DOMESTIC ABUSE

Mum was harsh, ever wondered why?

We might look back and laugh at how crazy our mothers acted, but it was a symptom of something bigger.

In Summary
  • When you talk to many people you will find that our childhoods were almost the same. An overzealous mother. One who did not need rest; who beat us like snakes at the slightest provocation.
  • I always thought these women were crazy with their advice. But sadly, they were abused women.

I am not a feminist. I am a humanist. Women are human. I find myself telling men this, especially those who call me feminist and claim I’m inciting women. Inciting them to do what? To live better? To be happy? To want more? To tell their stories? Would it be so bad if women were given chances, treated with dignity?

I just tell our stories, many of them my own stories. I am sorry that talking about our realities, my reality, makes you uncomfortable. I just want to warn you that it will get worse in 2020. So suck your thumb or get a blankie and comfort yourself.

When I gave birth to my firstborn, some 18 years ago, an aunt who came to visit me in the hospital said something that makes sense to me now. She said while we were happy for the safe delivery of the baby, we cannot help but feel sad. Sad because we know the world we are bringing this innocent girl into.

Of course, at that time I did not know what that old woman was jabbering on about.

As I have grown older, that statement has made more sense. When you are a young girl, you look at your parents (if you are fortunate to have them living under one roof) and think they are the best thing ever. Your feel your father is the strongest and cleverest man in the world and your mother is a beauty queen and the best cook in the world. ( Funny how we never saw them as anything else. When they were so much more.)

And now here we are, we have inherited some or a lot of that trauma. Both men and women. The difference is women have nuggets of advice that we are determined to use, we are not ending up like our mothers. So when you say women these days are not like our mothers, you are right.

Now that I am older, as I look back at my mother and many of the women then, I see their sadness. I see how hopeless they felt. It is like my eyes see different women when I look at old photographs of women in afros and short cute dresses smiling and holding fat babies. A good woman stayed married. It was a woman’s work to keep the marriage.

Please do not get me wrong, our fathers were not necessarily bad people, they were just not good husbands. But who even taught them to be husbands?

When you talk to many people you will find that our childhoods were almost the same. An overzealous mother. One who did not need rest; who beat us like snakes at the slightest provocation. Even laughing at nothing would earn you a hard slap across the mouth. (Ok I for one needed the beating as a child, but sometimes I wondered if I was a stepchild!)

She always cleaned. Scrubbing and scouring. She attended every church service. She prayed all the time like she had to keep reminding God about something. She almost rarely sat down, alone. Always had to be around someone, we said she loved people.

Then as she grew older, she softened and always had nuggets of wisdom. Usually so unexpected. My mother on her dying bed said to me, “buy the dress and do not feel guilty. No matter how much it costs.” I always thought she was so selfless.

The men, on the other hand, have no wisdom nuggets. Just an image of their long-suffering mother, a fist or money or a knife to prove he is indeed a man like his father. Domestic abuse is on the increase.

Another woman said, direct translation from my mother tongue, ‘a man isn’t your relative!’ My mother’s famous one that she got from her mother, ‘have your own money somewhere even if it is fifty shillings!’ My Dani told her this as she took her to open her first bank account.

Another famous advice was, “Talk, tell anyone, even a dog, what you are going through or you will die!”

I always thought these women were crazy with their advice. But sadly, they were abused women. Domestic violence in all forms. Emotional, physical, economical. We might look back and laugh at how crazy our mothers acted, but it was a symptom of something bigger.

And now here we are, we have inherited some or a lot of that trauma. Both men and women. The difference is women have nuggets of advice that we are determined to use, we are not ending up like our mothers. So when you say women these days are not like our mothers, you are right.

The men, on the other hand, have no wisdom nuggets. Just an image of their long-suffering mother, a fist or money or a knife to prove he is indeed a man like his father. Domestic abuse is on the rise.

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