Can Women Escape Domestic Violence? An Emotional Approach…

Domestic Violence

My friend Lisa is writing a story on women’s escape from domestic violence. This post got an inspiration from her unstinted efforts to help ‘The Great Escape’.

Is it possible to escape domestic violence? I have often wondered…

If this could be probable, why would a woman of 21st century swallow everyday abuse, why would she compromise and be told to ‘ADJUST’! Adjust to intimidation and assault? To slapping? To emotional blackmail?

If this could be conceivable, why would female feticide be forced upon a young mother who yearns to hold her child in her hands!

Why would a woman be assaulted or killed for petty demands like dowry or standing up for her rights?

I know I am presenting a very negative picture despite being a robust optimist.

But I have seen domestic violence, its shapes and shades. I have seen it grow and flourish despite laws against it.

Domestic violence is not just perpetrated by a husband or a partner. Families too are a party to it. To my mind, violation of basic human rights by anybody around us – a parent, a sibling or a relative – is domestic violence.

According to National Coalition Against Domestic Violence ( NCADV ) Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse.

I have seen so many women in such situations. They don’t even think that a mistreatment in a family means domestic violence. They don’t have the courage and the confidence to confront it.

Not just a husband unleashes domestic violence upon her; his mother is more to blame for nagging, verbally and physically abusing, making her work like a slave and not giving her enough to eat.

This is the story of most of the homes in many Asian countries.

Real story:

I had seen this woman in my early childhood…working all day, carrying out all the odd jobs of the house, from looking after the cattle of the house to cooking for the family as well as all those who worked in the fields. My most vivid memories are of those days when it would be raining heavily and continuously but she would be as active as ever, with just a gunny bag on her head, attending to the milking of the cows, early in the morning.

Abandoned by her husband at the young age of 25, she chose to live in his home all her life, probably due to societal pressures. She devoted all her life to her only child and grand children, giving them all they needed, without even a single word of complaint.

As I look back now, trying to understand the definition of domestic violence, this image seems to be more disturbing than physical violence in the homes. This memory is etched in my mind. The emotional wounds that I can feel even today for my aunt, after almost 5o years are irreparable.

Even today I can hear that unspoken message…where can I go?

Even today I can see that agony in her eyes saying…what can I do?

Who is responsible?

Women too are equally to blame for accepting such a behavior. Fifty years ago when economic independence and social taboos didn’t let them take any action, it could be understood but in the present era when there are no such constraints, women accept domestic violence as part of their life and destiny.

The sordid saga continues…

Domestic Violence

Another real story:

She is a highly educated, successful doctor and financially independent woman. There was a time when she could take her own decisions, when she was single though many of her friends couldn’t.

She married according to her own wishes, having found her soul mate at the age of 20. She has been living with domestic violence of unspeakable volumes but could never gather the courage of reporting it, stepping out of her marriage or divorcing her husband. She is a widely travelled woman but cannot step out of her own home, without her husband.

People say women have been empowered and emancipated! Really?

“We live in a world in which women are battered and are unable to flee from the men who beat them, although their door is theoretically standing wide open. One out of every four women becomes a victim of severe violence. One out of every two will be confronted by sexual harassment over her lifetime. These crimes are everywhere and can take place behind any front door in the country, every day, and barely elicit much more than a shrug of the shoulders and superficial dismay.”Natascha Kampusch

Who can help?

No soft words or empathy, no laws or stern action against those who inflict such a cowardly act can help.

Only women, yes those women or victims who accept such a beastly behavior can help.

Unless you help yourself, all others effort go futile:

  • Refuse to tolerate domestic violence
  • Never hide it to protect your self-esteem
  • Stand up for your rights
  • Don’t equate it with destiny
  • Communicate your dissent the very first time
  • Speak your mind out loudly and clearly
  • Seek help
  • If the perpetrator doesn’t change, be bold
  • Never believe in their false promises
  • Never give a second chance to such offenders
  • Be firm and take your own decision
  • Walk out of such relationships as soon as you can!

