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Domestic Abuse: Why you must not judge those who choose to stay

by Abigail AnabaSeptember 15, 2014

Why did the chicken cross the road?

This website here lists over a dozen reasons why the chicken crossed the road. In fact, when you are done reading some of the reasons, you will be more confused than the poor chicken trying to make across the road in the first place.  The kindergarten teacher says the chicken just wanted to get to the other side. According to Plato, the chicken crossed the road for the greater good. But guess what! Aristotle has his own ideas. He says it is the nature of chickens to cross roads. While Karl Marx posits that it was a historical inevitability. Let us not even bother with Machiavelli, who says, “The point is that the chicken crossed the road. Who cares why? The end of crossing the road justifies whatever motive there was”.

We really cannot get just one correct answer to the question: Why did the chicken cross the road? The reasoning is dependent on the person asked and his personal experience, or not, with chickens. A poultry farmer may be able to write a 100 page report on why the chicken crossed the road focusing on the features and lifestyle of the chicken while an executive in a PR firm may be more interested in giving us the benefits of the chicken crossing the street. It is a question of perspectives.  As is all issues that involve an individual making decisions.

So why would a woman who has been hit by her husband choose to remain in that marriage?  Is she really that dumb that she does not realize that there is a pattern to abuse, that a man who has hit her once will hit her again and again and may even kill her? Why will she not let friends and people who love her rescue her from the monster?

You may be one of those who, each time you hear a story of domestic violence, cringe because you just cannot understand why two people who are in a relationship would hit themselves. This goes against everything that love stands for. And to think that one of the parties is the aggressor, yet the other chooses to remain with them? How can anyone claim to be in love with someone who is hurting them. You can see it, how can they be so blinded?

Well, do you remember why we do not have a single answer to the question “why did the chicken cross the street?” Perspectives.

For many who have spent years building a relationship, walking away may not be as easy as just moving out. Yes, building a relationship is a lot of work- two individuals with different personalities and perhaps backgrounds deciding to come together and become one. There are bound to be sacrifices to be made. Perhaps the woman has left her job to become a stay at home mum which pays far less. Perhaps she has moved away from friends and family to a new town. Perhaps she now has a kid or two who she must factor into the decision making process. Perhaps she is the one who actually has a paying job and the survival of the entire family depends on her. Perhaps he has some other qualities she is unsure she can find in someone else. Perhaps she believes that if she tries this one more thing he will change.

Think of this as someone who is building a business. Would he abandon ship at the first signs of trouble or would he attempt to salvage it? At what point would he admit defeat and agree it is all over? You may respond that it is after they have done everything they possibly can and it is clear to them that the business has failed: You may have been telling them all week that 2+7=9 but they are trying to convince you that 2( 20-14)-3=9.

Remember, 1+8, 2+7, 3+6, 4+5, 1+1+7, 2+11-4 all equal 9. Where 9 can be equated with that point of happiness most of us seek. Someday, I believe we will come to the understanding that we cannot judge people by our own realities. That 100 out of 120 people believe that a particular way of doing things is better, does not necessarily make it better. In matters of personal choice, each person should be allowed to make their own decisions, their own mistakes, own them, learn from them if they were wrong decisions and then move on.

Yes, you love them and you want the best for them but as long as they are of a sound mind, the decision of staying or leaving a bad marriage is theirs. Don’t forget that there are people who have stayed and together with their spouses have been able to work to rebuild their marriage. Others have chosen to leave. Some who leave have gone ahead to live happier more fulfilling lives with other people. Others have not been able to move on even after they left. Is it not best if you let them make their own decisions?

Like the embattled wife of Ray Rice puts it: “THIS IS OUR LIFE”.

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Abigail Anaba
Thinker. Teacher. Writer.
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