The Story of Laura and Luis 315
Laura’s father was dead now and her mother lived with her brother’s family. They
did not have room for her and her children. Her sister was deeply religious and told
Laura it was her duty to stay with her husband, even if she were killed. “That is the
way it is meant to be.” She had so much work to do at home she was always busy.
And since Luis got mad when she went out or when someone came to visit, Laura
stopped seeing her friends. She was sure they had long since given up on her. Besides,
most people thought that it was okay for men to ‘punish’ their wives.
Then came the night when Laura’s oldest daughter was 11. She came to Laura
crying, saying Luis had hurt her “down there.” Laura was shocked. She had thought the
children would not be affected by Luis’ behavior. She knew it would do no good to
confront him, but she would NOT let it happen again.
When Laura lost her last pregnancy, the health worker who examined her asked
about her injuries. Laura had made some excuse. The health worker nodded her
head and gave Laura a card with an address in the next town. She told her if Laura
ever needed to leave, she and her children could go there, but to make sure that she
was ready to leave when she did. Laura was ready now.
Why did Luis hit Laura? These are some of the wrong ideas that people have:
A man can do
whatever he wants
to his wife.
The truth: No man has the right to beat
his wife. Nothing a woman does gives
a man the right to hurt her, even if he
thinks she deserves it—even if she herself
thinks she deserves it.
He wouldn’t beat her
if he didn’t love her
The truth: Beating is not a sign of
love. Love means showing respect
beat their wives.
It’s just because
The truth: Alcohol does not cause
violence, but it often makes it worse.
Violence is also common in places
where people do not drink alcohol.
It’s their business. It’s
not right to interfere
with the private affairs
of a couple.
The truth: Violence is not just a family matter.
Many women are hurt or killed. Violence is a
social and community health problem.
It is best for the children
if she stays with him. He
can still be a good father
The truth: Violence is not just a
problem of poverty or ignorance.
Violence can happen in any home: rich
or poor, educated or less educated, in
the city or in rural areas.
The truth: It is not always better for the family
when a woman stays with a violent man. He
is teaching the children terrible, wrong ways to
deal with their feelings, and about how women
should be treated. He is not being good to his
children if he is beating their mother—or them.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012