Isn’t domestic violence like a deadly virus that’s spreading globally? Why is abuse at home on the rise even in the developed countries/
Domestic abuse has become sort of a disease now, so much so that we need and awareness month to address it just as we do for breast cancer.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the USA. Even though this is December it is still the perfect time to write on this topic as it really touches my heart and deserves attention by men and women alike.
Why is this sickening behavior getting out of proportion and what stops us from taking control over this man-made cancer?
There might be many reasons for why domestic violence is on the rise, but there’s one personal quality that can act as a deterrent and an antidote- self-control.
What you need is LUCK- love, understanding, compassion, and kindness. Maybe that’s too easy to say because the situations that lead to violence aren’t that simple. And, self-control isn’t child’s play either. Love too either ceases to exist or loses its magic with time.
How else can we deal with domestic abuse, which makes one out of three women suffer around the world? That’s really too much, isn’t it?
You’d be surprised to know that it’s not only women who’re the victims, but even men report being abused by women! However, the number of men as victims is much lower and their cases are mostly not as severe as those of women who’re abused by men.
In either case, there are injuries and causalities, and many more lives including children are greatly affected. If we call ourselves civilized, we need to put an end to domestic violence.
Let’s understand the what, who, and why of this deadly virus that has severely infected the word. And, in this post, we’ll only take up the issue of violence against women.
“All marriages are sacred, but not all are safe.” Rob Jackson
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior, which involves the abuse by one partner against another in an intimate relationship. It can include violence in marriage, courtship, or cohabitation.
An abusive relationship is marked with physical, emotional, mental, verbal, sexual, and even financial forms of abuse as explained in the above writing.
All these abuses also happen in domestic violence against women. Do you have any idea what abused women go through? It sends a shiver down my spine even as I write this- women and even young girls are subjected to forced rape, sexual assault and even murder! Women are also burned or killed in the name of a dowry and honor killing in some Asian countries.
They can be brutally attacked with acid. The acid attack victim suffers with burns and scars on the face and body throughout the rest of her life, if she survives.
Besides these severe physical abuses women are also subject to biting, kicking, hitting, pushing, punching, slapping, and choking. For that matter, even denying medical aid when needed, and depriving the partner of food and sleep causes physical harm.
Domestic abuse is not limited to physical abuse. Some other forms of domestic violence are dominance, forced isolation, humiliation, harassment, intimidation, blaming, endangerment, stalking, and kidnapping.
Domestic violence also includes dating violence. It’s sad to see how the dating valentines transform their loving relationships to domestic violence.
Remember that domestic violence can happen to anyone, but not everyone is an abuser.
Who is a Domestic Abuser?
A domestic abuser is no stranger. The domestic act of violence are always committed by either the spouse, boyfriend, family member, or any know person having intimate relations.
Mostly the abusers are:
. Youth in the age group of 18 to 30 years
. Persons from low-income socioeconomic groups
.Unemployed and frustrated
. Uneducated or having lower levels of education
. Employees with low job satisfaction
. Abusers of alcohol and other substances
.Persons with a past history of violence
. Those who grew up in an abused and violent family
. People with antisocial personality disorders
. People with attitudes and beliefs that accept gender inequality
However, exceptions are always there.
The abuser can also be an adult or senior, a person with high-income background- one who’s well placed in career, and even the one who’s not a substance abuser in any form.
One aspect that may surprise many is that most abusers are often charming and loveable in their other relationships. This, people might never suspect them of being aggressive and violent. Yet, just like the Jekyll and Hyde personality, these charming abusers unleash hell when at home or in privacy. Further, the domestic abusers are equally prevalent in all types of caste, creed, and race. They all probably have the same types of reasons for domestic violence.
Why Does Domestic Violence Happen?
Arguments, differences, and disputes do occur occasionally in relationships. An intimate relationship is no different in this respect. But when things go to extremes, where one or both partners try to establish supremacy- the fair playground gets muddier.
Here are some basic reasons why partners abuse or are abused.
. Domestic violence is a learned behavior. Mostly you do what you see and experience. You’re most likely to use violence in intimate relationships if you encounter it in your family and around yourself.
. The kind of parenting you experience I a big factor in your becoming an abuser or victim. You subconsciously start to imitate your parents and reinforce your observations.
. Some even consider the effect of genetics, brain development, and biochemistry on the personality and nature of the abuser, and the acts of violence committed in close relationships.
. Domestic violence occurs because one partner tries to gain power and control over another intimate partner.
. The abuse hurts the victim to induce fear by intimidation and inflicting pain so that the fear of leaving become greater than the fear of staying.
