Wednesday, September 26, 2012

#Marital Abuse-The Deadly Tie

Choosing a life partner is serious business.And risky.Risky because a wrong choice could jeopardize your health,happiness & safety.Any number of irritants could breed discord in a conjugal relationship but the one which is deadliest of all is-abuse.As we all know,abuse could be emotional,physical or sexual.Most of the times,it is the female who is the victim.Almost always,this truth is hidden scrupulously from outsiders.Strangely,it is the victim herself who will go the extra mile to hide it.In this way a crime which could plumb to the depths of torture,inhumanity & crime,is assured immunity from law & societal censure.This cuts off the victim from all probable sources of support & protection.Her isolation exacerbates her vulnerability.

Let us consider what all a victim has to put up with.Emotional abuse starts innocuously enough.The tyrant wants to have everything his way.He does not like contradiction,criticism or debate.If she fails to comply he may withdraw his affections or give her the silent treatment.Going a step further he may bully her into obeying his orders.Or still worse,he begins to humiliate her as being incompetent, uncouth,uncultured--or un-whatever.Equality?Respect?Consideration? No sir!These words do not exist in his dictionary.

As for physical abuse,starting from threats & intimidation,it could go on to pushing,slapping,hitting,punching & thrusting upon her,sexual acts which she abhors.Adultery & betrayal would pale in comparison.


This is followed by more emotional & psychological abuse.She is made to feel that it is her fault that all this is happening to her.There are glaring shortcomings in her personality & behavior which fuel his righteous anger.A victim is branded as the root cause of the fracas.The whole purpose is to demoralize her to such an extent that all thoughts of resistance & rebellion are quashed for ever.


An episode of abuse is generally succeeded by acts of repentance,conciliation & promises of better behavior.As a result the victim shrugs it off as a one time occurrence & stifles all thoughts of reporting him to the authorities.If the abuser sticks to his word then of course nothing much remains to be said.A more stubborn spouse or partner could be brought around by consulting Marriage counselors or Psychologists.


But what does one do when a violent episode is followed by another & then many others ? Slowly the time gap between these episodes decreases untill it becomes a daily routine.Minor scuffles give way to serious acts of aggression and she is likely to suffer grievous injuries.In order to ward off future attacks ,she tries to please him by following all his dictums.The more she caves in the more domineering he becomes.Her efforts to buy pace give contrary results.Here i am talking of a compulsive sociopath or a psychopath whom it is difficult to reform.Life with such a person is not only stressful but also dreadful.It is not unusual for such a relationship to end in the victim's death murder.


On the emotional front she lives in a perpetual state of fear,shame&impending doom. It is but natural that this sort of life leaves a ghastly impact upon her psyche.There is mammoth erosion of self esteem & confidence.She loses all hopes of fighting her tormentor & finding peace for herself.Nor can she see any savior coming from outside to rescue her.

There are three reasons why this is so.Firstly such an anti-social personality keeps his private life hermetically sealed from prying eyes.He is also very good at impressing people by his pleasing ways.Secondly,he has probably shackled his wife well&proper.Thirdly,she herself being ashamed of the treatment meted out to her;has wilfully severed all ties with relatives,friends & well wishers.All in all,she finds herself alone & helpless in face of grave danger.


Therefore if a woman realizes that she is living with such a person,it is time for her to take stock of the situation.She has to decide whether she wants to stick it out or get out fast.Here are some warning signals which can aid her decision-

*She tries hard to please him in every possible manner.Obeys him.

*She is scared most of the time.Dreads being alone with him.

*Minor clashes give way to major brawls.

*Small cuts or bruises are replaced by deeper cuts,welts or fractures.

*Violence becomes a daily feature.

*Her mood deteriorates consistently & she feels that she is slipping into depression.

If any victim feels that she can relate to some of the points mentioned above,then it is certainly time to break free.But this is not how,many sufferers view it.We are often amazed as to why they continue to live in such  hell-holes.The answer to this question is as complex as the situation itself.Perhaps--


*She is not economically independent.

*She does not have any support system to fall back upon.

*She is afraid of being alone.

*She is apprehensive that if her own home could not offer protection to her,how will she find safety outside it's confines.


*She still has love for the perpetrator.

*She hopes he will turn over a new leaf.

*She is afraid that if she leaves her conjugal home,it will sully her image.

*She has been conditioned to believe that her husband is her superior & she should put up with his behavior-however cruel it might be.


*She does not want to opt out because of her children.


*She has had a traumatic childhood & thinks that she deserves no better.


*She has no knowledge of any agency which can offer shelter to her.


*The villain of the piece has threatened her 
with dire consequences if she dares to leave him.

Thus we see that there are so many factors which pressurize her to stay put despite serious danger to her life.However it is necessary to point out that today there are many Shelter Homes run by the Central Social Welfare Board of India for the protection of such women.State Social Welfare Boards & various NGOs also provide such facilities.In addition to this there are Mahila Thanas & Family Courts to help women in distress.Over & above are various laws which shield women from atrocities & punish offenders.The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 offers protection to not only wives & live-in partners,but also to sisters,widows & single women living with the abuser.More information about this Act can be found here.


Putting up with abuse or getting the abuser punished is a very personal decision.Only the aggrieved can make a choice.But turbulent circumstances tend to cloud a person's judgement &it is advisable to consult a counselor at such times.At the risk of being labeled an oxymoron i would say that while patience & forbearance can resurrect a sagging relationship;putting up with a life-threatening & increasingly violent relationship is counter productive.It is best to get out of it while there is still time.

42 comments :

  1. What a post Indu!! Power talk! I loved it completely.

    It is always hard to address the hurts that are inside. In fact if we don't deal with it in time, they too will fester and show up in different ways - BP, heart probs, depression etc etc. But rather take your way to deal with them and live life to the full, positively!

