The man was able to get some temporary shelter with me for a month then he moved on another flat of a friend and so on whilst those were in progress attempts were made to get in touch with the mother who was hostile and things got more heated when an older brother of his got wind of the efforts and called one person who was in the attempt with threatening words and declared that no battyman was going to be allowed to live at the house; it turned out over other matters himself and his mother had a falling out so he was forced to relocate to his babymother I subsequently learnt. The communication efforts continued and the mother and a sister who lived elsewhere sounder more accommodating and with several conference calls and WhatsAPP exchanges during the year and the assistance of a certain man of the cloth previously linked to a defunct homeless shelter things got a little cordial.
The man in the meantime was still bouncing about and managed to get a temporary job that made live a little easier, the mother subsequently got more open to the idea of him returning because of the simple reason that he is still her son. After much gentile persuasion she concurred for a Christmas trial re-integration effort despite the same neighbours are still around and the others in the area are also around. He had been making visits on occasions but not over-nighting as part of a test to see how the communication phase would feel like. The visits revealed in part that there was some healing taking place but none of the external parties did not accompany him so as to make it his own experience as opposed to the effort being seen as a forced one by the mother especially outside of the gentle persuasion and some counselling.
The sister also became more involved but was not able to offer any residential help as she lives with her family and her common law husband and space is a challenge but remote support was there in terms of the occasional groceries and phone cards etc. She also thought that he could return to the house and that they would have to address the departed problematic brother somewhere down the line as it had not gotten violent except in words. It has been near three weeks since he has returned and the friend whose house he left has offered to accommodate him temporarily if it does not work out which is a good backup plan. No complaints have come just yet but one can only imagine the tenseness in there as they try to walk on eggshells so as not to disturb the fragile peace.
Reintegration efforts are not easy and they often end up broken after some time as old feelings return. It is worth the effort to at least try them when they become available if it is only one success story per year it is a start; that survivor may have an impact in someone else’s occasions of similar circumstances. But as on one hand there seems to be some tolerance increase the numbers of forced evictions out there suggests that change is not so widely pronounced as expected in the face of social media awareness, shouting matches, comments and campaigns though some misguided. Reports of some 47 cases of homo/trans/lesbophobia driven incidents tallied by Amnesty International and another 14 on my home front screams that the traditional cannot continue to meet with the stigma out there. It would be good if the family rides the Christmas season out and go into the New Year afresh towards stability and cordial relations.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed and of course prayers it works out.
Peace & tolerance
An uneasy reintegration; time will tell