Over the weekend, Kenyans literary chased Congolese singer, Koffi Olomide out of this country after a video of the musician kicking one of his dancers surfaced online. They used the hashtag #deportKoffiOlomide. The singer was set to perform at a concert at the Bomas of Kenya this past Saturday. Now hell hath no fury like a woman and a Kenyan scorned. All social media platforms became awash with outcries that Koffi be arrested by the police and be deported back to his country. This took a while but he was deported in the end and his concert cancelled. There were several voices that saw things from a different point of view but the fact that Koffi was accused of assaulting a woman just made it impossible for him to drink water and sit down while in Kenya.
But why was it impossible for Koffi Olomide to simply apologise and go on with his life like we do for all the mistakes we make in our lives?
The answer is simple: domestic violence evokes emotions and opens that Pandora’s Box like the one in Greek mythology except that unlike the original box that had gifts; this one was filled with gender issues.
Here is why violence cannot be condoned and why the act continues to evoke very strong emotions.
- Gender violence is hardly ever a one off thing
There are mistakes that we make and stand a chance of them never happening again after a rebuke. They include keeping people waiting, lying that you are stuck in traffic when you are in fact, just waking up and so on. But the nature of physical and emotional abuse means that it is something that involves a complex process and it is perhaps the nature of the perpetrator to do so for their own benefit. In other words, perpetrators of domestic violence often do it for their own sake—be it self-esteem issues or misguided cultures—which makes the victim an unfortunate receiver of vicious violence that lacks an end in sight.
Sandra Horley a domestic violence service provider working in the UK writes that her experience working in the area of abuse reflects the fact that domestic violence perpetrators hardly ever strike once and this makes it important for the vice to be dealt with unrelentingly and with utmost depth when they show up to serve as a cushion to the victim in question as well as a caution to the other would be perpetrators/ the undiscovered perpetrators.
2. The weaker victim is likely to take in the suffering for lack of choice.
You must have heard how analysts came up to say that the smile on Pamela’s face (the dancer assaulted by Koffi Olomide) as she said that Koffi did not beat her was fake. The argument was that, given the power that Koffi had over the dancer, there was no way she would accept that she had been assaulted and maybe lose her only means of livelihood. This scenario is replicated in many other relationships where for example the woman is not economically stable, she might have to endure violence for lack of choice. This (having no choice) however does not stop the violence from being illegal. In Kenya, domestic violence is illegal under the law and if at all for no other reason, we cannot condone domestic violence because it goes against the laws of this country.
3. Society has made the survivors to sometimes misconstrue violence.
How many times have you heard a survivor be told to change in certain ways in order to ‘improve the relationship’? Abuse Hurts a site run by University of Michigan notes that, there has been a myth that domestic violence is caused by a bad relationships and this misleads the survivors into thinking that they are the problem and that the relationship could get better is they ‘behaved better’. This leads to the survivors downplaying the gravity of the hurt that they have been made to endure by the perpetrators. And fail to seek out help.
Domestic violence has a face that is hidden and this is why it is important that people come together and help to crush it because more often than not, survivors are too afraid to speak up. Or perhaps because of all the clouding around them, they fail to realise the gravity of the offence that is being meted out on them.
4. Abuse thrives on the victim’s brain erosion.
Research shows that, victims of domestic violence suffer all forms of violence including emotional and sexual violence. With the emotional violence, self-esteem gets eroded to the point that this abuser seems like the only hope that these victims have in their ‘miserable’ lives and they have no choice than staying put. This happens because the effects of domestic violence are no doubt far-reaching and it is worse if children are involved. Then remember that if you are going through domestic violence then your state of mind is grossly affected and many spheres of your life go down with it.
Violence against women sets a bad precedence and that is why by all means, it should not be condoned.
Tomorrow we will be hosting a twitter chat between 1 pm – 4 pm discussing violence against women and why we need to take a stand against it. The hashtag is #BlacknBlue. Join the conversation.