Psychological Impact of Domestic Violence

If you find yourself in a place where there is no respect and trust for you it is an indication that you should come out of such a place and keep moving forward for a better future.

I was reading through news and other stuff online and I felt it is important to talk about how humans treat each other, even their close family members. We must see the reality head on and accept our mistakes in order to evolve into a better version of ourselves. After all, we only have one life to live. And it is important to not hurt anyone in any way during this lifetime. 

Coming to the news I read, a 70-year-old woman was found to be locked in a toilet for two years by her son and daughter-in-law. It was said that on 1st Jan 2020 she had suffered a fall. Rather than attending to her medical needs the couple trapped her in the toilet for two years and totally neglected her. The neighbours of this couple suspected something was amiss since the elder woman never left home and so they reported the matter to the senior citizens helpline in their district. 

After the rescue operation, it was found through the elder woman that she had not seen daylight for two whole years and was abused by her daughter-in-law, barely being given any food. Her son never questioned her behaviour towards his mother.

When the elder woman was rescued she was in a critical condition. When her son came to the hospital he wanted to take her back home but she refused to go back and requested the counsellor at the senior citizens helpline to shift her to an ashram.

It is important to stop seeing elder people as a liability. Everyone has their own way of life and no one has the right to control the other.

So what is domestic violence?  

A violence is committed by a person who belongs in the domestic circle of the victim. Domestic circle includes partners, ex-partners, immediate family members, other relatives and family friends.

Forms of domestic violence include –

  • Child Abuse
  • Senior Abuse
  • Honour based violence such as honour killings, genital mutilation and forced marriages.
  • All forms of abuse by an intimate partner or former intimate partner, including psychological abuse and stalking

Who are the victims of domestic violence?

The largest group of victims of domestic violence are women. Men, children, elderly people are also victims of domestic violence. There is no bound to levels of society and population group for the occurrence of domestic violence.

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Take the Vismaya dowry case. It all started with demand for a car and ended with bride losing her life. After her marriage she was put through severe assault, brutally beaten many times, her husband pulled back her hair and stamped her face. She told this to her family and when her brother tried to talk things out he was also badly beaten up.

For the sake of her family’s name in society she had to go back to her husband and endure. At last she was found dead hanging in her husband’s home. She had shared many things with her cousin before this incident, otherwise the truth would have still been in the dark. Their parents are now worried that they should not have sent her back to him. But that does not bring back the life which was lost in vain. 

Any person can go through domestic violence as is not bound to any race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. Abusers choose violence to gain control and power over the targeted victims. Survivors of domestic violence often go through a lot of traumatising experiences and leave them in a confused state.

It’s not always easy to leave an abusive relationship

It is very easy for an outsider to think why not just leave, but due to the complex dynamics of abusive or violent relationships it is really difficult to get away. Victims are being pushed to their limits and are made to think that the reason for going through abuse is their own fault, but the truth is different. It is important for victims to understand that they are not at fault for the behaviour of the abuser. Victims do not make the abuser punish them with physical or psychological abuse. 

On the part of the abuser, domestic violence is a choice not an uncontrollable impulse. There are few factors which can contribute to a person’s habit of being abusive.

  • Experiencing Childhood trauma
  • Holding to a belief to hierarchy and domination
  • Witnessing domestic violence as a child

Abuse usually begins subtly for most people who go through it. During the initial stages of an abuse this may make abusive behaviour difficult to notice. Abusers try to manipulate their victims in order to have control over them and establish a sense of dominance.

Domestic abuse can take different forms, it can “sexual, physical, isolation, control, emotional, verbal, using gender, economic privilege”. Victims at times may experience domestic abuse in more than one way. Example, your partner would control all your finances in the belief that “men are superior and that’s how it is supposed to be”.

Domestic violence can be complex and subtle. Victims may not be sure that the things they experience qualify as abuse. Domestic violence is not only physical violence it also can be controlling or dominating behaviours that are considered as domestic violence.

Even if the victim tries to please the abuser, the abuser still will control the victim. And children who experience domestic violence often learn to accept it as the norm and learn that physical or psychological violence is a way to solve conflict. It is important to raise our younger generation by teaching them to accept differences among people and see everyone as unique. Lack of acceptance of the other person may result in exhibiting controlling behaviour later in their life.

She walked out of an abusive marriage and never looked back!

One of my dearest friends shared her experience with me. She is a loud and proud transwoman. The relationship and bonding between her and her husband was good at the initial stage. He used to support her through her journey and work and was on good terms with other family members too.

Everything was good for 3 to 4 years until she started doing really well in her career as a celebrity makeup artist and stylist. She was approached by many stars for her work, and her partner started feeling insecure about her growth and began to distrust her.

He started to hack into her devices and check her chats and call logs, social media, etc., when she came back from work. At one point he started to pressurise her to stop going to work and stay at home. But despite all the pressure, she continued with her work.

Seeing her on page three and her successful career, he started to delete her work accounts, profiles, contacts and posted her pictures of before and after transition on social media without consent to shame her. He took away all her devices and expensive stuff which she got with her own hard earned money and left her with nothing.

In just a day her career and her social life just kind of vanished leaving her in a very unstable state. She went into severe depression, had panic attacks, a fear of survival and deep loneliness. Finally, she had to move out of that city and relocate for a fresh start. She started to gain control over the things she lost and now is a top paid model. 

The important thing we need to understand from her journey is that we don’t have to endure anything for anyone else’s sake. If you find yourself in a place where there is no respect and trust for you it is an indication that you should come out of such a place and keep moving forward for a better future. Even today, my friend finds it difficult to regain confidence and trust in relationships. Do not try to please anyone. There are people in the world to care about you and love you for the person you are.

Image Source: Sydney Sims via Unsplash

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About the Author

Aradra

Transwoman from Bengaluru. Working as Vision System Engineer. As a journey in my life I am willing to create more awareness on social issues through writing. I love watching anime, listening to songs, driving and read more...

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