You might have seen Burning Beds flick by Farrah Fawcett ; it is about a desperate woman who after years of abuse by her spouse sets him ablaze while he is sleeping in their bed. It paints a dark picture of what we as humans are able to do if given the chance; and what consequences we will face if we keep using violence as a weapon of communication, as a sign of control hunger or a way to hide our own faults and shortcomings.
Her burning the bed stands in a stark contrast of what peace of mind and security you would have at your bed; murder was not the right answer but her only escape after all her calls for help went on deaf ears and all the doors she knocked on slammed in her face. It cries out:” I cannot take it anymore!”
She was a victim of Domestic Violence; a monstrous evil that inflicts horrible physical and psychological damages on almost everyone it touches. It does not discriminate against Sex, Age, family relations or even social status. It hurts your body and leaves scars on your soul. Your neighbor might be the aggressor or the victim, your child’s friend might be going home to it and your Book Club partner might be hiding it in fear of retaliation.
In the age of fading” Love Thy neighbor “; it is difficult to ask the victim about it, but you can see in a subtle ways:
Long sleeves and scarfs when it is boiling hot outside, dark sunglasses when there is no sun shining and a look of hurting soul that cannot make or keep eye contact with yours. Dark bags under the eyes from lack of sleep, missing days on end at work, a child who “Falls on the Stairs” a lot, a woman walking slightly behind her husband or a muffed laughter when the monster is around.
Psychopathy and other personality disorders such as Borderline personality disorder, Antisocial personality disorder, Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, Drug abuse and Alcoholism
• Poor impulse control
• Poor self-esteem
• feelings of inadequacy,
• unresolved childhood conflicts,
• hostility and resentment toward women (misogyny),
• hostility and resentment toward men (misandry)
Domestic violence can be a result of Learned Behavior, the son observes his father abusing his mother and might mimic him later in his adult life by abusing his loved ones, and rule model plays a strong part.
Sociocultural influences Some social cultures turns a blind eye to domestic violence, and takes a man” straightening” his wife or children as an acceptable practice.
Economical Economic Dependency by women who are housewives, handicapped or unemployed on their abusive spouse creates a fear of leaving the marriage and facing the world alone. That fear increases many folds if they have children in common.
Relational disorders Marital conflict disorder (Marital Conflict Disorder With Violence).
Cycle of Abuse:
The cycle of abuse is a social cycle theory developed in the 1970s by Lenore Walker to explain patterns of behavior in an abusive relationship:
•Tension Building Phase Characterized by poor communication, tension, fear of causing outbursts. During this stage the victims try to calm the abuser down, to avoid any major violent confrontations.
•Violent Episode Characterized by outbursts of violent, abusive incidents. During this stage the abuser attempts to dominate his/her partner(victim), with the use of domestic violence.
•Honeymoon Phase Characterized by affection, apology, and apparent end of violence. During this stage the abuser feels overwhelming feelings of remorse and sadness. Some abusers walk away from the situation, while others shower their victims with love and affection.
The Way Out
Know your rights:
As a human being to be safe from harm, as a woman to enjoy her life without pain and fear.
Seek help for yourself:
Be it a woman shelter, a crisis intervention center or law enforcement. The laws against domestic violence are getting tougher and better.
Seek help NOW! Things are not going to get better!
As hard as it might be to share your intimate life details with anybody; when it comes to domestic violence, shed your inhibitions aside and tell your freind, your doctor or anybody you think will be able to help you out.
Do not suffer in silence!!!!Examples of Violence against Women Throughout the Life Cycle
|Phase||Type of violence|
Sex-selective abortion; effects of battering during pregnancy on birth outcomes.
Child marriage; female genital mutilation; physical, sexual and
|Adolescence and Adulthood||
Dating and courtship violence (e.g. acid throwing and date rape)
Forced “suicide” or homicide of widows for economic reasons; sexual,
|(Source: “Violence Against Women”, WHO., FRH/WHD/97.8)|
Domestic Violence Resources
Feminist Majority Foundation
Domestic Violence Awareness Handbook (USDA)
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Domestic Violence (Unicef)
Domestic Violence and Abuse: Signs of Abuse and Abusive Relationships
© 2011, M Z. All rights reserved.