We can have 'heaven on Earth' Marriages'
I am a survivor of spousal abuse: Lots of women in Ghana and the world at large face several challenges. One of the common ones is spousal abuse. I am a survivor of spousal abuse and I know several women in my home country Ghana are still victims. The sad thing is that most of them do not even know that they are being abuse. This is because most women are only aware of the physical form of abuse, but not the emotional, verbal or sexual abuse such as in my case. I was not physically abuse, but just picture yourself as a wife in a home who has no say whatsoever. Not even concerning your own kids and when you are no longer able to keep silence and you voice out your opinion concerning anything, you are told ‘shut up’, ‘who asked for your opinion’, ‘how does that concern you’, ‘what do you even know’. The most frustrating thing is that decisions are taken on your behalf and you suffer the consequences if those decisions are wrong. In this kind of relationship, whatever you do or say is wrong. You are simply treated like a “second class of human beings”. You simply don’t deserve respect and love.
Some effects are:If no intervention for a long time, the victim gets very frustrated and confused in life, not knowing right from wrong, fear sets inn, self doubt, inadequate behavior, and low self esteem among others. The question is, can a woman who is suffering these effects ever be able to take care of herself, home, kids or even attempt to achieve anything in life?
109 784 Cases of domestic violence
The 2005 Ghana Country Report reveals that, Ghana is amongst the countries that records high levels of gender based violence including physical, psychological, economic and sexual abuse. Records available to the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit of the Ghana police service indicated that, between the period of 1999 to May 2010, 109 784 cases of domestic violence were reported of which a greater portion was perpetuated against women.
Changing mindsets like ‘men are superior’ and ‘marriage is the highest achievement in life’
I hail from the Northern part of Ghana where my work is based. So I am familiar with the traditions and culture of the people which teaches that men are superior to women and women must obey their husbands no matter what. It is also a place where polygamy is practiced so the situation is even worse on victims. They see this idea of ending spousal abuse as teaching their wives and future wives to be disrespectful. What the men do not know and which we are educating them on is that in treating their wives with love and respect, the wives will intern be submissive and respectful to them. The obstacles to overcome as mentioned earlier are the wrong mindset of society about marriage and how a woman should be treated in a relationship. Then the mindset of women about marriage. Most women think that marriage is the highest achievement in life and so they must be married at a certain age and stay married at all cost so they will be “respected” in society.
Solution – We can have ‘heaven on earth’ marriages which Bendoweh Foundation founded by me has started doing by educating the youth or singles on this all important issue so they are able to identify and avoid marrying abusers thereby breaking the cycle of abuse. It is also a place where abuse women are set free mentally and some of them trained to help other victims in their communities. Abused victims who need financial assistance are helped to go into Shea butter processing or are linked to financial institutions.
I would end with this Bible verse which leads us into the very heart of marriage Ephesians 5: 28-30. The Church is the body of Christ. Does Christ love his body? The Lord loves his body. He nourishes and cherishes it .So should the husband nourish and cherish his wife as he loves his own body. He should cherish her body as Christ cherishes His body, the church.
I encourage all husbands to create ‘heaven on earth marriages’
So husbands, challenge your selves with the word of God which is the blue print of marriage to make our marriages ‘heaven on earth’ as intended by God and stop following traditions and culture which only leads to destruction as we have in most marriages today.
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