• September 30th, 2020

Enduring impact of domestic violence on children

SWAKOPMUND - Namibia will once again join the rest of the world in observing the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence annual campaign, which started last week Monday.

The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!’ It is a well-known fact that violence, especially against women, can cause long-term physical and mental health problems. Survivors often face ongoing and challenging effects after enduring physical and mental abuse.
New Era managed to interview a single mother who, over the years, struggled with the harsh reality of
informing her daughter that her dad had committed a crime and was in prison.

“My 10-year-old daughter recently had one request from me: to please allow her father to attend her birthday party, because I always say he cannot come. She apparently knows it is me who does
not want him to come and see her,” the mother said. “This simple request made me sad
as a mother. It took me a few seconds to absorb the harsh reality that I am trying to shield a convicted killer for the past seven years, and that I am painting myself as the bad guy while trying to do a noble thing – to keep the truth from my daughter at least until she understands and can deal with it.”

The reality is that her daughter’s father has been incarcerated since she was four years old and is serving a life sentence for taking someone’s life. “She is still just a child, and social workers and physiologists suggested she is not emotionally ready to deal with such kind of news. Hence, I have been telling her that her father is in a place that is difficult for him to leave right now. Deep down, I know she yearns for
a father and, sadly, my own father is also not in the picture to step in.

Her father in cold blood murdered his girlfriend, who happens to be a mother and sister – just like me and
many other women – without thinking of the ripple effect of his callous actions.”

His appalling action did not only rob a family a loved one or took a mother from her young children, but it
also denied his own children the love, guidance and support of a father, both emotionally and financially.
“Yes, one would argue justice was served, and he and many others incarcerated for the same crime paid their dues. Those who had the decency during sentencing could have uttered a few words of regret to the families, and that is it! That was punishment for them and now they are being rehabilitated away from
the judgemental eyes of society, leaving us to pick up the pieces and deal with our children of whom some witnessed their own mothers being killed by their fathers, stepfathers and boyfriends,” she added.

“How do we erase those images for them? How do we make things better for them?
How do you tell a child that the world is not that cruel despite cruelty, abuse and violence
being the only thing they have witnessed or have been exposed to? How does one deal with these innocent children on a daily basis without worrying about them – how they might turn out in 15 years. Who has to shape them if the mother is deceased, father incarnated, grandparents too old to take up the role, and aunties to busy putting food on the table by working three jobs?” She added children are
silently hurting, and those currently looking after them are not in a position to emotionally fill the void left by their deceased parents and they do not know to care for them.

“Some probably never even received counselling from churches to help them through such crimes. Not all of us are in a fortunate position to help our children, and even before helping them, you as a mother
or guardian has to seek professional help in order to deal with the trauma before helping your child.”

Eveline de Klerk
2019-12-04 07:25:41 | 9 months ago

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