On August 26th 2015 by the time I reached home I was ready for a nap because it was a long day at the training centre followed by the long walk back home but I saw my neighbor was taking all their furniture out. I thought the young couple was moving out. Upon inquiry I found out that only the wife was moving out. It sent a chill down my spine because just there months ago I saw them happily moving in together.
She reported that she was assaulted many times, she was almost crying when she said, “Yesterday, he nearly killed me. I cried for help, didn’t you hear me?” She showed her bruised body.
We sincere apologised for being such a bad neighbour. We assumed that as a newly wed couple they would still be making love, literally. We misunderstood those late night screams and banging on the wall.
My wife and I uncomfortably helped the wife load her stuff on the pickup along with the three individuals who were related to the young woman.
And without a second thought we prepared refreshments for them.
As I was serving them refreshment I couldn’t help saying this to the wife, “We are sorry for not being there to celebrate your marriage but at least we are happy to be here helping you when you chose your freedom out of the abusive relationship.” My wife signaled at me to shut up but I went on, “Why didn’t you report to the police?”
I just wanted the man to hear it. He was actually a good looking man who had a meek smile perpetually fixed on his lips, quite a contrast to his violent nature.
I didn’t know who was right or who was wrong, I didn’t even ask why they fought at all. The fact that the man assaulted the woman broke my heart. Who the hell will protect her if the very man on her bed is assaulting her? I could never understand how one could abuse the very person one has chosen out of everybody on earth.
But I was thoroughly awed by the young woman’s courage to walk out of the abusive relationship right away. I have known many women who hung onto their marriages hoping their men would change, but the truth is if you don’t walk out on the first slap you are just waiting for the next hundred slaps.
It’s normal to fight in relationships but violence should never be tolerated.
Life is too short to wait for an abusive husband to change and it’s too personal to worry about public opinions.
Disclaimer: This post is based on an incident and therefore the focus is on the husband being abusive but it can be the other way round too, though not discussed here.
By Passang Tshering
The writer is a teacher at the Royal Academy project in Paro.