By: Jaime W. Mejía (Translated by Jessica Schwartzman)
There is a topic that keeps popping up in our Neighborly Conversations dialogue circle. One that afflicts our society, us as human beings and even more so those of us that are male. This problem is violence against women.
The data is quite troubling. The INEC (Ecuador’s National Institute of Statistics and Census) reports that 6.5 out of every 10 women experience violence at some point in their lives — a very chilling statistic. (https://www.ecuadorencifras.gob.ec/violencia-de-genero/)
This begs the question of why the majority of this violence comes from men? Why is it almost always the guy who flies off the handle?
These questions persist and, try as we might to find the correct responses, they simply aren’t there. Violence should never exist inside the home.
A Love Story
Like in fairy tales: a young woman, like any other, with dreams, hopes, and goals to reach, aspires to a professional career, and a future full of harmony and well-being. And why shouldn’t this happen? She can build a happy life alongside a good partner and her children.
Similarly, there is a young man with the same goals and aspirations to achieve a future of wellbeing and joy in his life. And why can’t this be achieved, either? With kids in a stable home and in old age leaving a legacy for grandchildren and later generations.
One day this young woman, Maria, crosses paths with this young man, Juan. A romance blossoms, and thus begins a path of roses, butterflies in their stomachs, flowers, calls, invitations, trips, and shared activities to the point of NOT WANTING TO BE SEPARATED EVER!!
As the story progresses, this infatuation becomes a deeper courtship over time. The need to be with each other is irresistible and leads them to dream of building a life together. THEY ARE TOGETHER FOREVER!!!
The Magic of Marriage
But once they’re married, coexistence removes the blindfolds and shows the responsibilities that a permanent union entails, such as forming a home, looking after the basic needs of those involved, watching over everyone’s health, caring for each other, and taking care of the family finances.
Everything that was single becomes plural: BOTH, ALL.
We don’t know when the butterflies in the stomach began to diminish, the flower to wilt, the loving calls to fade away, “date nights” stopped happening and sharing became unbearable.
Worse, the discontent envelops both people, and there are frequent arguments. Extenuating circumstances like alcohol, anger, frustration, difficulty, and resentment, make an impact, too.
Suddenly, someone screams and a hand lands with fury on a loved one’s face. A face which, at the altar, we swore to care for and to love with all our heart and soul.
And it’s not just the woman in this story who is harmed. The children always pay the price, because they know the violence is bad, harmful, and cruel.
Yet, out of embarrassment, no one talks about it and it remains hidden for days, weeks, or sometimes for years.
A hopeless scream
With the first abuse the fairytale becomes a nightmare, and the threats, insults, blows and attacks become frequent.
Sorrow is a habitual companion, and guilt takes hold of our minds, as happiness, sensuality, and escape routes disappear.
Time marks its passage, descending the ladder into the deep until there is no more oxygen. You are buried alive and consider everything that happens as “normal.”
Already deep in the abyss, you see a single ray of light and you reach for it. Your kids’ gazes make you realize that there is no room for any more blows. From deep inside you comes a last breath with the roar of a wounded lioness crying out ‘NO MORE’!!
It’s despicable to see someone mistreat a baby animal. It’s unforgivable to see or listen to someone hurt someone else, let alone someone to whom they swore mutual eternal love.
Finding an Exit
It makes me angry to know that someone, out of jealousy, insecurity, or a lack of control, mistreats their significant other, spouse, parent, or kid. It’s time to react to this. A good divorce is better than a bad marriage
Fights are always avoided so as not to hurt or cause injury, so why is communication at home so difficult between partners?
Healthy dialogue while looking into each other’s eyes is a good method for reaching deep within oneself honestly. This way there are no lies or difficulties in accepting the agreements, decisions and, of course, the consequences of our actions.
Those heart-to-heart talks allow the couple to make decisions that are good for each one of them while also supporting the wellbeing of ALL INVOLVED.
What need is there for aggression, offense, humiliation, hard feelings,and discord, when, in the past, there were always shows of affection, caring, devotion, and spontaneous interest in each other?
Why the offense today? Why reach the point of screams and blows when only yesterday we filled our lives with caresses, tenderness, and LOVE.