Domestic Violence ~ Why we should believe

Violence of any kind is reprehensible. And Domestic violence more so, as it is enacted by a person to control, suppress and repress his/her wife/husband/partner/family member. Domestic violence includes spousal abuse, battering, intimate partner violence, physical, emotional and mental abuse, neglect, intimidation of subtle and overt kinds. There can be many, many types of violence, both overt and covert.

While occasional temper tantrums and   disagreements are routine part of everyday life, what differentiates DV is the systematic, continuous pattern of abuse which the spouse is subjected to. Secondly, the intention to control. It is a vicious cycle. The abuser seeks to control the abused person using any method including blackmail.

It is highly frequent but it is more difficult to establish and prove clearly owing to the fact, that it often occurs behind closed doors and secondly, the social position of the aggressor may render it difficult to publicise accusations. Especially, in a country like India, where many women find it difficult to handle the social stigma, it is very easy and natural to remain silent. So while there  may be a few which are publicised owing to various reasons, a majority of them may be unknown. Even in the cases of celeb cases, many times they fade off from public eye ( zeenat aman-mazhar khan, salman khan-aishwarya rai) probably owing to fears of reputation of the victim and for the sake of family. One never sees them being penalised for their actions.

While domestic violence is unarguably,a known  and sad reality of life for many women in India and in rest of the world, what is more shocking is the attitude by which people respond to accusations of domestic violence against women. While a few are supportive and positive, many are cynical, question the woman’s background, attitudes, leanings, skepticism. In the case of well known people who are victims, it is even worse.  In a recent conversation on twitter, one could obtain a sample of the responses  and glean the mindsets. The conversation is here.

In my view, Accusations of domestic violence should never be taken lightly. One should give benefit of doubt to the victim, while keeping in mind that every person  (including abuser) needs to be heard. An open mind set is required.  Cynicism and conditional support till the story is completely proven is technically fine but at end of day, in a genuine case, this would be really dehumanising as victim is left to fend for him/herself in a traumatising situation. Hence, i feel we can do a greater service to humanity by being supportive.Yes, there are and would be people who misuse the laws and sympathy of others by false cases, but does that mean we become cynical to everyone? Isn’t that a blot on our humanity? What is the point of giving support when the victim is no longer in need of it?

One has to understand, that given the sort of societal structure and importance for reputations in a country such as India,obtaining support from one’s own family is itself a challenging process. Many times, it is the family who degrades you and disrespects your needs for the sake of its reputation. So, as society members, why do we want to add on to that set of challenges? We have a choice. To be human. We should and must exercise it.

And for the abuser also, we have to be human. We need to understand the roots of the abuse. Many times childhood abuse/insecurities/psychological issues may be behind the perpetrator’s actions.  We must condemn the action of abuse but we must need to give help in the form of counselling. But, at the same time, if the relationship is not safe or healthy any longer, we need to ensure that the abuser does not get chances to victimise again. Hence, the need for publicity and legal action.  Abuse is cruel but it is equally bad being an abuser  or victim. We have to be fair to all.

Ultimately, in such cases, the law and investigating authorities would decide based on evidence. This may be a long drawn out fight with public scrutiny and inquisition, hence why so many hesitate to come forward. Even the courageous women who come forward, face such difficulties and flak. A recent case of Meena Kandasamy‘s public detailing of her shocking violent marriage in a magazine, invoked a whole range of responses on twitter. ( Conversations)Her own celebrity/activist status seems to have worked against her, creating disbelievers and skeptics who challenge everything she say. If a well known person can face this much inquisition, what about victims from humbler backgrounds, who have no support structures?

Some people accuse victims of making up stories. True, it is possible. But I believe, that no woman or man, in his right senses, would ever do that unless they have a grudge against that person and they are going all out to destroy the person or they seek to obtain some monetary benefits. If the latter is true, it will come out during investigations and in the courts. Justice may be delayed but not denied.

A victim, whether it is a man or a woman, needs to be supported at all times while an abuser, a man or woman, should be given help to manage conquer his/her abusive traits, without ensuring the re -victimization. Howsoever, the truth may play out,  as circumstances and more evidence comes out, is a different issue. But, we, as humans, need to ensure that our humanity is not compromised by other issues. we should never fail to hear calls for help, no matter how many wolves in sheep clothing may be there.

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About terriblethinker

dreamer, hoper, lover of life, beauty and nature, passionate about reading and music

Posted on March 14, 2012, in Abuse, India, Social Issues, Uncategorized, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Am feeling sad after reading this post by you..my heart goes out for all my dear sisters and friends facing this dastardly cowardice act by male counterparts in form of domestic violence..Personally I have heard many such cases here .. some women choose to speak out and many hapless women dont..My hubby’s Colleague Rekha by name, is one live example of domestic violence..Fell in Love with a Muslim Guy..Soon before her honeymooning was over .. everyone saw marks of beating on her face..to the extent that she has gone deaf in her right ear..Still most surprisingly, she has completed 10 years of marriage with this fellow..I am appalled by this fact..In spite of so much of abuse she faced..she has put up with him all these years and is a mother of two kids..

    Many a times, I suggested her to walk out of this abusive marriage .. she just didnt do it for the sake of her kids and had another problem of being deserted by her own parents and siblings which also gave her mental strains..Whenever I met her along with her husband..he seemed to be very courteous warm and friendly..unable to believe that he could abuse a woman to this extent physically and mentally..with his extra marital affair in the background too with a divorcee..How could Rekha stand this guy ? It was unfathomable for me or to imagine even..but she is still there as his wife..what for ? What pathetic life is she leading ? He apologizes too time and again but repeats .. the frequency of beatings have reduced though..coz of their lovely daughter Aarzoo growing up watching all this..He is mellowing down a little ..so was this friend of mine right in putting up or bearing with him all these years ? She has gone through it all.pushing, shaking, throwing something, slapping, arm twisting, hair pulling, punching, kicking, dragging, beating .. Why did she bear him and his cruelty yet lived on with him in spite of being financially independent ?
    There are many other cases where there is no domestic violence but sheer mental torture as either spouse is having an affair outside marriage..He doesnt beat or abuse his wife but is not ready to give up on his lady love outside marriage in spite of fathering a child in his legal marriage..Poor wife is persuading him but he would not relent..She ( a cousin a 25 yr old girl) is planning to walk out of this marriage by next month..she seems to be very depressed..I have supported her decision..She is in Kerala right now..born and brought up in Jaipur Rajasthan .. She never thought she would have a bad marriage..which was an arranged one.. Am in tears imagining her and cute son’s (all of 3) plight..She is not even earning or independent .. worried about her future ..
    So it is we the women who bear the brunt of this domestic violence in form of abuse or not..It is either physical or both physical and mental torture .. We must voice our concern support each other..stand up for our rights..give emotional and mental support to such victims of abuse..I am doing my part whenever I come to know about it..
    Just yesterday I mailed to my cousin’s hubby disapproving his act and clearly told him that he would definitely face consequences for this cheating on my sister by him..I just poured out all my anger in this mail..He seems to be least apologizing for his behaviour and extra marital affair..enjoying his life in Saudi Arabia living with his lover woman..Am sad .. Hope my cousin will be fine and will come over it ..

  2. It is an eye opener. Sadly most often the victim keeps quiet for the sake of his or her family. i know people both male and female who go through abuse mentally and physically. its time that things like these are put to end.
    good write up.

  3. That was a very painful account. I am just proud of you for being so supportive.

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