You have probably seen it, heard of it or experienced even abuse. In fact the 2003 demographic health survey found out that half of Kenyan women have experienced either physical, sexual or psychological relationships by the time they are 15 years of age. Many Kenyan women tolerate abusive relationships. Their men do indescribable things to them, they cry for help, people rush to help, but at the end of the day they stay. They just won’t leave.
Personally I have experienced it. Growing up I witnessed my aunties go back and forth in abusive relationships. There was always drama at family gatherings. People would get drunk and confront their mates. Next thing you know someone is getting a beat down at the parking lot.
The family would rush in, separate the two, calm them down and send them on their merry way. ‘Ni hali ya maisha’ they would say. It was the same story at every time. There was always abuse and rumors of psychological and emotional torture.
While it was an entertaining when I was little, it was alarming when I grew up. I wondered why they stayed with abusive men. Why anyone who said they loved you would put their hands on you? I just didn’t get it. Well, I heard of numerous Hullabaloo of why women stay with abusive men. Some are valid, I must admit, but I still don’t get it.
While researching on this topic online, I came across some information that might just explain this phenomenon. There’s a lot of material about this online, so hold your horses, it is not just me talking here. Here is what I found;
This term was coined to explain Patty Hearst’s involvement with her revolutionary militant captors in 1974. Patty was reported to have developed sympathy for her captors and became an accomplice in the bank robbery
Her defense lawyer Bailey later to coin the word ‘Stockholm syndrome’ to explain her mental state during the incident. She had apparently developed positive and powerful feelings towards her captors. Seeing that they were her only means of survival, forgetting they had put her in the situation in the first place.
Well, this explains a lot. A lot of women will go a long way to defend their abusive mates. They depend on their ‘captors’ for some kind of support, financial, emotional or psychological. Try to intervene and you will be marked for destruction.
Until the victim snaps out of this, there is no helping them, writes- Psychologist Dr. Joseph M. Carver. The only thing family members can do is to assure them of support, always.
The twinkie defense
‘It is not his fault, he had a bad upbringing.’
Yes, Chris brown famously pulled that one during the Rihanna saga. Well, most abusers blame others other than themselves for unbecoming behaviors’.
‘Some will blame video games, their parents and even food’ quotes Dr. Joseph Carver in his article- Love and the Stockholm syndrome. Their victims, in some twisted way, make excuses for them too.
Most women see the abusers behavior as their fault, in some way they provoked him to doing what he did. They want to stay and fix him.
Some women are naturally violent
It’s true. Women brought up in violent homes; tend to thrive in violent situations. They would fight with anyone including their spouses to have their way. In their mind, a confrontation has to have a physical ending. In most cases they start the fights.
Then there is consensual abuse. Like the 50 shades of grey movie, some women find abuse before and during sex erotic. Being spanked and whipped is a turn on for them. In some African cultures, women felt their men loved them more when they beat them up. Sad, I know.
When all is said and done, a relationship is between two people. Whether, we condone toxic relationships or not, at the end of the day it is up to the two parties involved. The most we can do is understand them, hope and pray that they will snap out of it before it is too late.