A limited rescue is no rescue at all

By Pat Watson Wednesday December 10 2014 in Opinion
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People who work in social services trying to support women fleeing domestic violence and abuse by their spouse say that if the rules for support had been different, Zahra Mohamoud Abdille, 43, and her sons Faris, 13 and Zain, 8, would be alive today.


Police found this mother and her two sons dead in their Thorncliffe Park apartment last week.


The police had gone to the apartment following the death of a man considered a suicide. Turns out the man was the husband and father of the persons found deceased inside the apartment.


What we in the public have been given to learn is that Zahra was a public health nurse. We have been informed from a few sources that she was a mother committed to her two sons, and that by all appearances the boys were happy and healthy.


But, the other side of that picture is that this woman had, on more than one occasion, fled her home to escape a troubled marital relationship. The word “controlling” has been used to describe the personality of her husband.


Controlling – that’s when a person has no regard for the life of other individuals except to ensure that others essentially act as puppets doing everything the controlling person commands. Usually, the controlling person has eccentric commands as he tries to arrange the world to suit himself, so that he can feel safe.


People who try to control their environment are often fearful, but the average person subject to this behaviour might not recognize that aspect. We may typically experience frustration or anger toward the controlling person, as he or she can appear to be very aggressive in that controlling behaviour. Or we respond in fear.


The account is that Zahra endured 16 years in this environment, although she forged ahead, earning degrees and advancing into a good career. A caring career. Yet, she could not get the level of care she and her family needed.


The government policy in this matter of support for women in need of protection is that if you are very poor you are deserving of some meagre support, but if you are holding your own in a job, and edging into what would be deemed a middle income, then, sister, you’re on your own.


You’d think the rules governing the social service sector are like a controlling spouse that says either you are entirely dependent on your abusive spouse or us, but you can’t be independent.


Well, here is what that looks like: A woman who had much to contribute to society and her children whose potential will never be known, gone.


How many times does it have to be said – to be driven home – that no individual owns the life of another? This idea that one human has agency over the life of another or the life of millions of others is how such constructs as slavery become manifest.


When humans presume to take over God-business, the trouble is unending. It would be well to meditate on the saying: “Live your own life; all the others are taken.” Your spouse’s life is not yours. Your child’s life is not yours.


Whatever stories have been told about how the man is the head of the family and has the final say over the lives of all other members of a family have to be smashed. This kind of egocentrism is deadly in far too many circumstances. Why? If we wait for just a few minutes, another woman and her children will be fatalities because this kind of deadly belief continues to prevail. And, it prevails among both men and women.


A note on the 24/7 news cycle…

What is the wisdom in repeatedly running a propaganda message from a convert to militant Islamism in television news reports? Sometimes, the model that requires news every second of the day leads to absurd effects such as becoming free advertisements for the very thing that we claim to be averse to. That is what television viewers were witness to as a Canadian born Islamic State (IS) member articulately presented a message of personal conversion, and aired ad nauseam. IS should be thanking western news agencies. 

Pat Watson is the author of the e-book, In Through A Coloured Lens. Twitter@patprose

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