I can safely assume that by now we as women are liberated enough to recognize physical abuse and raise our voices over it. The same cannot be said about emotional abuse or emotional domestic violence plainly because one has no visible scars to show for the proof of abuse even to oneself. But the scars are real and very much damaging. Experts have defined it as a cycle of abuse because the victim is caught between episodes of abuse and those of unconditional sometimes over expression of love that leaves them confused, makes them bear with it and ensures that it is impossible for them to leave.
I always encouraged my friend to fight back, says my colleague and popular parenting blogger and lodge a complaint but she couldn’t bring herself to because her parents lived far away and she couldn’t go back to her own family too. Poverty has its own cruel reign and her parents could never support her two kids. Going back to her village also meant her kids will no longer have the education they recieved.
So there were three seperate incident that happened where she was physically abused. Her eyes were all swollen and dark. Lots of wounds on her body.Her kids are watching her being abused day in and out. She feared they will grow up thinking that it’s normal to hit a women but little did she worry about verbal abuse even then.
Primarily why are women reluctant to accept that they have been abused?
- The first and foremost being that they think they have no easy way out or are prisinors of their fate. They cannot imagine a life outside of their domesticated atmosphere.
- They stay in order to protect others (read the ones they love), this could be out of pity of their abuser or intention to protect a third person in the relationship equation (child/parents/ siblings)
- The lack of economic freedom to take steps to set up an individual life. You will be alarmed how many educated women are caught in this net.
- Social pressure- to uphold certain family values and just the general perception of shame attached to accepting abuse.
- The lack of support from their peers/ family to come out of the abusive environment. Here again shame and guilt play a major role.
If you are a survivor yourself, click on to this article.
The author anonymously narrates her life of abuse , how she went through a pregnancy and her new born was abused too. The story is chilling but she fought out of it. Her story is inspiring, reassuring that there is hope at the end of the road. Read from the link above.
If you know of a friend who is going through such a situation, how can you help them? Understand that they need your support above everything else and an non-judgmental environment to voice their story. A whole lot of shame and guilt is attached to their abuse. You must clearly understand that they love the person who has abused them ( even though you cannot fathom how?) but are now beyond their yellow line of tolerance.
Do not try to fix them. Emotional abuse is very much a real problem and needs a clinical approach by a trained counselor to be treated sensitively. There are NGO and government help lines that can be called 24/7 which provide counseling and legal advice to the victims.
What are signs one must look out for in an unhealthy relationship?
- There should be a guarded and stark difference between being possessive of your partner and extreme unwarranted jealousy. This is 70% the cause or red flag of abuse and is most commonly tolerated or overlooked.
- Controlling even small decisions of your life like how you dress, speak or who you speak to up until where you go.
- Making threats – of self harm if you do not follow their wishes or threats to harm you/ loved one in any way.
- The most powerful of all- emotional manipulation, making the abused feel guilty for every action of theirs.
If you find yourself in such a relationship then know very clearly that the situation will not somehow miraculously change or get better soon. You must change before your situation changes and accept the space to heal. Financially empowering yourself is one of the first steps to take control of your situation. Assess where you can get support from. Even though your situation may seem helpless to you there will definitely be one friend / relative who will support you through this but you have to open yourself and ask. Go talk to a professional. Foremost, love yourself. You don’t deserve this whatever may be the situation or explanation.
There are many organisations and one such is Sayfty. Do check out their survivor kits. It’s an elaborate list of contacts and legal advice