Do you know that 603 million women live where domestic violence is not considered a crime!!

If you are living in a country that recognizes domestic violence as a serious offence, you must report it.

My dearest friend Kim supports this cause most vociferously at her website. You can visit her for advice and help.

If you have liked this article, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable comments, they are much appreciated.

Balroop Singh

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23 thoughts on “Can Women Escape Domestic Violence? An Emotional Approach…

  1. I no longer call my sister a “Victim.” She is now part of the solution to END domestic violence.

    DV Survivor, Leslie Morgan Steiner, was asked when it all changed for her.

    She said, “When I broke my silence. I told everybody. My family, co-workers, my neighbors, even strangers.”

    Silence Kills.

    Balroop, thank you for utilizing this platform for CHANGE.

    Your voice MATTERS. xxxx

    1. Yes Kim, silence slowly leads to the position of ‘No return’…it conveys the message that we are okay with whatever mental, emotional and psychological trauma we are facing.
      You are doing an awesome job of creating awareness and help. Stay blessed!
      Thanks for sharing your view.

  2. Wow, fantastic awareness piece, Balroop. This is such a heavy topic, too. Thanks for the mention. I should clarify that I’m not an expert on domestic violence but I do write about initiating the end of a marriage. I am writing a short story collection and one of my characters must escape domestic violence. Kim is definitely the blog to visit for specific domestic violence inspiration for taking action against domestic violence.

    Asian countries don’t view domestic violence as a crime? That’s shocking! As for closer to home, I think it’s hard for us to understand what goes through the mind of a victim. Why she stays…it’s so complicated. I saw an excellent video on facebook that Kim shared. It’s a Ted Talk from a woman who got out. It’s very enlightening. In it she says she didn’t see herself as a victim—even though she had been suffering from his abuse for years, it took a gun to her head to realize that she indeed was a domestic violence victim. Plus the abuser works hard at making the woman feel dependent, That’s how he keeps the most sophisticated, educated, intelligent and strong woman. He breaks her down.

    I like that you specify domestic violence to include any family abuse. That’s important to understand, it isn’t always between spouses. I’m sorry your Aunt had such a hard life, that’s a tragic story!

    Last, financial abuse is a thing too. Where one spouse controls the wealth and uses it as a threat against the other spouse. Sorry my comment it so long! Great post, Balroop and you’ve provided a lot of information to think about. ❤

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Yes, it is a heavy piece to write and read…that reminds us and reinforces how heavy it must be for those who actually experience all this!

      I know your blog talks about divorce proceedings and you are writing a short story about this topic of escaping domestic abuse but I have always valued your opinion, which cautions as well as guides about various issues concerning women. Your inspiration behind your unsaid words too reaches me! And any kind of encroachment of human rights is violence in homes. We face it and forget it, forgive it, thinking it is not worth mentioning.

      Asian countries do have laws against domestic violence but nobody goes out to report minor abuse because of social stigma, parental pressure and lack of finances. Even if some women try to get justice, they have to face character assassination, they are hounded and blamed for going public with family matters and laws are misused.

      I agree that financial abuse is a strong way of controlling the spouse, that is the main reason why those women who are not economically well placed do not venture out of an abusive marriage.

      Thanks for sharing your insights Lisa, that are greatly valued.

  3. You’ve really seen the problem from its roots. “They don’t even think that a mistreatment in a family means domestic violence.” – I think that is the most important thing…to make women understand the problem..to make them realize that there is no glory in tolerating such things!

    A wonderfully written post..with valid points, clear thoughts and probable solutions…

    1. Hi Mani,

      I agree with you…all this talk of being tolerant to respect the so called culture is another way of encouraging subjugation, which has been the practice for centuries!
      I am glad there is some awareness and women are realising that they too are as much human with equal rights as men or vice versa, in some cases.

