I think I have milked my last entry as much as possible. You may be wondering why I have not written much in the last couple of weeks. I am not sure. Days merge into nights into days into nights. It’s hard to leave work behind when I live with the women that I work with. There is no beginning or end to it. I have made feeble attempts at writing, but none of them have made it to the web.
I am sure you have been following the news. I have too. Heath Ledger dies of an overdose. Britney will die of an overdose soon unless she gives up the ice. Sarkozy marries a super-model. Ahhh, the news!
Here are some headlines from our clinic…
“No one is spared”
A woman was walking home at midnight after work. She did the right thing; she walked home with her husband and a colleague of hers. But that did not spare her. They were held-up by seven armed men. They apprehended the husband, and took the two women into the bush. She begged the men not to kill her because she has four children to take care of. They told her not to worry; they’d do with her as they pleased and then they would let her go. They did. They let her go.
A child sees her mother at the market. He runs towards her. But his father stops him. He proceeds to beat the mother. He prohibits her from seeing the child now that he has taken a “second” wife.
“Living in fear”
A woman is gagged and threatened with a bush-knife as a man rapes her.
A nine-year-old girl is raped by her uncle.
A five-year-old girl is fingered by a stranger.
A blind woman is beaten up by four policemen. The nurse introduces me to her seven-year-old daughter that acts as her eyes. I am briefly grateful for her blindness…I hide my tears behind it.
“Where did your love go?”
There are countless cases of neglect…men that abandon their wives and children and leave them destitute. A woman comes to the clinic asking for help for neglect by her husband. As I wait for the translator to get the story from her, I stare at the abdomen of her child…a balloon tucked under his shirt. I walk over to him, and feel his tummy. He has splenomegaly. I ask the mother if she has taken the child to see the pediatricians. She says her husband does not give her money for it. I ask them to come back the next day, so I can help them out. They did not show up.
That speaks for itself. I see countless women in a day that are beaten up by their husbands. Every day. It is so common that it would ordinarily not make it as a headline…
…but let’s make it one.