Domestic Abuse (or Domestic Violence as it is often called) is a situation that has destroyed many homes and caused death. It is usually an action carried out as a result of uncontrolled anger. A lot of people go through hell in their homes but keep it under wraps to continue with the mirage of a happy home or because of their children. The unfortunate thing is that the victims usually feel that they deserve to be abused. But is it really as straightforward as it looks? Here are some facts you should know about this scourge:
Anyone can be an Abuser
Contrary to popular belief, an abuser does not look or behave a certain type of way. Abusers sometimes grow up in privileged home and experience love and care like other children. A person who is good-looking, soft-spoken and super nice can be an abuser. This is because an abuser feels the need to shut his/her spouse up, correct and control them. He/she does this and sometimes makes up for it by buying gifts or cooking a delicacy or feeling sober for a little while all a bait to appeal to the victim afterwards return to status quo.
Anyone can be Abused
It is often believed that women are the only victims of abuse. However, this thought is quickly becoming a thing of the past as it is often whispered that some men are being abused by their wives. Due to the machismo associated with men, the cases of abuse against men usually go unreported. A lot of the women who abuse their husbands do sometimes because they think they can always get away with it/ as a preventive measure. The selfish need to put fear into him often makes them do this. A child that watched their father or mother go through abuse could feel the need to control the spouse when he/she grows up except he/she goes for counselling or makes a conscious effort to resist the urge.
Abuse can be Verbal
A lot of people believe that the only time someone can be abused is only when the person has been beaten up or sexually assaulted. This is far from the truth. Verbal abuse is more dangerous because what we hear affects our thinking. The power of words is often underestimated. Words can evoke bitterness in a person and make them do what they would ordinarily not do. Some couples go through divorce after many years of marriage because they are unable to let go of the hurtful things the person said years back. Verbal abuse can wreck a person’s health by leaving the door open for conditions like Depression, High Blood Pressure and Cancer. Verbal abuse can also destroy a person’s sense of worth. A lot of people end up with low self-esteem because their partners make them feel worthless. This can cause depression and eventually lead to suicide/death.
Abuse is about Control
The need to be in charge or subdue the next person is what gives rise to domestic violence. When a man or woman feels the need to give their spouse a reason to be afraid of them, that person might take it to the next level by lashing out at them mentally (using hurtful & demeaning words), physically (beating up the spouse), emotionally (cutting the spouse off from family & friends), financially (denying the spouse access to money so they can succumb). All the different expressions can be termed as abuse as it tampers with the well-being of the victim.
Abusers are Manipulators
Abusers are usually very good at reverse psychology. They always have a way of making the victim think that they caused it. He/she could tell the victim how no one would believe them. If that does not work, they can shed crocodile tears and threaten to kill themselves if the victim says anything about leaving. Sometimes, the abuser uses the carrot and stick technique. On one hand, they can win the victims over by showering them with expensive gifts to appeal to them. On the other hand, they can threaten to kill them or take the children away from them.
Marriage does not correct Abuse
Some people see signs of abuse and ignore such thinking it would change after marriage. Getting shouted at or receiving slaps during courtship is a red flag. Whatever a person does before marriage will not change after marriage. It will only get worse. If you are dating someone who does not value your opinion and shows disapproval by saying hurtful things, beating or shaking you to drive the point home, you need to break up that relationship. A man/woman who uses frustration as an excuse before marriage will cite frustration after the marriage. Prevention is better than cure. The damage caused by abuse is better imagined than experienced.
Children are also Victims: A lot of victims stay in the marriage because of the “how will I take care of my children?” factor. Some women do not envisage future challenges and as such don’t work to make ends meet. Even if she does, she might not be making so much to take care of them without the help of their father. Also a married woman is never welcomed back to her father’s house no matter what she experiences. She is only told to go back and endure. Unfortunately, staying in a toxic environment exposes the children to psychological trauma which can breed hatred for their parents. This can prevent the children from trusting people while making them potential abusers.
Ways to Tackle Abuse
- Speak Up: The first step is to speak up. If you are being abused, you need to cry for help. You can also record a discreet video as evidence so the necessary authorities will know that it is true. There are different bodies and NGOs that take up cases of abuse and ensure that victims get justice. You can reach out to such people to help you out.
- Separation: The next thing to do is to take the victim(s) including the children away from the abuser. This is usually done to save the lives of the victim and children. It is better to leave the abuser’s environment especially if your life is in danger
- Seek Counselling: Victims of abuse are usually traumatized due to the ill-treatment meted out on them. It is important to go for counselling in order to heal and come out of the effects of abuse. If the abuser is truly ready to desist from the act, he/she should go for counselling and be monitored. This should be done with caution as the abuser can pretend to be sorry and kill the victim once he/she moves back into the house.
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. As a person, don’t ignore any sign of abuse in your relationship. As a neighbour or friend, do not condone any act of abuse. Speak up today!