across who within two years of her marriage could remember being beaten about 7times by her spouse. It was sad because the lawyer I invited in to have a discussion with this lovely young wife sighed and said,

“Can you believe I handled the divorce case of the
parents of this young man over two decades ago 
and it was exactly on this issue of wife battering”

Children mirror their parents and it is sad that we are raising a lot of dysfunctional children through domestic abuse .

Schools and parents must work together on this issue. We need to speak out more. Schools need to be very observant to enable them help children from such homes .

Parents must be ready to submit themselves to Therapy and know that such relationships are toxic and must be dealt with .

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