Domestic violence is not just a relationship issue. It is a social issue. It is a crime, and is prevalent in our society. What will it take to stop this violence against women?
The recent case involving a retired high court judge that went viral is again a stark reminder that it is high time that this issue gets addressed. There are laws in place. However, what we desperately need is a change in the societal mindset — especially the way this issue is processed, handled and the ‘so called’ resolutions.
Domestic violence in India, and in many other countries too, is shrouded in a culture of shame and silence. Society and culture instills in us the importance of family and the role of a dad (or mom) in a relationship. We often hear how family is the bedrock of a society.
However, we forget to teach the importance of a happy and a fun home sans domestic violence. We forget to teach how the behaviour of one adult abusing another is not acceptable and can bring only more harm than anything else.
Many domestic abuse victims mention how their parents and close family members, and sometimes even the legal authorities when approached, counsel them to be more forgiving and patient for the problem to get fixed. What they fail to ask or address is, is the perpetrator willing to change?
Rather the abused is expected to understand and be more patient for the issue to get resolved.
While I am a firm believer of ‘Family comes first’, I also believe that nobody has to endure abuse from anyone. Abusive relationships can be nothing but toxic.
Domestic violence is more than the infliction of physical violence. It takes various forms. This can include repeated humiliation, insults, denial of economic resources, the constant threats, and limitations on social mobility.
Apart from the social and cultural conditioning, economic dependence is another big reason, why women choose to remain in abusive relationships.
Also when this is taken to courts, these cases can become long drawn legal battles. There is still a social stigma attached to it and awareness needs to be built around it.
However, in the moms community, there are some fabulous strong women, who have beautifully rebuilt themselves and created a happy, positive & more importantly, a safe space for their children. It is no easy journey, but it is also not an impossible feat.
The best solution for domestic violence is to prevent anyone from becoming an abuser. Social and cultural messages have to go out. Children should be taught that violence can never be an answer and how detrimental it can be.
Boys need to be taught that it is okay to feel weak or to cry. And that anger is not the only reaction to every emotion that you feel inside of you.
However, the above solution only addresses the future. What about those suffering in silence today and still living in abusive relationships?
If you see a friend going through abuse, you can help them by doing some of these things: Listen to them and acknowledge the situation. Give them a patient and non-judgmental listening
- Provide them with emotional support
- Try finding important information resources and references that they can use
- Connect them to a support group
As much as you cannot watch a loved one suffer, it has to be the victim’s decision to do the needful. Make them understand that it is important to respect oneself and cannot allow anyone abuse them.
If you are the one in the toxic or abusive relationship, please seek immediate help and support from a loved one.
Create a safety plan (an internet search will help) and keep it handy. Remember you may not have control over your partner’s violent behaviour, but it is in your power to react and do the right thing.
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