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Are there any of these signs of intimate partner abuse in your significant relationship? You have to read this list of signs – to understand why you don’t feel completely comfortable with him.
Recently there was a viral video of a young man beating his ex-girlfriend mercilessly in Delhi, and his friend making a video of the incident. As is the case with most of such incidents some debates on social media blamed the woman for not retaliating, and in a way shifted the focus from the abuser to the abused in the typical victim blaming fashion of our society.
While all cases of abuse are not sexual in nature, psychologists have proven that the main factor remains the power equation, that leads to assertion of that power by violence by the stronger person on the weaker one.
The concept of learned helplessness becomes significant here as women in most conventional societies like ours are made to believe, or conditioned to believe and accept that they are weaker, and secondary to men, and they can’t resist a man’s dominance in any way.
Often commonplace beliefs like boys will be boys, and that husband/father/brother have a right to hit, you make girls/women totally unaware of even the fact that they are being abused in intimate relationships. In the face of such complicit normalisation of violence, it is a bit too far-fetched to assert or believe that one fine day the victim/survivor shall find strength or voice against such systematic oppression.
A research at the Korlinska Institute of the South General Hospital in Stockholm Sweden has proposed in a research that often victims of violent abuse exhibit “tonic immobility”, a reflex action of being frozen, found even in animals in the face of a predator attack.
CDC, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention defines intimate partner abuse as: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious, preventable public health problem that affects millions of Americans. The term “intimate partner violence” describes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking and psychological aggression (including coercive acts) by a current or former intimate partner.
Essentially, the abuser can be a husband/ partner/ boyfriend/ lover, and this abuse need not be the overt kind which causes any physical damage or leaves visible scars, and a lot of it is normalised in the name of tradition or culture, and often if someone speaks up, they are in turn blamed or slut shamed, instead of taking the abuser to task.
Society needs to understand that while it is imperative to empower girls for self-defence and physical strength, if in a situation they are not able to resist a violent attack they must not be blamed. Along with this girls and women need to understand what behaviour can be categorised as intimate partner abuse.
Your husband/partner/boyfriend/lover is abusive if:
If even one of these behaviours is being displayed by your partner, he is abusive, and it needs to be dealt with. Please think about ways to make him change his behaviour or make amends for this relationship. If that doesn’t work, the only solution is to quit, but first ensure your safety or safety of kids if any involved in this situation with you. You must also get physically, psychologically, mentally, and financially stronger, try to learn a method of self-defence, and not be so emotionally dependent in a relationship that you “allow” continuous long-term abuse.
You can learn here more about intimate partner abuse, and ways of coping and self-care in such a situation.
A version of this was first published on the author’s FB page.
Header image – stills from Provoked & English Vinglish
Pooja Priyamvada is a columnist, professional translator and an online content and Social Media consultant.
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