It’s been a week that we have been talking about Domestic Violence on our blog and FB page. When we had thought of doing the series a few weeks back, as strongly as I felt about talking about this subject, somewhere in my mind there was a bit of worry. Would people read ? Would they take a minute and notice why we are saying “Let’s talk about it.” ? Or would it all just get ignored. We still pursued with a lot of encouragement from many of our regular authors. I am glad we did, because people not only read, they had perspectives to share with us.
There are always early signs. We tend to ignore them as part of our upbringing. We label them as anger issues. But it is not just about anger, it is about a tendency to control, the desire to exert power.
No one becomes an abuser in a day. It is something they have been doing for a long long time and the people in the family and community did not do anything about it. A friend tells me, “I have seen my brother misbehave with my mother all my life. He would yell at her, demand her to do things in a certain way and just be disrespectful towards her. He was a dictator. He did it to me as well and we always fought over it. My mother choose to ignore saying he had a bad temper. He did the same things to his wife, the scale became more violent, until she walked out one day.”
It is extremely difficult to break free from an abusive relationship and no one should ever be judged. It is even more difficult when the kids are involved. However if you have the opportunity to help someone out, you must remind them that it is important to step away for their kids. Kids who witness domestic violence – mild, average, day to day or severe, it does not matter. They get affected, period. Children learn by observing us. And this kind of observation teaches them not to stand up for themselves or that ill treating someone is may be OK. They either turn out to be bullies and later abusers or get bullied and become victims in later life. There are statistics to prove that strongly. Lead by example. Find the courage to do it for your kids.
An unanimous message from lot of folks is that there is a mindset that by staying on in the marriage, regardless of how abusive it has become, we think we are helping our kids. Kids from broken homes have a difficult childhood. Children from homes with DV have a far worse childhood.
The numbers on DV are skewed as it relates to gender. Somewhere we are all responsible for that. We all make the same mistakes. We do not treat our children, the sons and daughters equally. There is this video that talks about how in the Indian society we keep telling our boys “Boy’s do not cry.”
Why ? Are the boys being deprived of showcasing emotions ? Since when did crying become a sign of weakness? On the other hand when it comes to the girls, it is an overdose of lessons on tolerance. I have also heard this being told to many girls, “You can do what a boy can do.” So why exactly she needs to compete with a boy ? Is that a benchmark ? Isn’t she better off doing what she is capable of. Instead if we raised them all the same and focussed on just making all of them good human beings, a lot of the bad would get out of the way on its own.
If this is the message that was given to young women by their families, may lives would be saved. If this is the message, parents could give their daughters without asking them to “adjust”, many lives would be saved. If this is the message we could give to a friend or a neighbor or a relative, their lives could be saved too. SUPPORT is the keyword. Do not close doors on a victim.
Listen, without judging, Support, without hushing.