In these difficult times when we are under lockdown because of this pandemic, we all are vulnerable to stress and a lot of domestic violence. Most people have just resumed work but some are still at home and they have difficulties getting basic needs. Due to these factors and the failure to accept a sudden change in lifestyle, most people will be having a lot of stress and not everyone knows how to deal with this stress such that some may resolve to violence and end up assaulting spouses, children, and even employees due to frustration. So, as the youths of Zimbabwe and the LEOS of Marist Nyanga and Kriste Mambo, we have taken the initiative of educating people on the issue of domestic violence through the use of online posters which will be distributed through various online platforms. We are focusing on the four main questions;
What domestic violence is, what the signs of domestic violence are, how to deal with it and also on who can help you when you face this problem.
We aim to help people understand the problem that is troubling a lot of households by sharing some important facts about the problem and we hope to make an impact on the lives of many and also instill confidence in people so that they make the correct decisions.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence entails any act that can be done by anyone on another person which may cause emotional, physical or psychological pain to the affected party. Domestic violence is intrigued by boredom, stress, and idleness and that is why we have heard about a lot of cases since people are confined in their homes without anything to do. Domestic violence normally prevails at the household level although it can as well extend to the surrounding community if not properly handled and managed. It is important to note that although domestic violence is in most cases linked to fights and arguments between and amongst people, this can as well extend to emotional attacks by other people. One can be violated by the words that are said by another party. This of course has an impact on one’s emotions and in serious cases, one may lose his or her inbuilt confidence and a result fails to address issues that affect them in society. Thus, we can confidently conclude that domestic violence is an umbrella term that covers all forms of abuse that most of us are being subjected to especially during this lockdown period.
What are the signs of domestic violence?
Domestic violence generally leads to drastic changes in the behavior of individuals soon after they have been victimized. Fortunately, we are able to see this but it only takes a vigilant eye to discern these behavior changes. Firstly, when one has been a victim of domestic violence, it is very probable that he or she loses confidence in himself or herself. This can be seen when the victim tries to isolate himself or herself from the rest of the people whom they normally associate and interact with. Generally, we have those people in the community who are always cheerful and nice to spend time with. When such an individual has been subjected to domestic violence, he or she changes and starts to isolate from other people.
They may also try to justify their actions by putting the blame on schoolwork, work, and other activities. However, we can still see that there is something wrong since in the past they managed these commitments very well in spite of being cheerful. When there’s such an individual in the community, seek help, you might be having a victim of domestic violence yet you are staring at them blindly!!! Apart from isolation by the victim from other individuals, we can see that one has been victimized through bruises and wounds on their bodies. This is a very common sign and it is very much easier for one to discern that a person has been victimized. This can only be seen if one was physically brutalized by the offender.
However, this sign has been less common as people have been able to conceal the bruises as they fear confrontation by the outside world. Moreso, one may want to conceal his or her pain through being over-confident than they were before the incident. This is normally dominant to those who were reserved and shy before the act. However, this sign is rare although it may take place. It is also vitally crucial that in our quest to discern one’s problems in relation to domestic violence, we do not confuse it with one’s self-esteem!
How to deal with domestic violence and whom to talk to?
From a personal level, one can deal with domestic violence by being calm and seek help from other people within our society who are able to provide sound advice on the issue. It is important that we note that if a person has been a victim of domestic violence, it does not strip him or her of their dignity and respect within society.
We as a society have to be there for these individuals since that is the time they need us the most in society. Therefore, myths and misconceptions that domestic violence cases are not reported to the police because of relations and ties of blood or marriage should be discarded forthwith from our daily lives. Whenever you have been a victim of domestic violence, you need to report immediately to the nearest police station so that justice takes its course. For emotional support one may need to get help from counselors who can be consulted in various institutions such as Population Services International, Plan International, and Adult Rape Clinic.
It is all up to us within the society that we ensure the safety of everyone. We have to ensure that the world is a nice place to dwell in for everyone who stays in it. It starts with you!!! Tell a friend to tell a friend.
Together we can fight the battle against domestic violence in our societies!!!
By Marist Nyanga & Kriste Mambo Leos