. A lot also depends on the socio-cultural status of the place where the abuser and the abused live. Some countries or cultures fin the behaviors as normal, while other countries or cultures treat the same as domestic violence.
. The public depiction of women as objects through videos, movies, songs, books, computer games, and especially pornographic material make women unworthy of respect. This creates a negative impact in the young tender minds of children and teenagers, who later become abusers.
. Boys or male children are brought up in a way that they think they’re not responsible for their actions. They think they can do what they want, and always have things their way, including mistreating their partners.
. People who experience abuse in childhood are more likely to become abusers in their intimate relationships when they grow up.
. Many religions have beliefs that teach and instruct women to accept male domination, and men to control women.
. As a rule of nature, a submissive person is generally suppressed, pressurized, controlled and tortured even more by the dominant partner; this is what happens in domestic violence.
. Acts of violence against women are planned and purposely done. Men do it either because of a clash of egos, feeling of insecurity, intense dislike, or because they can’t tolerate her as an equal.
. Domestic violence happens because the abuser is not happy with himself. One who’s not happy with one’s own self can never be good and happy with others.
Can you think of more reasons? Mention them in the comments. Whatever be the reason, abuse of any kind is neither justified nor rational, whether it is against women or men.
Effects of Domestic Violence
The victim of domestic violence is battered and shattered. The person begins to lose self-respect, self-esteem, and self-confidence. But this is not all.
. Talking about the United States, women who’re the victim of domestic violence are more likely to become homeless.
. Many women lose their jobs being victims of intimate partner violence.
.Domestic abusers are likely to abuse even their children, besides abusing their wives.
. Children, who witness or experience domestic abuse, are more likely to do the same when they grow up. They might even become juvenile delinquents and engage in unsocial activities.
Many young children end up in jail for murdering their battered mother’s abuser.
. Victims of domestic violence are likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, psychosomatic problems, eating disorders, hypertension, heart disease, arthritis, and even sexual dysfunction.
. The abused always fears the abuser, and this fear makes the victim dependent on the abuser. They fear that leaving the abuser may bring more harm to them.
There may be many effects of domestic violence, so break the silence and come forward to share what you’ve experience, heard, or seen. Remember, you might be able to help a domestic violence victim through your act.
To avoid the ugly effects of domestic violence, you should be able to recognize the early signs of domestic abuse.
Warning Signs of Domestic Violence
Are you suffering from domestic abuse? If you’re not sure then you should know these signs of abuse and treat them as warnings before they take the ugly form of domestic violence.
I’ve presented them in question form so you can answer them in “yes” or “no”.
If you come up with having many “Yes’s” then you probably need to talk to someone close to you, who can be a family member, friend, or you can even consult a counselor.
. Has your partner ever destroyed anything that is special to you like any objects, books, and clothes?
. Have you ever been forced to have sex against your wish or in ways that you don’t approve of?
. Do you fear your partner in any form or for any reason? Do you fear going home?
. Do you blame yourself for the violence?
. Are you subject to frequent criticism and blame from you partner including being called names?
. Have you ever been threatened verbally or by using a weapon?
. Are you denied education and restricted access to sources of information like books and the internet?
.Does your partner or spouse often touch you in intimidating ways?
. Are you often humiliated or insulted in public, besides in private?
. Does your partner often criticize your family or friends?
. Does your partner make you feel too lowly or unworthy or even makes you feel that you’re crazy?
. Are you treated like a servant?
. Are you often made to feel guilty of things directly or indirectly related to you, whether you’ve done them or not?
. Are you never allowed to make big decisions about the family or even yourself?
. Have you been denied to lead a life of your own and take a job?
. Is your dignity being questioned? Are you suspected of infidelity to the extent that all you moves and talks are monitored, even if you remain faithful?
. Are you totally under control of your partner and can’t do anything without your partner’s permission?
. Are your children being used against you, or are you threatened that they’ll be taken away from you?
. Is your pet being abused just to create a scare in you so that you obey your partner?
. Does your partner make you do illegal thins, blackmail you or even threaten to leave you or commit suicide?
. Are you deprived of access to family income and not allowed to have your say in important financial matters?
. Have you been troubled by your partner to arrange for money?
. Does your partner take away all your money to make you dependent on him financially?
Many of you might feel that some of these questions don’t quite relate to domestic violence. However, you need to remember that domestic abuse is not only physical, but also psychological, emotional, and mental. Even violation of your basic human rights is an act of violence.
I’m sorry to say that if you have any of these signs, then it’s an indication that your partner doesn’t truly love you.
