Empower your children to walk away from abuse

Thursday March 18 2021
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Christine Nakalungi

By Christine Nakalungi

It is every parent’s desire to raise a child who will be able to independently make wise decisions. A child should grow up knowing that they are not worthless. It is, therefore, okay to teach your children to walk away from pain and anything or anybody that causes it. This is not a cowardly action but it will save them from sadness, depression and at worst, suicide, or just exposing them to hardships, abuse which in the end might rob them of their mental, emotional, and physically cost them their lives.

I have heard stories of how our ancestors endured abuse by their in-laws but stayed quiet because that was the right thing to do. Nowadays, women too have a voice. They too can go out and work hard to ensure that if they ever face a situation where they have to choose between an abusive relationship or freedom, they have the ability to walk away.

Walking away sometimes is not an act of weakness but bravery.

Sanyu left her abusive marriage a year ago while her relatives cautioned her, “in this family, we do not divorce. When you got married you became his property and you no longer have a bed here.” Sanyu had hoped that after what she had gone through, she would find rest at her parents’ home but no. She was sent back to an abusive man who almost killed her.

When she told a friend, the friend reminded her that she should put her life first before anyone else. She luckily got her a job upcountry and she moved there as she reorganised herself for a comeback. She cut off communication from her family because when she needed them the most, they had instead abandoned her.

A few months later, her mother started looking for her and out of pity and respect, her friend told Sanyu’s mother where she was. Her mother regretted ever forcing her child back into an abusive marriage. She visited without Sanyu’s father.  “My days in this world are numbered but I want you to keep making decisions that will protect you and your interests. I am sorry I did not protect you when you needed me. Be a better parent to your children,” she said.

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If you raise your child well, you should be able and willing to believe in their power to make wise decisions. But if through their lives all you did was call them names that weaken their esteem, “you are stupid” “you are worthless like your mother”, “who will even marry you with such an attitude” these are statements that you might forget but will forever replay in your child’s memory so when they get someone who marries them, they feel like they cannot leave no matter what.

A child is your legacy on earth. A child who is loved at home will easily identify true and fake love. A child who grows up hearing positive things about themselves will eventually believe their worth and no one will make them feel any less.

To the women who have stood their ground for the things you believe in, defended your children tirelessly and ensured that the world’s next generation is valuable to keep the legacy going. Thank you. The world owes you respect.

Happy women’s month to you all.



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