By: Jaime W. Mejía (Translated by Jessica Schwartzman)
There is a topic that keeps popping up in our Neighbourly Conversations dialogue circle, and it’s one that bothers us about our society as a human being, and even more so as a man. 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 don’t exist, because 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 human being and her children.
Similarly, there is a young man with the same goals and aspirations to achieve a future of well-being 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 their grandkids or 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 sharing 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 begin to die, the flowers wilt, the loving calls fade away, dates stop happening, and sharing becomes 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, whom, before an altar, we swore to care for and love 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 mistreatment, the fairytale becomes a nightmare, and the threats, insults, blows, and violations 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 reach the bottom of it. Your kids’ gaze makes you realize there is no room for any more blows, and from deep within 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.
Find the 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 and looking into each other’s eyes is a good system for internally fighting things out. This way, there are no lies nor difficulty 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.