It seems like these days newspapers and my newsfeed are full of two topics: corruption and gender based violence.
We just completed a 5 week series on corruption so today I want us to discuss gender based violence (GBV). If you missed the series on corruption, you can go to the Mmegi online and search Ashley Thaba and find those articles.
I have been praying and asking God to help me understand GBV so I could write this article as an encouragement to those who are contributing to the horrendous statistics.
Here is my humble assessment. GBV occurs when a person is afraid someone they love will leave them or not be faithful to them. A desire to dominate and threaten them to stay gives them a sense of security that they can control and force the person to stay with them.
Ultimately, they deeply desire to be loved, but they fear if their loved one is given the choice, the person will choose not to love them. Manipulation tactics abound as the insecure partner tries everything in their power to ensure loyalty and love.
The sad reality is forcing or abusing someone into love never leads to true and fulfilling love. True love is a choice. Here is another sad reality. The person who is so insecure to feel the need to commit acts of GBV desperately needs to be loved because they don’t even love themselves.
How can I make that bold assumption?? Someone who loves themself doesn’t draw self-worth from the approval or presence of others. Let me present a scenario of a healthy reaction from a person who is secure.
Let’s say Sally cheated on Joe. Sure! If Sally leaves or no longer likes Joe, it will hurt him! Naturally, he will try and convince her with his words to stay with him. But, Joe knows he is valuable and her decision to not be in Joe’s life doesn’t take away from his intrinsic significance.
Therefore, hurting Sally is not his go to reaction. Rather, after feeling the sadness of the disappointment, he realises that it is her loss. Out of a deep love for Sally, he realises he ultimately wants her to be happy and as devastating as that may be that Sally is not happy with him, his love leads him to say he wants the best for her.
Also, he realises if he wants to be happy, he wants to be with someone who freely wants to be with him. Forcing her to stay through violent tactics isn’t going to make Sally love him; it will just make her scared of him. Joe realises he deserves better than that. Tears and possibly some hurtful words might ensue but ultimately they go their separate ways amicably and maturely.
This scenario takes a horrific turn for the worst if Joe NEEDS Sally in his life to feel love and to be happy. If the thought of Sally being in the arms of another man throws him into a jealous rage where he wants to hurt her because HE IS HURTING- then this is a sign of insecurity. This is a sign of weakness – despite the strength he might use to abuse her.
I believe if we look at the root problem, insecurity, we can actually find a viable cure. Do they fear that people will think they are insignificant, a failure, unlovable, inferior, etc.? Do they fear being alone? Have they been rejected so many times that they can’t take it another time? WHY ARE THEY SO THREATENED AT THE THOUGHT OF LOSING THAT PERSON? Avoiding this self-reflection means they will never be free from the awful effects of their jealously violent outbursts AND IT ALSO means they will never experience the true love they desperately crave.
There is hope! To the one who feels insignificant, there is a God who says I knew you in your mother’s womb; I know the hairs on your head and a word on your tongue before you speak it. I LOVE YOU! To the one who feels inferior, he says you can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens you!
You are victorious by the power of MY SPIRIT! To the one who has been rejected, God says I sent my son to be REJECTED – to bear YOUR sin and YOUR SHAME so you DO NOT HAVE TO! While you were still a sinner, I LOVED YOU. Turn from your angry self. Repent and ask me to come in and change you from within. Invite my Spirit of LOVE and SELF CONTROL and GENTLENESS to FILL YOU UP! Believe me when I say you are not unlovable.
You are so loved that NOTHING can separate you from my love – not death, not principalities, not powers, not angels… NOTHING!! I promise you no eye has seen nor mind has seen what I have in store for those who love me. Internalize these words! Think about these words over and over and over until you BELIEVE them.
Because once you love yourself, then you can begin to love others. And once your identity is SECURE in God, a source that will NEVER LEAVE YOU, then even if others go, you KNOW YOU ARE VALUABLE and YOU ARE LOVED.
To the person who instinctively feels the need to resort to violence and abuse, God can change you. By his regenerative Spirit, the OLD you can GO and a new you can COME! Examine your heart.
Figure out why you are so scared and mad when you can’t control the person’s feelings. Ask God to heal you from within. Ultimately, learn you will NEVER be able to control their feelings, but YOU CAN, by the GRACE and POWER of God experience self-control of your own feelings and emotions.
Ashley Thaba is a popular motivational speaker and life coach. She is the author of the well-known books, Dive In and Conquering the Giants. She also facilitates corporate team building and wellness activities. You can view some of her work on her YouTube channel: Ashley Thaba.