      Thanks for the words of appreciation. I am so glad you found my thoughts clear and valid. Stay blessed and have a nice day. 🙂

  4. What an amazing piece about domestic violence, Balroop. Love how you highlighted the fact that domestic violence is just not contained to physical mistreatment of women, but also emotional abuse – in a sense domestic violence is a sadistic mind game.

    It is true that this is a prevalent issue in many Asian countries up until today, and it is still often an unspoken and unheard of issue here. I do feel there is some shame associated with speaking up about it as family is pride – having a family is a means to an end, that’s the mentality here. As I’m sure you’re aware of, leaving the family nest due to divorce or separation is often seen as one of the worst things a woman can ever do – traditional mentality there some are inclined to follow.

    At times it is partially the men’s fault why women aren’t afraid to speak up…then again, we all have a choice to speak up. Certainly not an easy thing to do as victims face being judged and discriminated, risk losing trust in those they have known all their lives.

    Thank you for writing about this and sharing two different stories. As woman, we all have choices, and the more we speak up, the more we will be heard.

    1. Hi Mabel,

      Do you have any idea how many American women suffer from domestic violence? I was astounded at the figures but I didn’t want to quote them as I have an emotional approach to the topic. Even the boyfriends mistreat and abuse their girl friends and it begins during teenage when emotions are not fully developed and the girls don’t know how to get out of such a relationship. At least these women don’t have to face the societal pressures of sticking to a marriage, at least the children can move out of their homes as soon as they attain the age of 18.

      Asian stories are deep-rooted in culture and traditions. Walking out of marriages on the basis of domestic abuse is still looked down upon and the blame is hurled at the women in all the cases. Women’s rights are still trampled upon and their giving away in marriage is still called ‘Kanya-daan’…’kanya’ means daughter and ‘daan’ means donation!!

      You must have noticed that the two stories I have shared are so similar yet so different as the second one belongs to modern era, which clearly establishes that NOTHING has changed over the years, despite awareness and education!

      Thanks for sharing your perspective, it is highly appreciated.

      1. It is certainly shocking at how many women in America suffer from domestic violence. And around the world too and quite a lot of them don’t even know that it’s domestic violence. It is sad that nothing much has changed over the years, but I believe over time this will change. Not only those who are at the hands of this abuse need to be vocal about this – all of us need to be and show our support for equality between all genders.

  5. HI Balroop

    A powerful post where you have looked at this important issue from many angles.

    Where we come from, this word ‘ADJUST’ is so common. In traditional contexts, when a daughter gets married, her parents do want her to be happy but at the same time they want their daughter to win hearts and have a special place in her in-laws’ family. Hence, from their side they give this sound advice…Adjust!!
    Adjustment is often required on a woman’s part but it should not be at the cost of her dignity and self-esteem. Women tolerate everything for the sake of their children, while hoping things will change with time.

    As you mentioned, indeed families are very much a party to DV. Often the man, that is the husband doesn’t know whom to favor, his wife or the rest of his original family, the people he has known since his birth.

    Of course DV is all about power and control issues. In Australia, it is becoming unbelievably common.

    I like that quote: ‘Mrs Stewart, you must have done something to provoke him’. It is always assumed that the woman must be responsible in some way for her own plight.

    Will now read your post again…

    1. Hi Alka,

      I am glad you are emphasising on the word ‘adjust’, which is actually camouflaged into accepting all the crap that comes in the way of a new bride. Why were the girls married early? To exert control over them, to make them believe that they ought to follow whatever the new family, into which they were pushed is the only family they have!

      Little has changed after so many years when even the name of the bride was changed! Only new ways of control and power have been invented, even within so called cultured and educated families!

      Yes, children do become a priority but even they don’t appreciate that DV was accepted for their sake, when they grow up. So decision should centre around our own lives…accepting hell or walking out.

