Abuse has no boundaries. It happens across the lines of class, gender and age – although it is mostly women and children who fall victim to it.
This is highlighted by the South African television soapie, Generations. We see Khethiwe, a rural girl from KwaZulu-Natal, being abused by her educated boyfriend
Dumisani, who has an enviable position as an executive in a successful advertising agency.
Dumisani is a very hot-tempered man and is violent towards his girlfriend. Khethiwe, on the other hand, is shy, loving and protective of her abusive partner.
The couple has been in a roller coaster affair that has resulted in Khethiwe being beaten up more than once.
Reluctant to seek help
Typical of an abused woman, she is deaf to people’s advice, reluctant to seek help and determined to change him.
She behaves like a lapdog ready to please, defend and even lie for her abusive boyfriend.
Many women are battered behind closed doors and are maimed or even killed by their partners.
Abusive men seem to think that there is a hidden meaning behind every woman’s actions and words. They always assume that women are trying to influence them.
In many cases where a man is the sole breadwinner, women don’t speak up against the abuse they face at home because they are scared of losing their daily bread.
Ways to spot an abusive man
• He has a history of drinking or substance abuse and is violent.
• He has a record of being arrested for domestic abuse.
• He has a poor or no relationship with his mother.
• He talks at length, bragging about himself.
• He always lies. There are certain areas of his life that he does not speak about, or lies about, because he is afraid of losing his partner.
Where to get help
Women who are in an abusive relationship can seek help by calling People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) on (011) 642 4345.
Numsa News No 2 2010