The Assaulted and the Vulnerable

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Domestic violence is a term used to describe an intimate relationship were violence occurs,in which one partner uses abusive behaviour to assert his or her authority or try to dominate the other person.

Domestic violence doesn’t have to occur within the home, it only has to happen between people in a committed relationship.

IT includes :
»Physical or Sexual abuse/ When someone is hurting you physically or threatening to do it, it occurs when physical force is used against you in a way that it inflicts bodily harm or endangers your life.

Any situation in which you are forced to engage in or participate in demeaning, forced or unwanted sexual activities is sexual abuse.

Forced sex even by a spouse or intimate partner is an act of aggression and domestic violence.

»Emotional abuse /Often times goes unnoticed but can be very hurtful. A spouse or partner who is emotionally abusive towards the other person wants to deny them of their feelings of self worth and freedom. They resort to yelling, name calling, blaming and shaming.

Controlling and intimidating behaviour are also forms of emotional abuse.

»Economic or financial abuse /if someone close to you controls your finances, making you account for any penny of your own money you spend, withholds necessities like food, clothing,shelter, preventing you from working or making career choices,sabotaging your job by making you miss work constantly and frequent calls and monitoring to the extent of affecting your output at work, spending your money as if it’s their right to do so,etc.

»Social abuse/occurs when your partner constantly talks down on you,humiliates and insults you publicly or in front of others. Keeps you isolated from family,friends and even neighbours with tendencies to control what you do or where you go.

»Spiritual abuse/spiritual domestic violence involves your mate preventing you from having your own opinion on religious,cultural beliefs and values.
Manipulating your thoughts to adhere to his/her own religious orientation or out rightly forcing you to adopt their own religion or beliefs.

Women are presumed to be the only victims of domestic violence,but a very high number of the male folk also experience violence in the hands of their partners.

Domestic violence is a huge problem in Africa.

There is a deep cultural belief in part of Africa that hitting a woman is a sure way to instill discipline and values in her.

The perception of domestic violence vary, based on religion,region,and social class.

A certain tribe in Nigeria view wife beating as a tonic that builds love in a marriage and should be encouraged, as evidenced in the statement :

“If you are not yet beaten by your husband then you don’t know the joy of marriage and that means you are not yet married “.

 

An old friend of mine once told me of how she appreciates been hit from time to time and if it’s not happening, she creates avenue to make it happen.

However government and organisations are committed to carrying out sensitization on the people on the need to avoid violence. So for that,domestic violence is totally and seriously discouraged.

 

Factors that may trigger domestic violence includes:

»Archaic Traditional beliefs.
»Low self esteem.
»Extreme jealousy.
»Difficulties in the control of anger.
»Wife earning more than husband.
»Drunkenness.
»Inferiority complex as a result of poor education or joblessness etc.
»Undiagnosed personal and psychological disorders like bipolar disorder amongst others.

How to minimise or reduce domestic violence:

»Awareness/creating awareness can help victims find professional counselling and prevent more people from been victimised.

Abusers also need to know the level of pain they inflict on others physically and other wise.

Most abusers may want to justify their violent behaviour against their  partner, .it therefore becomes imperative to educate them on the need to imbibe the spirit of tolerance and get them acquitted with the penalties as stipulated by law.

Creating awareness also involves educating members of the community about the different types of domestic violence,participating in organisations that campaign against domestic violence, and speaking out loud against acts of violence .

It pays to render meaningful contributions aimed at improving the welfare of the people and helping victims and abusers to feel more comfortable with themselves and in their interaction with each other.

»Counselling /is a very vital tool in addressing issues relating to domestic violence, couples and intending couples should exhibit self control,tolerance,and decorum in their dealings with one another.

They should dialogue in resolving issues, instead of engaging in fisticuffs or any form of manipulations.it is not a bad idea to attend marriage counselling classes in your local church or elsewhere.

»Seeking medical attention/individuals with psychological disorder should seek medical attention.
Proper diagnosis should be carried out to ensure adequate evaluation and treatment.

»Anger management /Anger is a normal emotions in humans but it’s unhealthy and maybe disastrous when it flares up all the time or spirals out of control. Explosive anger has serious consequences in the relationship with your partner.
Learning to control your anger and expressing your concerns calmly will help you build better relationship with your partner or spouse and even with your children.

»Inculcating good morals on your children /Teach your children to respect others, and by extention their partners by demonstrating respectful,healthy relationship with your spouse or partner.

Its unhealthy for children to witness constant violent outburst in the home. Parents should ensure that arguments and resentments are not displayed for the kids to witness.

Steps to take if you do get abused :

»Speak out.
»Make adequate arrangements for your safety.
»Call the police.
»Get a court protection order.(if necessary)
»Get support from organisations and human rights groups in your locality.

Making a decision to leave a situation where you feel worthless,unsafe and exploited can be scary because of uncertainty and fear of the unknown.Fears like:
* Can I survive without my partner?
*What do I do with the kids?
*How do I pay the loan on the mortgage?
*I don’t have a job.
*Will I ever find someone else to marry?
*What will family, friends, neigbours and people say?Etc.

These concerns maybe legitimate but it doesn’t justify and its not a good enough reasons to stay trapped in an abusive environment. Your happiness and wellbeing should be of paramount importance to you, your life first have that in mind.

Bottling up emotions and trying to mask the true picture of things by putting up fake smiles will not remedy the situation.
Your life is still important to us and you need to stay alive to be able to conquer.

Remember it’s not your fault,and there is nothing that justifies such treatment by the abuser.
Never indulge in self pity or accommodate feelings of worthlessness.
Nobody deserves to be treated poorly by their spouse or significant other.
So open up to well meaning people like family, friends and counsellors.

However if the abuse becomes a serious threat to your existence.
Run for your life .its your right to keep yourself and loved ones safe.

It’s easy to experience abuse without knowing it.

 

Here are tips to help you determine whether your relationship is abusive.

its important to evaluate your inner thoughts and feelings. The more “Yes” answers the more likely it is that you are in an abusive relationship.

 

So please go through .

 

»Are you afraid of or uncomfortable with your partner most of the time?

»Do you sometimes feel like you married the wrong person?

»Do you try to avoid your partner whenever he/she is around?

»Does it feel like you are walking on an egg shell in your interactions with them ?

»Do you feel more relaxed and free when they are not around?

»Do you feel like you can’t do anything right for them?

»Do you feel like you are the dumb stupid one in the relationship?

»Do you think or believe you deserved to be ill treated and hurt and it’s always your fault.?

»Do you feel the need to keep certain information from your partner,even money or assests and important documents?

»Do you sometimes feel so hopeless and dejected and and wish they just die or disappear.

»Do you feel like you should end it all by contemplating suicide?

Together let’s chase out domestic violence from our homes.

Have you ever been abused? let us know.

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