An email. Please do not immediately write it off and say “separation”, “legal action”… is there anything she can do BEFORE she can resort to that?

Sharing an email, ‘Please do not immediately write it off and say “separation”, “legal action”… is there anything she can do BEFORE she can resort to that?’

 And I hope Amir Khan discusses this social issue too.

Hi IHM

I would like to claim I am a feminist and generally read all the posts with a lot of interest and passion. This post is about  a very dear friend of mine and I would like to ask the readers for their advice as to what I should do to help her.

She has been married for the last 4 years and has a baby who is 1.5 yrs old. Hers was an arranged marriage, but she wholeheartedly consented to it. It was more like, her parents introduced the guy to her, they met, spoke and liked each other and then said yes. (Absolutely no forcing or anything). Her parents are very broad-minded people and love her (and her younger sister) to the core. They have ensured that they get a proper education and is able to stand on her own feet. She is a grad from **** and is super talented, independent and strong woman. She used to work but since her in laws didn’t want her to work (and definitely didn’t think highly of a **** grad -according to them, her choice of subject = not intelligent). Now, the decision to not work and abiding by her in laws was entirely her own but she told them categorically that she wanted to work once she had kids, for which they agreed.

She used to live with her in laws in another city, but they were extremely nasty to her. No – they were not the horror MILs which I read about so commonly on yours and GGTS blog, but they abused her emotionally. Always made her feel that she is not good enough, does not cook properly and used to mouth nasty stuff about her parents. Two years into the marriage, her husband got a job in the city her parents live and they both moved out of her in laws’ house and came to this city. She has had trouble looking after her son (he is more than a handful and has constant health problems) and had financial problems setting up her own house, so as an interim measure, they both decided to stay at her parents’ place.

I have met her husband, Mr WNV, a lot of times, we have gone out and have always felt that the guy I marry should be like him. Mr WNV was the super loving, romantic, funny and understanding guy I have met and I was so happy for my dear friend. She too loves her husband like crazy. Today she called me and what she said broke my heart. He has beat her. This was not an one off incident, this has happened 3-4 times in the past. All the other times, he has been this wonderful husband, but yes, he has beat her. I am horrified. Her mother is aware of this and told her “to adjust”. Her dad is not aware of it yet – coz I know for a fact that he will never say, “adjust”. He will not tolerate any kind of nonsense on his daughters and loves them to bits.

I do not know what I should do in this scenario. It is very easy for me to just say walk out, but I know it is far more complex than that. She does love her husband and has a little baby. Again, I do not want her parents to think that I am interfering into their family affair. Should I tell her dad? Should I ask her to talk to Mr Wonderful when not Violent (WNV) and tell him firmly this wont do and threaten him with legal action? She is no more the strong girl I knew- she has become a subdued woman with a BIG lacking of self – confidence. I realize that her in laws and her lack of financial independence has made her this way.

I am requesting you to tell me what i should do to help her. Please do not immediately write it off and say “separation”, “legal action”. Yes, if that is the last and only resort available. But, is there anything she can do BEFORE she can resort to that? I feel so helpless and realize all my fine talks of feminism are useless in this society where men like to think they own their wives and get away with domestic violence.

A concerned friend.

Related posts:

Open letter to all Phuddu married men – Amit
Closing that chapter – just as if nothing happened – Careless Chronicles
If she doesn’t seem to see your logic, would you support her the way she can be supported?

If she doesn’t seem to see your logic, will you support her the way she can be supported?

Mothers are known to say they stay in abusive relationships ‘for sake of their children’. ‘An email from a daughter whose mother endured everything because she did not want to ruin her daughters’ lives’ shows what the children (for whom the mothers say they suffered the abuse) go through.

Neo Indian had also blogged about, ‘Mommy’s secret: The monster in my house (an essay by a 4th grader)’.

It is generally agreed and understood that victims should remove themselves from such situations.

What stops them?

In fairytales, you have the good characters and the bad characters. One is easily recognizable as evil, and the other is 100% good. Good witch vs. Bad Witch. Hero vs. Villain. Real life doesn’t work that way though. In abusive relationships, the abuser can easily transform from beast to beauty. It’s a misconception that abuse happens 24/7.

