CARE LOGOS MUST GO
Violence against women is out of control. It seems impossible to tune into the news without hearing of another woman brutally murdered at the hands of her estranged lover.
The comments all hit home for me.
Those close to the accused are often shocked. Many tell stories of charm, work ethic, great work colleague relationships etc, etc, etc.
On the flip side, strangers all comment on how brutal his punishment should be. They spew hate in response to hate. They speak of another human without any respect for life. They justify their words based on the actions of the man.
If you have followed my journey with my dad, you may be left confused. One minute I seem to speak of his dysfunction while very quickly mourning his death and enjoying memories of him.
That's because my father was very similar to many of the monsters we all see on the news. In fact, up to a year ago, he was on the news. Never named or shown, so our pride remained intact, but he was accused of arson; a crime he denied but one that those closest to him have little reason to doubt. I don't doubt it, because it wasn't a new thing for him. The accusation took me back to a time when our living room went up in flames and my mother was very sure that it was him. It was a threat he often hung over her head.
While I have countless memories of a dedicated father and charming work colleague to many, his three wives will have less charming stories to tell.
In fact, I am often met with hostility from his work colleagues when I write about his darker side, because it's something they simply cannot imagine, and, of course, it is easier to believe that I make this stuff up for the sake of ratings, than it is to face the fact that the man they've known for decades had a real problem that needed to be addressed.
My passion has always been for single moms and particularly, moms attempting to overcome abuse. But God allowed me time with my dad at a time when all his pride was swept away, and it allowed me to switch (or rather share) focus to the men, who themselves are victims.
Jess always showed interest in dad's past, more than anyone ever did before. The stories all seemed to add up. His fear of rejection came from his own childhood. Childhood pain that went unaddressed.
We did what so much of society does. We left. We focused on my mother. We helped heal her and get her on her feet.
What that meant for us as children, was a broken home and a broken dad. It also meant, he continued the cycle elsewhere and left a trail of destruction everywhere his heart went.
The week after his death, I decided I need to start focusing on men. We need to heal our men. We need to stop labelling them as monsters and dig deeper. We can no longer turn our backs on them and focus solely on empowering our women.
When we empower our women but ignore our men we create more and more broken homes. Our aim must be a holistic healing of the home.
I do not have the solution, well not the details of it at least. How do we get men to commit to healing? Do we work on them while in schools? Can we use the ACE score to help identify those with greater probabilities of committing abuse and take a proactive approach? How can we get our religious organisations involved? I have so many questions, while so many turn to me for the answers.
All I know is this, I wish with all my heart that something was put in place 50 years ago to help my daddy heal. I wish something was put in place even 20 years ago, maybe he wouldn't have left us. All I know is, we failed him, and we fail every other man that we call “monster”.
We failed them when we didn't allow them the space to express their hurt—Every time we tell them "men don't cry"; Every time we quit our marriages too quickly; Every time we set a poor example of manhood and womanhood; Every time we express anger inappropriately in front of them. We fail them. Then we turn our backs on them as if we made no contribution to the product we now hate.
Hurt parents, in turn, hurt children and hurt men will hurt women. Let's join our hearts to end the hurt—the women of the next generation deserve it.