As we enter into an awareness month against women and children abuse I would like to write an open letter dedicated to those suffering from this social ill
When news broke about the death of 22-year-old Karabo Mokoena earlier this year it wounded me and many South Africans. Then there were headlines about women being raped and murdered. This sparked so much tension and a trend on social media #menaretrash that roused many emotions from men and eventually making them engage about this problem. Abuse hurts mainly because it affects everyone, whether we choose to ignore it or not. It hit home and like many people, I vowed that I wouldn’t allow love to be a painful part of my life. My cousin was only 26 years-old when she passed away because of her abusive fiance a couple of years ago. She really was such a beautiful and caring person who would have made any good guy happy. No one at home took it lightly but if the abused person doesn’t want to leave a relationship, what can one do. It really is a painful memory I chose to bury. The hurtful part is the fact that she left behind two young boys who I wonder how they are being raised by their father.
Fast forward to 2014, I was involved with someone who was emotionally abusive. Logic said I should leave the relationship, but the heart is something else. For months I was depressed and desperate to make my ex-love me. But everything kept spiraling downwards. The pain of being in love with a broken person leaves scars beyond healing. After deciding to leave that toxic relationship I realised that it’s not your job to make people feel a certain way about you, and neither is it your responsibility to ‘fix’ them. You are only accountable for your life and the choices you make.
When we go deeper into the phenomenon of abuse and the toxic people we may come across, we are taught that people and circumstances around us a mere mirror of how we subconsciously feel about ourselves and what we think we deserve. I am not a pscychological nor a spiritual expert but, from experience, I have learned that it takes a level of self-esteem and self-love to identify and stand for what you feel you deserve. No one in this world has power over you unless you give it to them. No one can make you feel a certain way or worthless unless you allow them to. Life is all about the choices we make. And hard as it may be to let go of someone you love dearly and have invested a number of years to, your happiness should come first. Abusive people can leave you dry, miserable, scarred, disabled, empty and worse can make you lose your life.
It’s time to take control of your life and reclaim your rightful divine power that God gave you when He blessed you with your life. Turn on the news and you will see how short life is. You only live once and you can’t afford to waste it with people and things that don’t add value and happiness to your life. If you are made to believe that your life has no meaning without someone else, believe me, it’s all a lie. Think about it, life happened before you met the people who currently drain out your happiness, how will it end if you choose to let them go? Some people are afraid to see your light shine and will do everything in their power to try to dim it. Only you have power over your life with the choices you make. Remember that hurt people hurt other people. Staying in an abusive relationship not only hurts you but the people who love and care about you. And what you are doing is teaching this young generation that love is meant to be painful, hurtful and abusive. I heard a wise man say that to see how a man truly feels about himself, look at how he treats women. Looking back, I really couldn’t agree more. How you feel about yourself shows in how you treat others. If only you knew your worth you wouldn’t allow someone else to dictate it to you.
This month, and beyond I really urge you to break this cycle of violence by leaving that abusive relationship and if need be by speaking up. There are organisations such as POWA that are actively fighting this social ill. Love is a lot of things, but one thing that it’s not is abusive. Take back your worth and don’t allow anyone else to take it away from you, ever again.
Have you been involved in an abusive relationship? How did you leave it?