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Opinion: Dear Avril, this is why you should not forgive an abusive partner

Judith Nyambura, popularly known as Avril, and her partner Jibril Blessing alias J Blessing found themselves at the center of public attention after Avril publicly disclosed a case of physical assault on Tuesday, 14 November.

However, within a few hours, the couple has come forward to clarify the situation.

Avril announced her forgiveness towards J Blessing, while J Blessing declared that they had mutually decided to separate.

In his statement, J Blessing stated:

“Avril and I have agreed that both of us should stay away from each other to prevent such incidents from happening again.”

He also addressed the assault allegations by confirming that a circulated photo of Avril with a bruised face was from an ‘altercation’ that occurred a year prior.

The dynamics of the situation raise concerns, as Avril, despite being the one wronged, was the first to extend an apology, which seems unusual.

Ideally, considering Avril reported the assault first, the apology should have come from the other party.

Nevertheless, the overarching consensus is that violence should never be tolerated under any circumstances.

Couples are urged to refrain from forgiving abusive partners for various critical reasons, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing safety, well-being, and overall mental and emotional health.

Here are some key explanations:

Repeated Patterns of Abuse: Abusive behavior tends to follow a cyclical pattern, with periods of remorse and apologies after incidents of violence. However, this remorse often doesn’t lead to lasting change, and the abusive behavior may recur.

Escalation of Violence: Forgiving an abusive partner without seeking professional help or legal intervention may contribute to a cycle of escalating violence. Unaddressed abusive behavior tends to worsen over time, posing increased risks to the victim.

Safety Concerns: Forgiveness might be misconstrued by the abuser as acceptance or permission for their actions. This can jeopardize the victim’s safety, as the abuser may believe they can continue the abusive behavior without consequences.

Impact on Mental Health: Forgiving an abusive partner without proper resolution and rehabilitation can lead to significant mental health issues for the victim, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The emotional toll of abuse can be long-lasting.

Breakdown of Boundaries: Forgiving an abusive partner without setting clear boundaries and consequences may result in the erosion of personal boundaries. This can make it difficult for the victim to protect themselves and establish a healthy and respectful relationship.

Empowerment Through Accountability: Holding the abuser accountable for their actions is crucial for both the victim’s empowerment and the potential for the abuser to recognize and address their behavior. Forgiveness without accountability may perpetuate a cycle of abuse.

Legal Consequences: In many jurisdictions, domestic violence is a criminal offense. Forgiving without involving the appropriate legal authorities may hinder the legal process and prevent the abuser from facing legal consequences.

Support Systems and Resources: Refraining from immediate forgiveness allows the victim to access support systems, counseling, and resources that can aid in their recovery and help them make informed decisions about their future.

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