Domestic Violence: It’s literally next door…

February 28, 2013 § 7 Comments

Next Door (26:04:12)

Next Door (26:04:12) (Photo credit: Ismar Badzic)

I was getting Nathaniel ready for school when I overheard our neighbors fighting. One of the children was being beaten and I heard every punch, kick, and scream. It was horrible to witness the sounds. I yelled for them to stop but to no avail.

They were over our 10 foot tall wall fence and I tried to climb a chair but couldn’t reach a height to see and stop them. I even heard one of the parents present who also did nothing to stop it. Unfortunately, Nathaniel had to hear some of it as well and kept talking about the baby crying.

I wish I could say this is rare but being beaten is a common problem in Zambia. Culturally, it’s seen as an appropriate form of punishment if someone doesn’t like an opinion, action, or refusal of another party. Women and children are the unfortunate ones to receive most of the beatings. Although there have been multiple campaigns from government and NGOs against domestic violence, it’s difficult to change an entire culture of violence against the weak, including sexual abuse of minors and the disabled, rape, and multiple forms of violent punishment. There are also few repercussions for the guilty parties. The police do not come for a domestic violence incident. Even neighbors such as myself are in a difficult place to stop the violence. There is an idea that the parents are the one to decide what is and is not an appropriate punishment for their children.

Later in the day, I visited the family to greet them and see if I could find out what happened. I was able to offer some assistance and at least understand more of what was going on in the family, even if I couldn’t change most of the circumstances.

Things need to change in Zambia. Churches need to teach men how to lead their families as servants, not as kings. Women need to be taught about what is and is not OK in a relationship and have safe places to go. Children and the disabled should be protected by churches, relatives, neighbors, and the government with punishments for the abusers.

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§ 7 Responses to Domestic Violence: It’s literally next door…

  • Jan says:

    Wow. I had no idea. Thanks for sharing this. We will pray.

  • Sorry Laura that you had to experience that. No matter where you live, abuse toward the weak is horrible. Your efforts, ‘even if I couldn’t change most of the circumstances’ will make a difference. We will cover those seeds in prayer (as we cover you and your family).
    Susan and family

  • Holly martin says:

    Things like this break my heart. I will pray for your neighbors that they will have a heart change. Domestic violence is such a big problem n it’s tough to feel so powerless in stopping it.
    I pray your tender words greatly impact the neighbors you spoke to.

  • […] Domestic Violence: It’s literally next door… (lauramenenberg.wordpress.com) […]

  • Christy says:

    Blessings to you for not being silent, but reaching out.

  • Toadfish says:

    The oppression of the weak appears everywhere, from the macro level of international politics to the micro level of interpersonal relationships. It is good that you reached out to that family, and also told others about it here. May good things come to the victims of violence everywhere.

  • lmenen says:

    Thanks for the support everyone. It’s hard to witness these things but I appreciate your kind words and prayers for the family.

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