If people could have foreknowledge of kismet, many would undoubtedly make attempts to change the course of their lives. Would the majority choose pain over pleasure or sadness instead of joy? And how many would want to die if they could control the events and outcomes throughout their lives?
Based on our experiences, many of us can accept that pain is often necessary for growth, sadness is often necessary for a greater appreciation of what we possess, and death can be an escape for the weary, a step towards reincarnation, or the path to heaven for many others.
I believe that if it were indeed possible for most of us to see the future, many intimate partner relationships would be avoided, especially those relationships that culminate in violence or in death. Many of us would find ourselves journeying the Earth alone, because our foresight would have revealed the flaws in our potential partners that we would find intolerable and the ugly in the form of verbal, psychological and physical abuse would frighten us.
The results of the ugly are too often in our headlines. The darkness is constantly trying to overshadow the light in this society. Constantly, we must deal with unwarranted violence in families, schools, the media and forms of entertainment. In cases of domestic violence, it is women who are most often the victims in intimate partner relationships. However, it indicates that both men and women are hurting in this society.
Who nurtured the offenders and murderers? Who were their role models? Who did not provide the holistic health that is necessary for healthy human beings to be? Who taught him that he was king, but that his queen should walk behind him instead of by his side? Who taught her that her tongue was her greatest weapon and it was necessary to injure him with her insults?
Human beings are not born corrupted. Men do not wake up one day and murder their spouses. Women do not end up dead on the street corner, shot fourteen times by a partner in one fit of rage.
Reona Payne perhaps never envisioned that that would be her end. And again, as is often the case when women are killed, they are crucified in death as being the cause of their demise. There are people in this society who massage those who take the lives of women by trying to justify their actions. Some might believe that the murderer was a “nice person.” However, “nice people” do not abuse their partners and hold them hostage when they want to end relationships. “Nice people” do not kill people because they cannot have them. We cannot control the actions of other human beings. We are responsible for our happiness and the choices we make.
“She deserved it” are words that should never be uttered when a woman is murdered by her partner because he could not exercise self-control.
Many people in this country are benighted. In recent times, I have had to often wonder if people were always so ignorant or if platforms like social media have just exposed it. In times like these, I think that there is no real sisterhood–perhaps it is often just a fleeting thought—because much of the condemnation of Reona Payne came from women. And many of those women cannot look in the mirror and say that they are without fault without experiencing a ‘Pinocchio nose’ phenomenon. Many of them would not like what happened to Payne to happen to them, their relatives or their friends, regardless of the circumstances.
To begin the healing, we must start from the beginning. How are our children being raised? What examples are they following? How are they being disciplined? Many children are the victims of domestic violence. Violence against children is the norm here and many believe that there is no correlation between that and how troubled some adults are.
UNICEF’s report, Behind Closed Doors: The Impact on Domestic Violence on Children, states, “Several studies also reveal that children who witness domestic violence are more likely to be affected by violence as adults – either as victims or perpetrators.”
A large section of our society seems to be suffering from cognitive dissonance. Change will never come if we continue to hold on to the old beliefs and practices, which have been producing the same results.
Two women were killed last weekend hours apart– the aforementioned Reona Payne, who was shot dead, and Rosemary Rudder, who was strangled. While many interventions in recent times have been focused on empowering women, many of our men need forums to uplift and encourage them to be better human beings because they are suffering too. Because of the ingrained belief in many that they are superior to women, they cannot cope when they are confronted by strong women who challenge their “superiority” and it is revealed to be a delusion. They were not prepared by this patriarchal society we live in.
Some have unresolved issues. Many of their fathers and other male role models have been absent or were the monsters they patterned their behaviours after. We must continue by not only empowering women, but by ensuring the needed interventions for our men. Those male role models in our society have the task of reaching their brothers. They must lead the cause in bringing healing for those men who need it.
A few days ago, I attended an event. The stories of Payne and Rudder fresh in my mind. I saw a couple who had made the news a few months ago because he had been abusive to her. It was not the first time, but she did not press charges. I observed them and wished for her sake and the sake of their children, that all would be well. It was then I started thinking about what if we could see our destiny.
Many women in situations of domestic violence must start imagining what their fate could be. It may be difficult, but they have to envision the worse outcomes of domestic violence – see themselves lying stiff and it being too late to escape. They have to think about lying in a coffin and the teary eyes of their children looking at their corpse. It is harsh, but necessary to save some of them.
And the men, must go through a similar process. They must imagine the outcome if they refuse to let her go, but instead kill her. They must think about their children being orphans and them sitting in prison with the possibility of being raped and beaten or even killed by fellow prisoners. They must imagine the lives that could be saved if they seek the help they need to deal with their issues or if someone offers a helping hand. In the end, nobody wins when relationships involving violence end badly.