Mmegi Blogs :: 16 days: Are you secretly abusive?
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Wednesday 14 November 2018, 18:34 pm.
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16 days: Are you secretly abusive?

The world is abuzz with messages against the abuse of women and children. Each year at this time, the world commemorates the 16 days.
By Dumi Mmualefe Mon 08 Dec 2014, 16:08 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: 16 days: Are you secretly abusive?








” It is always important to remember that the right to dignified treatment is a perennial right; it must not be compartmentalised and placed on some calendar at times. While the “16 days” are important, it is most important to remember, every day, that we are our women and children. Our women and children define who and what we are as a people.

The book of Genesis, the first chapter, records the genesis of humanity according to the Priestly writers or redactors. Let us draw our attention to the 26th verse where Elohim calls out to what may be called the Divine Council; “let us create humankind in our own image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion…” Whatever it is worth, we have been created not in one image but in a somewhat corporate and communal image, not of one divine being but of several. This seems to suggest that from the genesis of life, diversity was intended.

We were created- women and men; boys and girls, and this was not a mistake, it was purposed by the Creator from the very beginning. As such, we need to always take our “imageness” seriously. Not one but several were created in that corporate communal image. We can never claim to possess or reflect the image of God alone. We can only reflect this image as community. When we abuse others, we deface the very image we claim to be created in.

Our lives as people, as Batswana who often, sometimes for convenience- especially when we want to use religion to oppress those who are not like us, we claim we are a Christian country. We need to remember the same every time we hear about abuse on women and children. How many times do we remember that we are a Christian country when injustice is meted on other people? Being Christian is remembering our very createdness in the communal image of the Creator.

The problem of abuse is a problem of power and this needs to be engaged head-on. It is, interestingly, the weak who are abusive. The psychology of the weak is to try to subdue those they fear to cover up their points of weakness. It takes a weak man to rape or abuse another person. One who abuses when wronged reflects their impotence when it comes to resolving issues in a civil way. One opts for violence as a way of covering up their weakness. Hot-hearted people need help!

Maybe we need shelters not more for abused women and children but for abusive people. Obviously there must be legislations in place to force the abusers to be quarantined in shelters. Shelters for the abused play a critical role. The problem is they rob the survivors of other freedoms, especially of movement. One who is confined to a shelter cannot move freely nor relate freely. While the aggressor

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moves freely and continues to beat themselves on the chest in self-praise; those who should be free are ‘incarcerated’! How unfair can life be!

The Creator gave humanity dominion; that is power. This power is godly only when shared equally. The power given by the creator comes with blessings because God blessed this powered humanity of girls and boys, men and women!  When any of these are abused, we lose our blessedness. Could it be true that some of the things that happen to us as a nation, things that we blame on “the youth of today”, things that we blame on those falling outside the heteronormative procreative sexual ideological bracket are happening because of the abuse of God-given power and the defacing of Elohim’s communal divine image in us as community?

Each week we learn of some atrocious abuses in this country; of fathers raping their girl children, grandsons raping their own grandmothers! How worse can it get? God have mercy on us! When we hear these things nowadays, we get worked up, not in anger against them but we rush to the social media to share the “great news”, we even hope to see pictures or even videos of abuse as it happens; simply put, we enjoy all of it.

Some of us do not buy newspapers unless they have something juicy! In fact, a front page story on a newspaper of abuse or sadistic murder of a child or woman guarantees that the paper flies off the shelves in no time. This seems to suggest that we are a very abusive nation, we do not only condone abuse but we embrace it. When we show love for stories about abuse, especially when we are attracted to graphic abuse stories, we should see that as a great opportunity for reality check!

Love for graphic abuse stories reveals a darker side we are not prepared to admit we have, a side of us we hope never to comes out. This is the abusive side of us. In these stories we see ourselves, there is some sense of fulfilment in us when we read these stories, a sense of satisfaction that will shock us if we are to come to terms with the very reality of what we get when we read such stories.

I find it very difficult to read stories of abuse. The problem again is that these stories need to be told and be read and heard. My problem I think is they are often told from the aggressors’ point of view and hardly ever that of the victim. I guess I wish to see more empathy and compassion for the victim instead of triumphalism of the perpetrators. May we ever be mindful of our humanity, our createdness in the communal image of Elohim and stop the abuse. Kyrie eleison! To God be the glory ever!

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