A recent case of domestic violence involving former Massachusetts State Representative Carlos Henriquez brought focus on an issue that in many respects does not get addressed enough in the Afrikan/Black community and in society in general. It is almost like a “taboo” subject that is treated like “forbidden fruit” not to be discussed, but in actuality needs to be talked about and dealt with in a very serious manner.
I often thought about what went through the minds of any man (?) that felt it appropriate to release his rage by physically attacking a woman as a justifiable act as a response to what was probably, in all reality, a minor disagreement. It could only be described
as a sickness and to this point a cure has not been found. Of course there is the matter of “family justice,” wherein male members of the female victim would take matters into their own hands and return the physicality to the perpetrator. That applies to the time old
adage that “what comes around, goes around.” I myself do not advocate violence, but have no problem with that type of a response.
It is important to note that a community remedy must be developed as the solution. It starts with the family and making it very clear that physical abuse of any type will not be tolerated and particularly against our women. Unfortunately, too many of our young people and in particular our young males, are raised in an environment where this type of violence is observed to often and seen as acceptable behavior, which it is not!! The physical abuse of a woman is not hereditary, but a learned act of violence. A child, male or female, should be taught from a young age that violence of any type, whether domestic or otherwise is wrong and a “no, no!!” I am a product of that mindset as my
Mother, educated me and my younger brother that “you never hit a woman” and that instructive has remained with me to the very day. In fact, I talk to young men on a regular basis and make it very clear that talking out an alternative to physical violence against women.
There are those who bring up the subject of female domestic violence against men. No violence is acceptable, but the facts show that the huge percentage of gender based violence is male on female. Can you name any “houses” developed for men trying to escape from an abusive situation of domestic violence involving their wife or girlfriend? I don’t think so! Clearly the primary targets of domestic violence are women.
It is long overdue and time to bring the subject of domestic violence out of the domain of secrecy and begin a community dialogue that would in fact present and activate concrete solutions to a very serious matter. We should educate our young, provide mental health services for those who are the “batterers” as well as those who are the recipients of this violent act who are the women that seemingly cannot find their way out of the tenuous situation they find themselves in.
Let me close by stating that it is crucial that we come together as a family/community in the spirit of Umoja (unity) and send out a strong message that this type of violent activity known as “domestic violence” will not be tolerated and violates our standards of appropriate behavior.