April 6, 2020
Domestic abuse is one of the biggest and most dangerous problems that we face as a society.
Especially these days where there has been an increase in domestic abuse since everyone is staying home where they have to be around their abuser 24/7.
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse is a series of harmful and controlling behavior that can be life-threatening at times.
The misconceptions surrounding domestic abuse.
People tend to think that men do not suffer from domestic abuse which makes it harder for men to talk about it or even see themselves as victims.
Even though the majority of domestic abuse victims are women, it is a problem that affects people all around the world regardless of gender, age, religion, and race.
In addition, another huge misconception is that the perpetrator is always a spouse or a significant other when in fact the abuser can be a parent, a sibling or even a friend.
What falls under domestic abuse?
The most known type of domestic abuse is physical violence which contrary to popular belief does not have to be actions that leave marks or cause permanent damage.
There are also different types of domestic abuse such as:
Emotional abuse is a type of behavior that the abuser uses to gain control over the victim’s psychological state by saying or doing humiliating and intimidating things, being overly jealous, making the victim feel worthless and blaming the victim for their mistakes like cheating.
This type of domestic abuse is very common seeing that most people do not recognize it as a form of abuse when it’s in fact a mean for the abuser to make the victim financially dependent on them by hiding money or refusing to give it to them, forbidding the victim to work or go to school and they can sometimes go as far as running up debt in the victim’s name.
When the victim severs all ties with the abuser usually the abuser starts harassing them by stalking and following them, sending unwanted messages or making unwanted visits and refusing to leave when asked.
Ways to stop domestic abuse.
If you know the victim:
-Listen to what they have to say without being judgemental and tell them that you believe them because one of the biggest reasons why domestic abuse victims refuse to speak up is the fear of being judged or not being believed.
-Never underestimate abuse just because it’s emotional and there are no physical signs of it, abuse is dangerous no matter what form it takes.
-Respect their right to make their own decision because pressuring them to leave doesn’t always work.
-Stay in contact with them, offer help in any way you can. Support their bravery of coming forward and opening up about their abuse.
-Help them come up with a safe plan because most of the time it’s hard for the victim to know what to do so it’s important for you to help them protect themselves.
-Know that you’re not their savior and that there’s nothing you can do unless they want to help themselves first.
-Tell them about the services available, knowing more information can help abuse victims reach a decision and it may even save their lives.
If you are the victim:
-Recognize the abuse, the patterns, and the toxic behaviour, never ignore the red flags.
-Know that you are not alone and that it’s not your fault, you don’t deserve to be treated this way and you deserve so much better and it’s never too late to ask for help. Abusers are often manipulators and sociopaths and no one is going to blame you for ending up with someone like that.
-Document everything you’re going through.
-Start a conversation, talk to a trusted friend.
-Save up some money.
-Plan what you’re going to do once you leave your abuser. Your life doesn’t stop once you leave, you need to be able to move forward.
-Alert the authorities if you ever feel that your life is being threatened.
-Leave your abuser and don’t let them again into your life no matter how hard they try, there are people out there who can help you with that.
-Move on and don’t let this experience affect your future relationships.
Services available for abuse victims:
-The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood. (Hotline: 16000)
-National Council for Women: مكتب شكاوى المرأة
During these difficult times, we need to shed light on this issue as being stuck at home can worsen some situations as tensions tend to rise even more. We need to start reacting to this as soon as possible; Check on your loved ones, always keep an eye for abuse signs, and offer help and counseling in any way you can.
There are many more NGOs and initiatives that are focused on helping domestic abuse victims, the first step in getting out of this is acknowledging the abuse and reaching out for help. And remember, this isn’t your fault and you’re not alone, it’s okay to feel afraid and helpless, but you’re not. Abusers use trauma and fear in order to reinforce their control over their victims, be not afraid of breaking this cycle of fear.
Originally written by: Farah Gaber.