WALVIS BAY - “My father was very abusive. One day he beat my mother so bad that I thought she would die. I ran to a nearby house for help, but the uncle I found told me to go back home as everything would be fine.”
A brave high school learner at Walvis Bay shared this harrowing tale of domestic violence, during the launch of “Survivors Speak Up” campaign that seeks to address gender based violence in the Erongo Region.
Men and even young boys rarely open up about acts of domestic abuse and usually bottle up such experiences. However, Lazarus Lazarus (20), plucked up the courage to share his personal experience of domestic violence that he witnessed first-hand witness at home, a place he should have felt safe and protected.
Lazarus said he witnessed the abuse while he was 11. He is now 20 and in Grade 12. However, he still believes that the abuse continued behind closed doors. He is so traumatised and scared that he will turn out to be like his father.
“I have anger and resentment bottled up inside me. It scares me so much. I have recently ended a relationship because I am scared that I would take out the anger I have for my father against girls,” an emotional Lazarus said.
He says he is angry at society too, saying it turned a blind eye to domestic violence despite it happening right under its noses. “By being mere bystanders, society makes monsters of young boys who are exposed to violence at a young age as most of us are either raised by single mothers or in abusive households. The only role model we are exposed to in many instances are the abusers of our mothers,” he recounted.
Lazarus also says that many young boys are not taught how to deal with their emotions and are raised with the impression that men don’t cry or show emotions.
“Abused women and girls always takes center stage when it comes to initiatives that assist them when experiencing abuse. Men are also getting attention now but the boy child often takes the backstage unless he is not the perpetrator or sexually abused,’’ further narrated the brave youth.
Hence, he suggests that a lot more male teachers be trained as guidance teachers at schools, so that it makes it easier for them to open up.
“I don’t want to be an abuser but what I have experienced has left me with so much frustration and anger and I don’t know how to deal with it. I also know I am not alone and that there are a lot of boys that feel the same way. We should get help before domestic violence makes us monsters,” he cautioned.
*not their real names