WINDHOEK - New Era recently sat with a married couple who were romantically involved for ten years before tying the knot in 2013.
On condition of anonymity, the husband and wife gave insight on their troubled relationship.
Even before getting married, *Fiina admitted that her husband, *Martin used to clobber her and when they got married, he beat her even more.
“I thought things would get better when we got married,” she replied to a question on why she married him knowing he was abusive.
Things got so bad that recently, Martin beat her in front of their children, leaving a scar on her right eye. This led to the family intervening and referred them to seek for professional help.
“My adult daughter who is from a previous relationship moved out of the house saying she cannot continue to watch him beat me like that,” said Fiina. Asked on why he beat his wife, Martin related that it is just out of anger.
“It’s not that I want to beat her, it just happens fast,” Martin said softly as he rubbed his head with his hands. He said his wife does not want to stop abusing alcohol, despite him having asked her to quit the bottle.
“Even if I drink Martin, I don’t beat you. I don’t even shout at you. You don’t drink but you beat me. You behave like an alcoholic when you don’t even drink,” said Fiina.
The 38-year old mother of five believes the abuse stems from the fact that the husband does not like to talk about his concerns.
“He does not talk, he just beats and he is always suspecting me of having extra-marital affairs but never once did he see me in bed with another man,” said the woman.
She related of a time when they traveled to the north where he accused his brother of having an affair with his wife.
“He chased the brother with a machete accusing him of having an affair with me. He is always suspecting me of affairs,” said Fiina. The man told New Era that he has had other affairs while with Fiina.
“I even used to date students but when we got married, I was faithful to her only even when she travels to the north I don’t pursue other women,” said the 43-year old Martin, who spoke softly.
He further said he was uncomfortable sharing with counselors and outsiders about the challenges in their marriage. “I only beat her when I’m angry…I don’t have a problem. I don’t have anger problems,” he said. He however contradicted himself saying, “If there is a place where we can get help we can go for counseling”.
“We have sought help on a few occasions and we were just told “meme don’t drink anymore, tate don’t beat your wife anymore,” said the woman who spoke for most part of the discussion.
New Era reported in August that law enforcement agencies recorded 611 cases of domestic violence during the past three months with females being the majority of complainants.
In the 312 domestic incidents, victims refused to lay charges against their abusive partners for fear of losing their relationships once their partners were arrested or jailed.
Females comprise the majority of 211 victims who refused to open criminal cases against their abusive lovers, New Era reported in August.
Speaking to New Era, the Women’s Action for Development (WAD) Executive Director, Salatiel Shinedima who is counseling the couple said domestic violence in Namibia is worrisome.
Victims of domestic violence sometimes do not report their abuse because they fear the perpetrator, explained Shinedima. “This is dangerous because the victim’s life is endangered.” Silence is the breeding ground for abuse, explained the WAD Executive Director.
“Victims should report abuse, especially physical abuse so that both victim and perpetrator can be assisted.”
Shinedima further said in most instances, perpetrators of domestic violence are men who do not see anything wrong with their actions.
“He does not see anything wrong due to societal beliefs that a woman needs a hiding. There are people who believe that a woman should be beaten once in a while,” added Shinedima.
The WAD Executive Director says, “seeing nothing wrong is a problem because you do not understand the importance of the next person’s rights. Expanding that people should not take violence, specifically physical abuse lightly.
“Physical abuse is the worse form of abuse which becomes a habit until it leads to killing. It should not be tolerated, it should be reported the first time it happens. Victims should not suffer in silence.” He further stated that people no longer look out for their neighbours’ wellbeing.
“Nobody has the right to abuse anybody. If you are going through abuse, especially physical abuse seek help because this is getting out of hand,” stated Shinedima.
In a recent interview with New Era, former Secretary General of the Council of Churches, Reverend Maria Kapere who is a pastor of the African Methodist (AME) Church said, “There is complacency in leadership in addressing gender-based violence at all levels. The prophetic role of the church (Christianity) is to address the wrong in a nation. This includes corruption, gender-based violence (GBV), rape and all forms of societal evils.”
She is of the view to address GBV, men and women of the cloth should not only do this through sermons, rather through practical means such as practical programmes targeted at addressing such problems.
“Normally, a pastor just prays for the member. That is not enough. A person who has had a traumatic experience needs proper attention and there is need for a referral system whereby the church and social workers work together. When people know there is a caring environment, we will really eradicate violence in all its forms,” said Kapere.
If once in a month, churches could have themes focused on addressing GBV, there would be a reduction in cases of GBV, Kapere believes.
With a vigorous advocacy programme which also includes radio programmes aimed at tackling violence of all sorts, Kapere believes the church would be able to make an impact. Church leaders can also work with community leaders and regional councillors to advocate against GBV, highlighted the clergywoman.
*Identities concealed to protect couple.
2018-09-21 08:17:09 9 months ago