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My husband is abusive

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I am a 26 year-old- lady and I got married in 2013. My husband moved from our matrimonial house to go and stay with his parents.

He is always shouting at me in the presence of other people. He doesn’t allow me to raise my complaints in the house, He is always reporting me to the in-laws and is now busy selling our things.

First it was the furniture, then the goats and recently he sold the car but never informed me or shared the money from the sales with me.

The worst thing is that last week when I visited him I found the house empty; he moved without telling me. I don’t know where he is staying; when I asked him he told me lies that he is staying at one of his company’s houses but when I called his manager he said my husband is not staying there.

He is so abusive both physically and emotionally.

After these abuses he’ll demand sex and I fail to do it because of disturbed emotion. He goes around telling people that I don’t want to give him sex.

He is also having affairs with neighbourhood women; I have lost my dignity because of him.

Please help; I don’t know what to do. I tried to complain to the in-laws they never take any action, I tried my aunt but she referred me to my in-laws, Now I don’t know who to turn to.

GASE SAYS:

At the moment, nothing seems to be going right in your marriage.

It is very unusual that a man will desert his matrimonial home to go and stay with his parents; clearly, there’s a serious problem here that needs urgent attention.

I find it surprising that his parents would allow a married man to abandon his family and move back home.

Why do you think they never take any action when you complain to them about your husband’s bad behaviour? Obviously, there’s a reason why they choose to ignore your plea for help and prefer to look the other way when their son acts inappropriately; if you don’t already know, you need to find out.

Why is your husband behaving so badly and subjecting you to so much abuse? After only two years of marriage you two should still be in your “honeymoon phase” and very much in love with one another. It’s shocking how your marriage has deteriorated so quickly!

The best way to address husband-wife issues and solve problems is through honest and open communication between the couple; in your case, however, it appears communication will be rather difficult, as you’ve already stated that your husband doesn’t allow you to raise your complaints.

You have no idea where he’s staying currently and it seems he wants to keep it that way, because he lied to you about it…only for you to find out from his manager that he was lying.

Why is he suddenly so secretive about where he stays? For all you know, he could be shacking up with one of his mistresses.

Don’t worry about him going about telling people that you’re denying him sex; he’s only trying to justify his extra marital affairs so that people would not blame him or judge him harshly for abandoning his wife and running around with other women.

He thinks he’s clever and can justify his indiscretions; but for the mere fact that he sees nothing wrong with airing his dirty laundry in public, he is in fact just a loud-mouthed idiot

As you have sought help from your aunt and from your in-laws to no avail, it’s time to explore other avenues. Firstly, seek counseling to help you deal with what you describe as “disturbed emotions”, which is a result of the abuse that your husband has inflicted upon you.

Kagisano Women’s Shelter would be a good place to start as they are an organization that has the expertise to deal with cases of gender based violence and other forms of abuse that women (and some men) are often subjected to.

They will also provide guidance regarding the issue of your husband deserting his matrimonial home and selling the family property without consulting you.

You can also visit the DC’s office and they too would be in a position to guide you as to what steps you should take regarding the matter. Bogosi is yet another institution you can approach for help.

Preventing and Responding to Gender-based Violence
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a human rights violation, a public health challenge, and a barrier to civic, social, political, and economic participation.

It undermines not only the safety, dignity, overall health status, and human rights of the millions of individuals who experience it, but also the public health, economic stability, and security of nations.

Gender-based violence cuts across ethnicity, race, class, religion, education level, and international borders. An estimated one in three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime.

Although statistics on the prevalence of violence vary, the scale is tremendous, the scope is vast, and the consequences for individuals, families, communities, and countries are devastating.

It is vital to promote the rights of all individuals and reduce gender-based violence while mitigating its harmful effects on individuals and communities. Unless women, girls, men, and boys fully enjoy their human rights and are free from violence, progress toward development will fall short.
  Source: USAID

Focusing on Prevention to Stop the Violence
Violence against women and girls is rooted in gender-based discrimination and social norms and gender stereotypes that perpetuate such violence. Given the devastating effect violence has on women, efforts have mainly focused on responses and services for survivors.

However, the best way to end violence against women and girls is to prevent it from happening in the first place by addressing its root and structural causes.

Prevention should start early in life, by educating and working with young boys and girls promoting respectful relationships and gender equality. Working with youth is a “best bet” for faster, sustained progress on preventing and eradicating gender-based violence.

While public policies and interventions often overlook this stage of life, it is a critical time when values and norms around gender equality are forged.

Prevention entails supporting the implementation of the agreed conclusions of the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) that placed a strong focus on prevention through the promotion of gender equality, women’s empowerment and their enjoyment of human rights.

It also means making the home and public spaces safer for women and girls, ensuring women’s economic autonomy and security, and increasing women’s participation and decision-making powers—in the home and relationships, as well as in public life and politics.

Working with men and boys helps accelerate progress in preventing and ending violence against women and girls.

They can begin to challenge the deeply rooted inequalities and social norms that perpetuate men’s control and power over women and reinforce tolerance for violence against women and girls.

Awareness-raising and community mobilization, including through media and social media, is another important component of an effective prevention strategy.

 Source: UNWOMEN