Why? That’s because somebody who really loves you will give you all the freedom and never restrict you from being and developing yourself.
If you’re not given your place in the family and society, then you’re being deprived of your rights, and that’s a violation. If you feel that many of these warning signs are part of your life, then you may be in an abusive relationship or in any of the states of domestic abuse.
Abuse is not about a single isolated incident or behavior, but frequently acting behaviors that form a pattern that becomes severe with time. Never ignore these behaviors or patterns. These may be the signs that you’ve a controlling partner. You need to raise a strong voice against it.
“The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.” Mark Caine
What Should You Do in Domestic Abuse
It’s only you who can and who should do something about your condition and situation. What you should do depends on the type and level of domestic abuse that you are suffering. I could write a full- fledged post about how to deal with domestic violence but I will give some general suggestions since this post is already very long.
First: Take the initiative and courage to break the silence. Talk to someone close to you. If you can’t then try any online help resources for women suffering from domestic abuse, or call their toll free helpline numbers.
Second: If you think communication with your partner makes sense, then convey your thoughts and feelings. You will be surprised to see the things that can be resolved when you talk? Only you know if you can do that.
Third: If mutual dialogue doesn’t help or isn’t possible and things turn pretty bad, then don’t hesitate to seek professional help and visit a certified counselor, or even call the police if need be.
Fourth: if nothing works- walk out? Don’t stay with a domestic abuser, nor try to make-do with a person when there is nothing left between both of you. Your partner can even to the extent of crying and begging for forgiveness, but then you must realize that the apologies made are condition, and he indirectly holds you responsible for the abuse.
He might say that if you hadn’t said this or acted like that, then the abuse might never have happened. Or, maybe his apology is genuine, you’ve to decide on that based on the past record of your partner. Remember that the abuser is always in control, and his aim is to train the partner to be what and how he wants.
Call to Action
Abusers are people who like to abuse, and there’s no other cause to it. Don’t fall for sweet talks if you’re in a serious abusive relationship.
You need to avoid this trap and cycle of abuse.
Never allow yourself to be abused or mistreated. The choice always lies in your hands.
Before your abuser attempts to break down your sense of self-worth and make you feel helpless, you need to seek help and take important decisions of your life. Always rememberthat if your partner loves you, he or she will never be abusive or violent. This should be an indication whether you want to move away or stay in a relationship.
Only an abuser will adopt the strategy and tactics of control and domination, and such behaviors are the root cause of abusive and violet behavior. On the other hand, remember that since domestic violence is a learned behavior, it can be unlearned too.
You need to decide if you want to make amends and give your partner a second chance, but if nothing seems to be working, you should walk away as fast as you can. Don’t think twice because your life is precious!
I know of my family and friends who are leading very happy lives after leaving their partners due to domestic violence. Some of them remarried to people who truly love them and are very happy now.
It’s your life and you have all the right to live it the way you want to. Go live your life, and break free if you have to because you live only once.
The door slammed making the adrenaline surge up my backbone, gripping me with instant fear. I knew he was in the house. I have to stay quiet or he will find me. I can hear him tromping around in his heavy boots. The cabinets and drawers open and close, as he searches for the key. I have it well hidden. He may find me, but he won’t find the key.
I’m in the clothes hamper in the back part of Mom’s closet. If I can be quiet he won’t find me. I may be seventeen years old, but I’m tiny. My family and friends call me Tinkerbell, or Tink for short. This is one of those times I appreciate being tiny. He wasn’t supposed to be back at the house until evening, so I thought I would be safe to get some of my clothes. Boy, was I wrong. I guess he is desperate to find the key to the safe deposit box.
I hear him in the room going through everything. My mama would be all right now if it hadn’t been for him. If I disappear, the key will go to John Houston at the Daily Journal. If only she hadn’t told him about her journal. This would’ve been much easier. I could’ve turned it over to the authorities and he would be none the wiser. I guess Mom thought she was getting back at him somehow by letting him know he wasn’t getting away with anything.
Last Saturday started out like every other Saturday, with Mom cooking us a great breakfast with all the trimmings. After he left the house, she began to talk to me. My brain couldn’t believe what she told me about Jack, her husband of ten years. I remember very little of my father, so Jack, for all intent and purpose, was my dad, which made all of it harder to accept.
Jack’s having an affair, according to Mom. It’s been going on for almost a year. Mom chooses to overlook it for some reason that I will never know. It may have been because of Jack carrying Mom and me on his insurance. I’ve heard enough to know how tough it is when you don’t have medical insurance. If she confronted him, I never knew about it. I don’t know if I could accept that behavior.
