domestic violence from a survivors perspectve
I have decided to talk about this topic, because i am very passionate about it. Having personally been a victim myself, i think people need to understand domestic violence from the point of the victim, to enable them best support the victim through this horribly depressing period of their lives. Hopefully this will also help more victims survive.
This is a topic which is rarley talked about in public.
However, it is something that happens behind closed doors , in millions of homes aound the world on a daily basis.
Domestic violence can take many forms. From actual physical abuse by partners, abuse by inlaws,emotonal abuse,verbal abuse and rape within marriage or a stable relatonship to jmention just a few.
Unfortunateley, because of unwillingness of people to intervene, abusers are able to perpertuate their crimes, safe in the knowledge that they can abuse for as long as they like.
It is very difficult for a victim to express how it feels to be in a place of abuse. However having had the opportunity to speak to victims over the years , i think the overwhelmng feeling that comes across is that of hopelessness,of worthlessness, the feeling of being trapped, of losing the sense of who you are, of living with the constant fear that this may be your last day alive, an ongoing feeling of dread, a feeling of loneliness beyond belief, a loss of judgement and the abilty to see what is right from wrong,a supression of who you are and what you could ever hope to be ETC
The question is, does the victim deserve this treatment? The answer is a categorical NO.
THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE!
The next question a lot of people ask, or silently wonder about is , how is the perpertuator able to wield so much power over the victim? To the outsider looking in on the situation, it can seem absolutely incredble that a victim will remain or return to the perpertuator following an episode of abuse.
The truth is before the actual abuse starts, the perpertuator begins by playing with the victims mind. it always starts with subtle suggestions which are built on over time. Guilt is a powerful weapon which is used in this way. The abuser could use a mistake, or an unfortunate circumstance to keep the abuser in check by saying ;'if this hadn't happened, i wouldn't have done this'. for instance, if a woman has had a mscarriage, she might be accused of causng it, if she is preganant, she might be accused of not being careful enough to prevent it. the victm is made to feel that they have no one else. The abuser does this by setting up arguments betweem the victim and their friends and family, flaming the fire, and then waiting for everyone to back off the victim. If the abuser is able to achieve this, they are then free to deal with the victim as they please.This is because having alienated all loved ones, the victim then has no one to turn to for help or advice.
Abusers are cool and calculating and carry out their manipulation with stealth. However, to the untrained and innocent eye,they always look harmeless, like butter would not melt in their mouths.one lady I spoke to told me,
' It took me years to figure out why i allowed it to happen to me!. The answer is simple, My mind was played, and played well! Realising this, was the beginning of my liberation and Thank God today i am free'!.
The only way this evil can be tackled is by creatng an understanding of the issue.
From my experience i know that a lot of people are ignorant about domestic volence .
Parents do not speak about it to their children, schools do not address it, Church, Mosque and Temple enforce rules that encourage it to keep on happening, while family turn a blind eye in the name of so called honour.
Domestic violence follows a pattern known as a cycle of abuse.
In the first phase, tension begins to build and the victim begins to feel as if they are 'walking on eggs'
another victim said
'I remember that for me, this was usually on friday evenings on my way back from work, I would be in dread, wondering what would happen that weekend, I would try my hardest not to 'upset the apple car! But I almost always failed to achieve this., no matter how hard i tried'!
The next phase is the 'explosion phase' usually starting with verbal abuse
ie ' you are ug'y', or' fat', or 'stupid', or' have no brains' etc . This is very quickly followed by physical abuse, ie punching, shoving, kicking, slapping.
This next stage is the 'honeymoon phase' in which the abuser may apologise, buy the victim gifts, or flowers or both, and promise it will never happen again.
A victim told me
'The first time this happened to me, I was in total shock! The abuser came across as truly contrite and ashamed. And because no one told me 'once an abuser, always likely to be an abuser', instead of heading for the hills, I stupidly believed it would never happen again! but of course it did!'
The next phase is the calm phase this can last a week, a month or even up to a year, and then the cycle repeats itself. The sad thing is that every episode usually becomes worse than the one before!
Recently someone posted a picture on Facebook of a woman whose face had been badly disfigured with a knife, by her boyfriend. The post stated that the woman had refused to testify against him in court, because she loved him. Unfortunately, people seeing this post, began to make sarcastic and insensitive comments about how stupid the woman was, not to testify. Instead of them seeing this lady as a victim, she became the focus of sustained ridicule. There was not one comment which addressed the plight of this poor soul.
Common myths about domestic violence would want to suggest that the victim asked for it, or enjoys the cycle of abuse and that they could leave if they really wanted to. Contrary to this opinion , most victims of domestic violence would leave if were that simple. Unfortunately, it takes a while to realise that the incident will not be a one off, and by the time this realisation sinks it is almost always too late .
a victim said
' I remember the feeling of utter despair I felt , the lack of self worth, the confusion, . I was at the lowest point of my life. I was scared stiff of what he night do if I left!.
Abusers will play with the minds of their victims to get them to this point of total emptiness and low self esteem. When there are children involved, it is even more difficult, as the abuser will use this as a weapon to make the victim feel guilty about bringing up a child without a father. The abuser may also make the victim believe that they are ugly , fat, stupid, ETC , and that no one will want them.
A victim explained this to me
'If you hear this day in day out, after a while it becomes your realty, no matter how good looking and intelligent you are'
The abuser may threaten to kill the victim or a family member if they leave. Some may use emotional blackmail and threaten to kill themselves.
There may also be the pressure of family encouraging the victim to stay and work things out, as divorce is seen as being dishonourable. I remember once dealing professionally with a lady from Eastern Europe. Her husband had beaten her so badly that her cheek bone was broken and her face had been beaten blue, he had pulled out all the hair on the side of her head, and according to her, had pushed her head into the toilet and then flushed it repeatedly.
I contacted her brother on the phone and he came over to my office, where his sister was waiting. After she had explained what had happened to her, her brother sat in front of her and wept his eyes out. Then he wiped his tears away, looked at her and said sternly,
‘I am sorry, you have to return to him , if you leave him, you will bring dishonour to our family name’
.After saying this. he began to cry again, and then he got up and left!
Of course this poor lady returned to her abuser.
Some stay because of financial reasons. This happens where the abuser is the breadwinner, and the victim has to rely on him to survive. Other's stay because they have immigration issues which can only be sorted out if they stay with the abuser.
The effects of domestic violence can last a life time especially where children are involved.
No child deserves to experienece it ever!.Children have a right to peace!
books about domestic violence
After reading this, has your undersatnding of domestic violence improved?
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