DEAR AUNTIE ABENA,
I’m 23 years old, a technical university student and mother of a 2 year old. There are 5 of us aside my parents, two are my biological brothers and 2 are cousins my mother has been taking of since childhood (one of them is my dad’s niece). I’m married, we got married 2 months ago but I’m still living in my parents’ house because I’m scared if I leave, my mother will die from domestic abuse.
Auntie Abena, do you know I used to think it was normal for a man to beat a woman? I grew up with it, my dad, my uncles don’t take shit from their wives and discuss it openly. In school the boys used to beat up the girls and when caught, both the boy and girl were punished for disturbing. That didn’t stop girls from being beaten up.
My dad beats up or let’s say fights with my mother over anything. Any topic, movement, behavior, issue just about anything. My brothers also learned from this behavior and beatings deɛ I’ve received my fair share. It’s from SHS that I learned that it’s wrong for men to beat women. I’ll go home and tell them but you’ll watch Ghanaian movies and men are beating women so it didn’t change anything but slowly through positive words I helped my brothers to understand (though they still do it but maybe a slap).
It’s my father who hasn’t changed. He’s 71 and mum is 68 and he’s still hitting her. I’m scared to leave because my brothers are married and gone and I’m the only one who can stop my father, if not he’ll keep on beating my mom. The other issue is that my husband has seen him hitting my mother and I’m scared he’ll become abusive because he has a bit of temper.
Ever since we had a traditional marriage I’ve been delaying moving into his place because of this. The abuse is enough but my dad doesn’t see it that way and mom makes it worse by sometimes out of anger telling my dad to hit her if he’s a man. I’ve had enough.
PS: my mother is the one who keeps telling me not to disgrace dad by not reporting him. She says I want to destroy her marriage. I’m scared. What do I do?