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I CONFESS: Don’t stand for abuse

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

I CONFESS: Don’t stand for abuse

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I took a lot of blows from men when I was younger, so I feel I have the experience to speak about the subject of men beating women. It is as commonplace today as it was years ago.

I am heartened that more educated women are speaking out on this issue because, with their support, it might help more people realise how serious this problem really is, and maybe then more would be done to help women who are beaten by their men. This includes stiffer penalties for men who abuse women.

I remember when I was a girl women used to be beaten all the time. It was so commonplace that nobody used to see it as a big problem. I had a relative who had to run from a man because he used to give her some warm lashes for no reason at all.

As I was growing up I also saw my mother take a lot of licks too, but she never liked anyone hitting her, so she quickly got away from such men. That is why we grew up without a steady man around because mummy was not prepared to let anybody beat her or ill-treat her children.

In my case, I had two men who used to hit me, and I eventually left both of them even though they are the fathers of my children.

The first one was a real good-looking man. And he dressed sharp and loved dancing – in fact, we met at a dance. But I discovered that he, like so many men today, expected to have a woman in every district and if I objected he would slap me in my face.

In fact, he used to beat me like he was fighting with a man – he would cuff me in my chest or belly; and sometimes kick me too. And after all that he would leave me on the floor or in the bed crying and go on his merry way partying like nothing happened.

Sometimes I would not see him until the next morning; and when he came home the first thing that he would do is to pull me in the bed and demand sex.

I tolerated that for too many years before I left him, and I vowed after the last beating that I would never go out with another man who smoked, drank and was a “saga boy”.

And no matter how I was tempted I put up a wall against any fellows I met at dances from then on, since I figured all men who liked that sort of scene were the same.

I eventually left the dance scene and started going to church where I figured I would meet a good, decent, Christian man. But the man I met in the church was no different – he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

At first he was so nice that I thanked the Lord for answering my prayers in sending him for me. He was much older than I was and had no children, so when we started dating I told him if we got married I would be able to give him a child and treat him really well.

I was ready to do that because I really liked him. He seemed like a true gentleman.

He didn’t curse or go dancing; and he didn’t drink or smoke. He was friendly with everyone and loved children, especially the boys. He was a dedicated teacher, organising activities for the children and giving them lessons.

Anyway, after we were married four or five years I noticed that though he was still really nice to me, we never used to have sex too regularly, and he was still very much caught up with his boys’ group.

I figured that as he was nearly 50 years old and now had his own child that he would ease off his activities and spend more time at home.

When I complained about his time away from home he ignored me, but I kept talking about it nevertheless. As usual, he would say nothing but just leave.

Sometimes what upset me most was when he made plans to supervise a number of activities and I only heard about the plans when they were announced in church.

One afternoon after we got home from church and were having lunch, I told him how I felt neglected since so much of his time was taken up with other people. As usual, he tried to leave to avoid the discussion but I forced him to stay seated.

I told him I didn’t want him to run away when I was talking with him, but before I could finish he cuffed me so hard in my face that I got an instant headache and fell.

In an instant he appeared very heartless as even though I was on the ground and crying in pain, he still tried to side-step me to leave. I grabbed at his foot but he pulled away and kicked me in my stomach.

Those blows ended our marriage. After that he and I lived in that house for a few more years but had no contact. We only spoke about our daughter and the money to pay bills. Otherwise, there was nothing between us.

My point here is that all types of men beat women. They do it because this is the only way for them to feel in control. (NA)