    Wonderful and empowering post, Indu!Kudos...

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are bang on Panchali,we tend to suppress hurts & relegate ourselves to the last priority, but it takes it's toll in the ways you mentioned.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is such a saddening post to read early in the day, yet, you have described the predicament of many a woman. I fully subscribe to Panchali's views above.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. UMASHANKAR jee it is a sad tale no doubt.Thanks for your visit,seeing you here after a long time.

      Delete
  4. When a spouse starts living on tenterhooks, afraid of whether what she does - whatever it be - will please her husband or make him angry, it is a sure sign that she is living with a domineering husband. I am not talking about the uncertainties of the initial days of marriage here. It has always surprised me that people allow themselves to be so easily manipulated - but that is the irrationality of hope, I suppose!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Suresh this has to be an enigma for a bachelor,although i do remember you as being very perceptive of a woman's emotions in your post,i guess your feelings here too,stem from your empathy for the victim.She suffers all this for the sake of peace.As you must have read-some of them have no other alternative.

      Delete
  5. Very informative post. But when it occurs the other way round it is still worse. A man dare not confess in public that he is being abused by his wife as other men will laugh at him. And if the abuse starts very late in life after retirement, even leaving will be unimaginable after living with a woman for 30-35 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Karthik more & more men are being targeted nowadays & the laws are all in the women's favor.

      Delete
  6. very true indu...n i love the awareness you spread with your evry post....

    ReplyDelete
  7. In today's world it is very important to give a girl child the best upbringing and education, so that she can weather any storm! It is sad that those who are educated and well off still do not resist this phenomena of abuse!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What you say will certainly help to make a woman self reliant & empower her.Along with this i think we need to inculcate the right values in our boys too.

      Delete
  8. Very sensitive issue thoughtfully dealt with, Induji. It always saddens me to hear or read of such incidences when the woman is tortured and she does nothing but suffer in silence. There, of course could be many reasons as you have highlighted above. To suffer silently without telling anyone is also a crime. Kudos to you for throwing light on topics like these. Your earnest vision to help people in need truly deserves a huge round of applause.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Arti you are very generous with praise,it keeps me going.But you know whenever there is a glitch on the tech front,it is you IB friends only who rescue me,therefore you are equal participants in this journey.Thanks a lot.

      Delete
  9. A post that every girl should read before she gets into a relationship or formalises it. This would make her aware of what to expect and how to deal with it if it occurs. Great initiative, Indu. I hope your professional services are made use of by those need it.

    This new font is not so great, Indu. It is rather difficult on the eye.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Zephyr thanks,your commendation sends me to the seventh heaven.
      About the fonts-actually i thought that these would be easy to read.Thanks for telling me.

      Delete
  10. Very good post addressing a common and unresolved issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Suhas welcome to my blog,i am glad you like this post.Tell me how you like the blog?

      Delete
  11. It is such a serious issue and I wonder how can anyone bears it but as you listed there are many causes. I think our society should change its outlook and tell that being out of relation when it is abusive is not the fault of victim. And as you said it is better to come out when there is time.

    Thanks for sharing this analysis with us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Saru if the society revised it's norms it would certainly be easy for such victims.Thanks for visiting.

      Delete
  12. What a post Indu! A real eye opener! Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. A wonderful piece, Indu. Very useful information. Perhaps the best first step is to share the abuse with someone close as soon as it is repeated (if not the first time) and not hide it away out of shame, fear or a desire to keep the family together. Posts like yours give the abused much needed courage to act in their own and their kids' long term interest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for this lovely comment,your saying that this post will empower someone to exit an abusive relationship,has made my day!

      Delete
  14. Appreciate your efforts...really good job!

    I'm sure you are changing a lot of things for many people out there...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A very warm welcome to jeeteraho Geeta,thanks for your encouragement.

      Delete
  15. A very well thought of and analyzed post. Pains to think of the plight of all those women who have had to endure such mishaps at the cost of marriage. And I'm sure this would definitely make a change in the life of someone!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ashwini for your generous praise.True such a marriage is a horrible place to be in-i do hope it helps.

      Delete
  16. I think every sane human being should read this. I have gone through it wide-eyed.

    http://www.anucreations.blogspot.in
    http://www.facebook.com/VolatileSpirits

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anupama you overwhelm me with this sweet comment.Welcome to jeeteraho.

    ReplyDelete
  18. an extremely informative post ,you have brought to fore the various forms of abuse with great clarity.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sucharita thanks a lot for your appreciation.

    ReplyDelete
  20. May all the women out there who needs help read this one. Good luck to everything you pursue to do in this aspect. You have analysed all the points so well.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I think this is your first visit or comment on my blog,thanks a lot for your support.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Very very well said Indu. Some men think they are dictators in the household. The thing is they themselves are not enjoying the fruits of matrimony in their efforts at making their spouses lives miserable. Wwhat I mean to say is, they themselves do not gain anything except a sheer pleasure of superiority or tyranny. right?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Yes Jaishree,how can a woman love a spouse who beats her?This is a paltry satisfaction which such persons get.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Indu, this is such a pertinent and comprehensive post filled with information. You have covered so many aspects of the problems. I have come across such women personally. One of them actually cut me off and continued to live with the perpetrator for the sake of kids. Really good post.

    ReplyDelete
  25. It is very sad that such women are left with little choice when they think that breaking off will affect their children adversely.Thank you Rachna for your support.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I think now women are beginning to stand up and speak against the abuse. And, take appropriate steps too!

    Times are changing for the better now...but still a long way to go in this area.

    ReplyDelete

I thrive on comments.Will you oblige ?