BETTER DIVORCED THAN DEAD!

Many women in our part of the world place high value on their marriages than their lives and psychological well-being, due to the stigmatisation that comes with being a female divorcee.

Society most of the time questions women who are quick to leave their marriages because of infidelity on the part of the husbands, forgetting that emotional and psychological trauma also had the tendency of causing diseases and mental health issues.

Most marriage counselors, especially the ones with the clergy, always warn against divorce with some basing their argument on biblical principles or the presence of children in the marriage. The question is how best an emotionally traumatized can and unhealthy wife take care of her wards?

Many women suffer and endure Gender-Based Violence (GBV) simply because they are women.

It is always better to think about your life and sanity first before settling for a man who subjects you to treatments capable of killing you.

Women must learn to be bold enough to leave abusive marriages or relationships in order to live.

Stop using your children as an excuse to continue to stay with abusive husbands because choosing to stay with an abusive spouse only exposes your children to psychological issues and aside that you are also setting a bad example to your daughters, as they will also grow up thinking that staying in an abusive marriage is normal.

Let us save the future generation by changing the narrative.

GBV is unacceptable; women must be bold enough not to just divorce abusive husbands but also report them to authorities for the necessary actions to be taken against them.

Do not let abusive husbands go unpunished for their actions. Divorce them and ensure they are put behind bars.

Meanwhile, imprisoning abusive husbands is what many financially unstable women do not want to think about because, in the event where the couple have children and the husband is the sole bread winner of the family, putting behind bars would mean no food for the children.

This is just the case of men who despite their abusive nature, still provide for their wards because there are many others who do not even provide for their family.

Such men physically and emotionally abuse their wives and refuse to provide for the family.

According to the statistics available at the Accra Regional Office of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU), as of August 2020, 31.9 per cent of Ghanaian women have faced at least one form of domestic violence either physically, economically, psychologically, socially or sexually.

There have also been many instances where women in Ghana get murdered by their significant others.

On March11 this year, the police in the Akatsi North District of the Volta Region arrested one Philip Caesar for allegedly killing his girlfriend, Elizabeth Yesutor, after physically assaulting her.

Some friends of Elizabeth after her death confirmed that she always complained of her boyfriend abusing her physically, but remained in the relationship.

A 25-year old woman, Harriet Kafui Ahiati, was reportedly killed by her boyfriend in the Volta Region of Ghana in March same year.

Also, a 40-year-old man, Maxwell Boadi, on October 20, this year, killed his pregnant wife on suspicion of infidelity.

He was alleged to have stabbed his 31 year old wife, Priscilla Owusu, in the neck before fleeing their room at Nyankyerenease, a suburb of Kumasi,

These are just a few examples of how the lives of women enduring violence in their relationships and marriages ended tragically.

Sherifatu Ibrahim, shared her bitter experience in marriage with the Ghanaian Times in Accra last weekend, saying she mustered courage to leave her matrimonial home after realising her life was threatened.

“He brought his concubine into our home and kept her for days just to spite me but I never said anything thinking things might change with time. I continued to stay with my abusive husband, with whom I have a son because my mother was hesitating to grant me the permission to leave my marriage, until one fateful day, after a misunderstanding, this man hit me with a wood.

I lost consciousness and found myself in the hospital with a huge plaster on my head. That was when I said enough was enough. I packed out of my matrimonial home to save my life and protect my son. I now live alone and manage to fend for myself and my child with what I earn from my small business. I have never felt better in a very long while,” she added.

Sherifa advised other women going through all kinds of abuses in the name of marriage to think about their sanity and lives first because endurance is not the solution to any form of abuse.

Recounting the early weeks after separating from her abusive husband, she stated that her now ex-husband pleaded for a reconciliation but she declined, saying “My life is more important to me than living in a plush house with a monster.” 

Research has revealed that one in three women around the world experience physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives.

This is a heartrending situation that needed to change as a matter of urgency.

To prevent GBV from escalating, everybody needs to get involved.

More awareness must be created especially in rural Ghana about the laws that protect the rights of women and also about the possibility of living better as a divorcee.

Mothers and religious leaders must also be advised against encouraging their daughters to remain in abusive marriages with the hope that “things will get better’ and the belief that ‘God hates divorce.”

Stop using God and religion as an excuse to endure abuse in marriages because our creator himself said in the book of Hosea chapter 4:1 that “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge….”

All forms of violence against women must stop now but it can only be possible if those who find themselves in abusive relationships muster the courage to know their self-worth by courageously leaving their abusive husbands with their shoulders held high.

Combating violence against women is possible; we only need more empowerment as women and a change of mind.

BY RAISSA SAMBOU

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