The same man, who calls you every name in the book, will act nurturing when you talk about a fight with your mom.

The father, who is sexually abusing you, is offering to help and console you when you just lost your job.

The friend, who humiliates you in front of others and jabs at your self-esteem, constantly buys you gifts and says you’re the best.

The abused person will struggle with recognizing the abuse, because “he/she is nice to me sometimes! He/she has done this and that for me. They can’t be that bad.”

It’s these random acts of kindness, which is during the honeymoon phase, that keep us emotionally dependent on the abuser.

[Click to read the entire article.]

If a victim does not leave, do they still deserve support?

They do. And the first step is understanding ‘why don’t they just leave’.

Supporting a domestic violence victim can be difficult and confusing. One day they will be telling you their partner is a complete jerk. The next day that same person will be starry eyed and defending them. You will be left scratching your head and thinking “What the?!”

If you find yourself in the situation of helping someone in a violent relationship, educate yourself on domestic violence and the cycle it follows. (Given below)

Listen to your friend without judgment.

Don’t belittle their concerns.

Don’t try to hustle them on to a more pleasant subject.

Don’t tell them what they “should” do.

You are not them, and you are not going through it.

Don’t try to better their situation with woes about your own partner.

Your friend needs all the strength and support they can get right now. Support them wherever you can, as long as you are not placing yourself in danger.

If you believe their life is in danger, go to the police.

At times it may be confusing and frustrating to see your friend making progress, only to go back to their partner time after time.

Please don’t give up on them.

While their actions may seem bizarre to you, try to understand that they are undergoing massive emotional turmoil. Sometimes, all you can do is be a shoulder to cry on until they are ready to leave.

Try not to become frustrated with them.

Just reassure them that you will always be there to help when they need you. A safe space and your kind words may be a beacon of hope for your lost and lonely friend. [Click to read the entire article.]

The Domestic Violence Cycle [From here]

The domestic violence cycle involves 6 stages: build-up, stand-over, explosion, remorse, pursuit, and honeymoon. Not all stages are present in every situation.

1.) The Build-Up Phase

The abuser’s anger rises. The relationship does not need to be the cause of the anger.

2.) The Stand-Over Phase

Tension is in the air and the victim may have a sense of ‘walking on eggshells.’ They know that a fight is just around the corner, and may alter their behaviour to try to ward it off.

3.) The Explosion Phase

The abuse occurs. This can be emotional, sexual, financial or physical.

4.) The Remorse Phase

After an incident, the abuser may feel remorse about what they have done, or fear that the victim will tell someone. They may become very apologetic.

5.) The Pursuit Phase

The abuser tries to win the victim back by making promises of changing, going to counselling, giving up drugs or alcohol, buying gifts for the victim, and begging her to stay.

6.)The Honeymoon Phase

The abuser is very sweet, charming, affectionate, and loving during this phase. The good times of the relationship happen in this time. The honeymoon phase is what makes it so difficult for a victim to leave the abuser.

The victim may also reject help from others she has sought in previous phases. The relationship appears happy and normal. Soon, however, the tension begins to build again, and the cycle re-enters the build-up phase.

The Queensland Police website has this visual example of the domestic violence cycle.

My personal opinion is that the abuse follows a downward spiral as opposed to a cycle, as it ususally gets more violent and the stages are completed in a shorter space of time.

This is how I see it:

Desi Girl says,

If you know someone is being abused this is how you can help:

A) Information is Power. Inform yourself about intimate partner violence (IPV) how abuse works, learn about characteristics of an abuser, what happens to the abused and what is cycle of violence.

B) If you suspect someone is being abused, assure them you are genuinely concerned and you believe them. Listen carefully.

C) Tell them being abused is not their fault. The fault lies with the abuser for they made a choice to abuse her. Think. Abusers don’t hit their friends, bosses or strangers then why do they hit just their partners and children? They hit them because they know they can get away with it.

[Read the article here]