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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Domestic Abuse, Violence, Samoa

And so we're back to Square One as one brave lady in Samoa Sina Retzlaff speaks to the media with a bruised face from a recent beating by her ex husband the well known ex-Manu Samoa ex- Highlanders rugby player Brian Lima. It's disgusting that after she's divorced him he still did what he did. I saw Ms Retzlaff's picture with bruises and all on the Samoa Observer site but what struck me is the determined smile through the pain. Domestic violence in Samoa and every where in the world is disgusting and I hope this particular abuser Brian Lima gets time in Samoa's horrid prison for what he has put his ex-wife and their children through.

What bothers me more about this case and many other cases in Samoa is the fact people are quick to return the blame on the victim. Asking questions like, but what did she say or do to get a beating? The fact remains that a coward is the man or woman that beats on his/her physically weaker partner. 

My journalist younger sister had just completed a 16 days of activism campaign against Violence in Samoa and my own older sister decided to speak out about her experience of being abused by her ex-husband. We are well aware of the hurt, the tears, the consoling and the urging the victim to leave that comes with the territory. It's a really, really tough situation where you see clearly that the victim should break free, but the victim is so absorbed in the cycle that she just doesn't see what everyone else sees. The fact that being beaten is wrong. The fact that their kids are exposed to this wrong doing. The fact that staying together is more detrimental to the kids fragile state of minds than any good. The fact that they deserve and can have an abuse free life if they choose to. However it is up to the victim to make the mental and actual decision to leave the abusive situation. In the end when they choose to break free they need a strong support system to help them out. We, as the support must never give up hope and always be there for the victims. I had read everything published during this campaign and I thought my sister hit the nail on the head with this campaign. It is about admitting that we have a problem and about educating ourselves about what is wrong with our current thinking towards violence in our homes, upbringing, schools, and general environment. 

Sources: Samoa Observer, New Zealand Herald, 16daysofactivismSamoa

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