This week, I had contact with a lady going through domestic violence and I can tell you my mind was spinning after I heard her chilling story.
She got married a little over a year over. Her husband allegedly showed no violent nature during their courtship, but 4 months into the marriage, the violence started. Her husband would beat her to a pulp for every slight mistake and non - mistake. She’s got a lot of scars to show for her over one-year stay with her husband. Surprisingly, her one-year-old son is manifesting symptoms of shock and fear; possibly as a result of witnessing his father beat his mother over a long period.
What I found appalling in the whole story was the fact that the guy, after beating her to a pulp, would request for food and intimacy, which she must quickly provide, even if she was sleeping or taking care of her wounds! I said to myself, ‘this is not love. It’s pure abuse!’
Whenever they have issues, the lady leaves the house to squat with friends but each time, the guy would find out where she was and fish her out to follow him home. I actually met the lady while squatting with a friend recently and it was surprising that by mid-day, the guy had found out where she was and dragged her back home! As I write, she’s back to their matrimonial home but the lady is far from happy but she cannot get out because she’s economically dependent on the guy, has low self -esteem and afraid of what will happen to her and her son should she quit the marriage. I wake up every day to ask myself, ‘what’s the way out for people like her?’ That’s why I’ve decided to do this article; to spark up interest in issues pertaining to spousal abuse and how to help such women.
Statistics About Domestic Violence
Violence against women statistics are not definite as most cases are not reported and even in cases where they’re reported, many are not documented, as many states do not require documentation of cases that do not meet a certain standard of severity. For example, only violence requiring medical treatment is reported to doctors or hospitals. Because not all medical practitioners or facilities have a protocol for dealing with domestic violence, many injuries treated medically are not recorded as abuse.
So, I won’t do statistics with numbers but the truth is: violence against women exists and many celebrities have come out to reveal their domestic violence experiences.
One of such women is Christian Aguilera who talked about how she suffered, alongside her mother, in the hands of her Army Sergeant father, Fausto and how she used music as an escape from the trauma of her beatings. As well as how her mother eventually moved out, taking her daughters to live with their grandmother.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is any form of deliberate and persistent abuse and injury perpetrated by a woman against her partner or a man against his partner. The injury may not always be physical. It may be emotional, social, financial, sexual, etc
I know a man can also be abused in a relationship but in this article, I want to look at domestic violence against women and children.
There is a huge difference between domestic violence and arguments. Couples argue most of the time and in a non-abusive relationship, both partners can say their mind without fear but in an abusive relationship, one of the partners would force or threaten the other into submission.
Different Types of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is emotional when a partner consistently puts the other partner down, making him or her feel bad or stupid. It involves a bit of blackmail, particularly when one of the partner threatens to commit suicide if jilted.
Domestic violence is financial when one of the partners refuses the other partner access to family money. Most times, women are forced to stop working for a living to take proper care of the family and the men exploit their not having cash to refuse them access to cash, so they can control and intimidate them.
Domestic violence is sexual when one of the partners asks the other for sexual postures he or she is not comfortable with. I honestly think this is wrong, even among married couples.
Domestic violence is social when one of the partners refuses the other access to relations and friends. It can also extend to stopping a partner from looking for a job and even ‘stalking’ a partner, each time he or she is out of sight.
Last but not the least; domestic violence is physical when it involves bodily harm, actual beating, starving, threatening to beat, etc. Many women who go through such experiences live to tell the story but many don’t. So, how can we nip this ugly trend in the bud?
What’s the Solution to Domestic Violence Against Women and Children?
Each time a woman undergoing domestic violence confides in a friend or relation, their first reaction is to ask the woman move out of the relationship. But, I honestly think there’s more attached than just leaving and that is why many abused women are still enduring their abusive relationships. For these women, the solution to an abusive relationship goes beyond just leaving; it extends to security for them and their kids (especially in cases where the man has threatened to kill should the woman report to a constituted authority), economic empowerment, etc
Currently solutions to domestic violence present incredible assistance and vital options to women who have resources and who want to end their relationships or leave their partners. Such women can move to a shelter, ask the police to arrest their partners and even can ask the court to eject violent partners. In some states in the U.S., women can fight more effectively for custody but what happens to women who have no means to fight or even petition the court? I guess more light and scrutiny has to be thrown in that direction.
One woman who has done a lot in this wise is Susan Schechter, a Clinical Professor at The University of Iowa School of Social Work. She once presented a paper on Expanding Solutions for Domestic Violence and Poverty: What Battered Women with Abused Children Need from Their Advocates, in which she advocated a public policy agenda on domestic violence and poverty, which would ensure that abused women have access to decent housing, jobs and financial support for their families - whether they end their relationships or keep up with it. These benefits, she believes, would remove obstacles that keep many women trapped in abusive relationships.
Like Susan, I also think a lot more can be done for financially handicapped women who go through abuse in marriage. Do you think so too? What solutions would you suggest aside calling the national domestic violence hotline (1.800.799.7233 or 1.800.787.3224), moving to a shelter, getting the court to eject a violent partner, etc? I sincerely look forward to hearing from you.
But for now, let’s take a long and critical look at spousal abuse against women, as the next victim might be your sister, mother, niece, friend, etc. And God help her if she lives to tell the story!