  6. I can relate to your words Balroop. Too many women are living such situation of Domestic Violence. You are right to outline that violence is not limited to spouses. I can’t get my head around Domestic Violence.
    What makes people stay?
    I had asked myself this a good numer of times before understanding that I was living this hell myself. It took me years to realize that something was wrong, that the emotional abuse was real. I would not have believed it till I started talking about it.
    I know that I was part of the problem. Lack of confidence to start with. If you had asked me at the time, I would have told you that I deserved this treatment, it was all my fault in a sense.
    We have much more independance than before, more help around. But it’s always hard to acknowledge that we are letting people treat us like shit.
    No seconde chances. No wrong thinking that he/she will change. We should take our power back and as soon as we feel something is wrong, we should share it, we should talk about it, so we can escape and start again. So many women don’t have this chance.
    Money, kids, work are false excuses, but most of the time we don’t have enough energy to leave.
    We need to talk and talk about this, raise our voices, like you do today Balroop, like Kim does every day. We need to empower women so when they are facing it, they’ll realize they deserve the best and so they can move on.

    Thank you for this important and beautifully penned article Balroop. Your voice is needed. Stay blessed and keep sharing your thoughts.

    1. Hi Marie,

      I am sorry to hear that you can relate to this…you are so right, emotional abuse is not acknowledged at all. Even we don’t believe that it is real…people around try to make us disbelieve it as some adjustment with the behavior of the spouse is expected. But when it starts encroaching upon our freedom to choose, peace of mind and decisions, that is the time to rethink.

      Sharing is very important because when we share, we start gaining self-confidence, we realise that we are right in thinking about our own self. Yes, we have to raise our voice, that is the first step towards empowerment. No excuses can ever get us out of this attitude, which makes us feel inferior. Respect and free thinking is mutual, if it is not, it is time to walk out.

      I am glad you could gain that confidence and didn’t let the situation go out of your hands. No relationship is worthy of suppressing our true self. Thanks for sharing your view so candidly. I salute your forbearance and courage.

  7. Your post depicts the harsh reality. I agree that violence is not just perpetrated by a husband or a partner, women in the family are also a party to it, most of the times for inciting violence either directly or indirectly.
    Many times it happens that women, have very few options but to endur , as you have cited the case of the lady, but sometimes women chose to continue till the time they think they can tolerate or things go out of hand. It is important for women to be aware of these issues, and what should not be acceptable.
    Thanks for sharing your voice on this matter.

    1. Hi Somali,

      The tragedy is that women of a family are responsible for ruining the peace and sanctity of their own home, if it happens to be a joint family and many can manage to manipulate to do so even when they are far away. To my mind, endurance gives a wrong message. It is better to speak our mind out rather than put up a facade and let things go worse.

      Yes, awareness especially amongst the younger generation to remain cautious and never abdicate self-respect is the key to escape domestic violence of all kinds…physical, mental, psychological and emotional.
      Thanks for standing by to share your perspective.

      1. I agree Balroop. Manipulation is a game that some enjoy playing and endurance doesn’t improve the situation, it worsens it in the long run.
        Makes sense to have a discussion on this. Have a nice day.

  8. Incredible post ~ hard hitting, and while I did feel a bit depressed learning how this is such an issue it was also a sense of relief that you (and others) are out there writing and bringing real options to this horrendous situations. I’ve known Asia has been a place where it often is not reported (and at times not even looked down upon), but I do think the younger generation and the flow of news/information via the internet and groups are changing this. At least I sure hope so ~ brilliant post.

    1. Hi Randall.

      Thank you so much for sharing your opinion on this topic as you are the only man who has done it!!
      I appreciate that this post is hitting hard…it had to, because this issue is very close to the heart of all those women who understand the pain…who have seen or lived through domestic violence.
      I am glad you you understand the need to write about such an issue, which most of the men brush aside as an exaggeration!
      Yes, modern awareness is rising, hopefully for the better future.
      Thanks for such a hopeful perspective. Stay blessed!

  9. A must read … Thanks for raising awareness on this rough topic, my friend…. Happy to read your words as you are spreading a powerful and necessary message here. Hugs and happy sunday. Aquileana ⭐

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