Mom developed Diabetes about three years ago and used insulin daily. She did a finger stick four times a day. Her sugars were very erratic. The insulin she used changed with every test. She used sixty-four units of NPH insulin every morning and Regular before meals and at bedtime. She adjusted it as needed . She said her sugars were like a bouncing ball, and she never knew what direction it was going to go.
This morning I didn’t go to school. Jack left for work, as usual. Mom was late getting up. She didn’t look like she felt good. She told me she was very nervous on the inside and needed some orange juice before she checked her sugar.
I went back to my room to find clothes to put on. I heard the front door open and Jack yelled at mom letting her know he was home. He went into the kitchen, because I heard them arguing over mom’s journal. “I want that damn key, Janice,” Jack yelled.
Mom yelled back. “You aren’t getting it. I must have protection, and that journal is it. You thought you were so damn smart, but now you know if something happens to me you are dead meat.” I walked down the hall being careful not to make any noise, so I could see and listen to what was going on.
“You bitch; do you really think that little book will protect you?”
“Sure I do. It tells about your affair. Where you have hidden all of the money you embezzled from the company. It contains all of your dirty little secrets. You take care of me and you stay safe. If not, then you’ll be in prison for the rest of your life. It’s your choice. Leave me alone so I can get me some orange juice to drink. I can feel my blood sugar dropping. You know what is going to happen if I don’t get me some juice.”
“This is the day you get your payback. You think you can screw with me. You and no one else will get away with blackmailing me. It’s a shame that little crap daughter of yours is in school or I could take care of her at the same time. I will play the loving father until I find that key. Once the key is found, Tink will have an accident.”
I knew I had to find some place to hide. He moved her into the living room so I couldn’t go out the front door. That’s how I ended up in this hamper, barely breathing, unable to move. Mom has a narrow deep closet. Maybe he won’t discover me.
I heard him enter the bedroom and he continued going through the drawers. He came into the closet and searched through the boxes on the shelf. God please put your protection around mama and me. The phone began ringing causing Jack to stop searching. I guess he was trying to decide whether to answer the phone. He didn’t, and within a couple of minutes he was out the door.
I climbed out of the hamper and headed to the living room to check on Mama. She wasn’t breathing well, and didn’t respond. I called 911 knowing I was saving her and me both. Jack is about to answer for his actions.
I wish to thank you for the kind words and support given to me because of my father’s death. I can’t express my gratitude enough.
This short story is nonfiction, and I didn’t write it for sympathy. I wrote it because I wanted to share a taste of what it’s like to live with the disease of alcoholism. It affects millions every day all over the world. It’s been around since man began making wine many thousands years ago.
Alcohol is as addictive as the meth being manufactured today, except it’s legal. We all know prohibition didn’t work and as far as I can tell the war on drugs isn’t working either. What is the answer?
I hope you like my story of The Red Shoes.
I had reached my limit. Leaving was the only option I had. Standing up from the chair, I looked at mama and walked into my bedroom. Retrieving my coat from the closet, a headscarf and the new pair of red loafers mama bought me when we went to town that morning. I didn’t know what to do, but I couldn’t stay at the house any longer. I may have only been twelve years old, but I knew he would hurt me if I stayed.
There was snow and ice on the back steps. When I stepped out, down I went to the ground. Luckily, I wasn’t hurt in the fall. Picking myself up, I began walking down the road. Where could I go? If I went to Bob and Eva’s, he might find me there. I decided to go to my Uncle Charles’s house, on the mountain. It was about four miles north west of where we lived, up in the hills.
We lived fifteen miles west of McAlester on Highway 270 at a community called Cabiness. We ran a small country grocery store and Texaco gas station, called Blevins Grocery. My parents purchased the place before we left California. Returning to the area where mom and dad were born and raised was important, especially for my mother.
The one room store was actually the front room of the house. It had been converted to a store long before my parents bought it. The house now had one bedroom and kitchen, living room and a closed in back porch with a large window that pulled out and up, and hooked to the ceiling. That’s where mom and dad slept. My room was in the middle of the house without windows. It had two doors, one going to the living room and the other to the back porch.
There was a well and pump house sitting on the west side of the house. That water well was the catalyst for my problem. The well was terrible. The water smelled like sulphur, and tasted rotten. It didn’t furnish enough water to run the household. If you did the dishes, you couldn’t take a shower, or if you flushed the commode you couldn’t do the dishes. It was a constant struggle. I would usually go to Bob and Eva’s house to take my bath and do my homework. I would spend the night there at least once a week.
