Dear Women in tumultuous relationships,

I have been meaning to write for some time now but it being a depressing topic, each time I attempt it, emotions skyrocket.

I have however gathered some courage today to connect. I want to add my voice to the many pieces of advice. If a relationship stinks, please speak up and leave before the scent overwhelms you.

It has been a terrible past year for women in particular while coping with the health challenges of the crippling pandemic. One is told that spousal abuse has tripled, in this Covid-19 period. 

Globally, spousal abuse is said to have jumped from 25 percent to 300 per cent as abusive spouses found themselves confined to the house with some losing jobs and or pay cuts due to the lockdown.

They chose to vent their frustrations on the family instead. Here at home, in the past few months alone, three women have reportedly been murdered by their partners.

Abuses

My writing to you therefore is a show of solidarity as you go through all forms of abuses at the hands of someone you love. Yes, in your heart you have that deep genuine love and so as you harbour the abuses, you continue to pray that things will change.

Unfortunately, while some women did not survive the violence, many more have been psychologically and emotionally traumatised because they did not speak up or walk out to save their sanity.

Let me share with you what a dear friend and Lawyer sister of mine told me years ago when we happened to be discussing this old age problem of spousal abuse. I never will forget my friend’s words of wisdom that has stuck with me to this day – “there is only a thin line between sanity and insanity”.

Our parents and grandparents remained in abusive relationships and may have survived it but their circumstances were not the same as today. Due to polygamy, the abusive partners did not stay confined to just one woman. The abused had all the social circumstances around them and could use such to diffuse some of the tension. 

Fears and worries

As I write, I am imagining your fears and worries, stuck in that house alone with the abuser and the children. He may even have used the abusive tactic of isolation and cut you off from the rest of the world, including extended family and close friends. 

Over the last month, we have had psychologists discussing the problem of spousal abuse and its effect on abusers. The shocking facts about abusive relationships are startling.

Physically, you are bruised and broken. Emotionally, you are weak and weary. You sigh; you sob and secretly wipe needless tears. The consistent insults and humiliation have made you feel like a nonentity, hopeless and useless. You look in the mirror and you feel sorry for yourself ?

Dear one, do not sit in that kind of relationship and feel sorry for yourself. You are a gem in your own right.  You are a beautiful creation, wonderfully and fearfully made. You have no idea how many are admiring you secretly, if only you could open your eyes to smell the roses around.

I have seen beautiful lives destroyed in abusive relationships. Some have been in and out of psychiatric hospitals to repair their brokenness. Some were lucky, others were not.

Certainly, you do not want to end up amassing all kinds of medical conditions for yourself. Do you remember the local saying that if you have not died, you do not know what good things may be awaiting you. And also the song which says in part that if you have life you have everything? Gather up courage, speak out and leave.

Statistics

Let me share some stark statistics with you. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that 38 percent of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner. In America, one in three women will experience one form of domestic abuse by a partner in a lifetime.

Still in America and according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a woman is battered every nine seconds with two to four million women abused each year.

In Ghana, three in ten women suffer some form of abuse by a partner. Thirty-three to 37 per cent of women in Ghana have experienced intimate partner violence in the course of the relationship.

Surely, you do not want to be added to the statistics.  You may be confused whether to stay or leave the relationship because your abuser comes back with all the sweet talks and niceties after the hurt and you are thinking things will change.

It is time to be selfish, think about your happiness, your safety, your health and well-being. Just speak out and leave. Remember, there is only a thin line between sanity and insanity. 

Stay well and keep safe.