The store and station opened at 6 am and closed at 9 pm. This particular evening we were slow closing. Dad just returned home from spending time at a bar in McAlester. He was in the living room sitting on the piano bench watching me like a hawk. My cousin rang the bell to let us know someone needed gas. I went out and pumped the gas, and while I was talking to Eva, we decided I would ask mom if I could go home with them to spend the night. I asked mom if I could go home with Bob and Eva, and she agreed. I began to gather my clothes and schoolbooks.
”What are you doing, Shirley”? My dad yelled.
I walked into the living room and told him “I am getting my stuff together to go spend the night with Bob and Eva so I can do my homework and take a bath”.
“You sit down in that chair because you’re not going anywhere.”
“Daddy, mama told me I could go”.
“I don’t give a damn what your mother said, you are not going. You go tell them to go on and then get your butt back in here.”
I walked out to their truck and told them daddy wasn’t going to let me go with them. I was angry, but I knew not to say anything more to dad. When I walked back into the living room, he told me to sit down in the chair. I was angry and hurt. I sat very still and quit, while he tried to pick a fight with me. When I didn’t respond he started yelling at me. There was a pair of pliers sitting on the piano I’d left there earlier in the day from doing something that I don’t remember now. The next thing I knew he picked up the pliers and threw them at my head. God was protecting me because he missed by about one and a half inches, knocking a hole in the wall. That’s when I knew I had to get away from him.
Since I decided to go to my uncle’s house, I began walking down the dirt road behind our house. It would take me up the mountain. I had my headscarf wrapped around my head, and was wearing jeans and a long sleeve shirt. I never wore socks, and I didn’t even think about my feet when I left the house. I’d walked about two miles when I stepped in an ice covered hole of water. I knew my feet would freeze if I didn’t do something. I took off my headscarf and using my teeth to start a tear, I managed to rip the scarf in two. I put a half in each one of my new, red shoes to help keep my feet warm. I continued walking down the middle of the road. If a car came down the road, I ran into the woods and hid until it passed. I wasn’t going to let him find me. I didn’t have any intention of ever returning to that house.
I finally made it to the top of the mountain. It was after 11:00 when I knocked on Charles’s door. My Aunt Jerry opened the door after I identified myself.
“What are you doing here this late? Where’s your mama?” Jerry asked.
I told her the story while I sat wrapped in a warm blanket drinking a cup of hot tea. “Jerry, where is Charles? I can’t live there anymore. I want to stay here.”
“Charles hasn’t come in from town. I guess he had a date tonight, but I know you will be able to stay here as long as you need to.”
We heard the truck drive up to the front of the house. Jerry told me to go to the barn and hide in the hay. I took off out the back door towards the barn. I was almost there when Jerry yelled, telling me it wasn’t daddy, and to come back to the house.
When I got back in the house, there sat mama with a neighbor of ours, Donnie Elliott. Mama began to cry. “I tracked you in the snow. I knew you would either come here or go to Bob’s house. I want you to come home.”
“I’m not coming back to that house. I hate him; he is not going to hurt me. I’ve begged you to make him leave, and you wouldn’t, so now I’ve left and I’m not going back. I’m going to stay here, and if I can’t stay here then I’m going to go back to California and stay with Jim and Bobbie.”
“Please, honey, come back home. I promise you, it will be different, and he won’t be there. Come with me now and spend the night with Donnie. You can stay with her until he leaves the house tomorrow.”
Donnie sat there nodding her head up and down as mama talked. I loved my mama, and I couldn’t bear watching her cry and listening to her begging me to come back home.
“All right, mama, I’ll come home if he’s not there.” I got my coat and put on my new red, now wet and covered in mud, shoes. Jerry had given me a pair of socks, so my feet wouldn’t freeze off. Donnie lived about a half mile from us on the dirt road behind the store building. Mama promised me again that daddy would be gone the next morning.
She kept her word, and he was gone. I came home, and I was happy with my life for once. I could bring a girlfriend to the house and not be afraid of what dad would say or do. It was a peaceful time for me. Mom didn’t do so well, but that is another story.
Alcoholism is a terrible, terrible disease. It doesn’t just destroy the one drinking, but his or her family as well. It took many years for me to forgive my father, but I did. He is 85 years old now, and mama is gone. He doesn’t remember a thing about the trauma he caused his family. He and mom reconciled a year later after he had stopped drinking. That lasted a year and then it started over. That doesn’t matter now. He is a good man with a good heart and I can say I love him very much. He is and always will be my daddy. I survived and so did he.