Are Economic Means Enough for Women to Evade Domestic Abuse?

Domestic Abuse

    In this article, I will try to keep my arguments limpid yet explanatory, as this topic is evolving and expansive. It is evolving because I am still learning about this subject. Furthermore, it is expansive because one cannot study domestic violence in a reductionist manner. There are many social and psychological reasons. Moreover, the human mind is still a mystery; it works differently in different situations. Therefore, a single general theory cannot help you fathom the subject matter.

    Besides, I will try to be conscientious and scrupulous in my treatment of the content, and supply my readers with the illuminating insights regarding the absurdity and impertinence of our society in such matters.

    Before ventilating my take on the question, I would like to apprise readers of the context. A recent incident regarding a distant relative impelled me to touch upon this subject. The person in question is an MBBS doctor and married to an educated man hailing from a decent family. After her wedding, she was subjected to domestic abuse apparently for no reasons. Despite her strong background and means to fend for herself, she is enduring it. Her husband holds ignoble domination over her. This violence is engendered by insouciance and lack of gravitas of our society with respect to the matter.

    First we will discuss the current disposition of women and the nature of rights they are demanding. We will see why it is important to empower women mentally.

    These days, more than ever before in the history of the world, women are battling for the rights to which they are entitled. It is no longer sufficient to obtain the right to vote and an education. Now, women are fighting for equal pay, fair possibilities in the job market, eliminating gender discrimination, safe public areas, etc. Domestic violence is a problem that has been ignored for a long time, even though it is still prevalent in our culture. This is one of the many challenges that women confront in the world we live in today. According to WHO and UN Women data, 35% of all women have experienced physical or sexual violence in the home or elsewhere. Domestic abuse threatens women since it is frequently kept secret and can grow into deadly situations. Therefore, it is imperative to combat domestic abuse through mentally empowering women.

    After having discussed the necessity of mental empowerment of women, it is pertinent to discuss the role of social pressure in perpetuating violence against women.

    Survivors of domestic violence often feel isolated and shamed when they first try to escape their abusive relationships because of the expectations of family, society, and even their own religious beliefs. This guilt and loneliness discourage many from leaving and contribute to their return if they do attempt to escape. Other than to a close friend or relative, the victim may not feel safe sharing her story with anyone she does not know or trust. Even if she does, it is mainly observed that her family and friends encouraged her to stay in the situation. They come up with justifications by offering their stories of marital abuse. While well-intended, this encouragement unintentionally gaslights an abuse victim even further, leaving them more susceptible to the belief that they are somehow overreacting.

    After having seen the role of social pressure in perpetuating violence against women, we will now explore the compounding influence of ulemas on the exacerbation of women’s circumstances.

    In some instances, spiritual communities can exacerbate the victim’s situation in an abusive relationship. It is common for abuse victims to recount how, in the past, when they sought support from spiritual leaders, they were told that they needed to remain in the abusive relationship to uphold their religion. Either their religion disapproves of divorce or holds forgiveness in the highest regard. To fulfil religious obligations, a victim may be encouraged to endure physical violence or sexual abuse rather than endangering the relationship.

    Following the discussion of all the causes of violence against women, it should be notes that right measures can sort out the problem.

    It can be complicated to free oneself from the expectations instilled in them by one’s family, religious tradition, and cultural background. While attempting to leave an abusive situation, seeking validation from people and places is essential, as shame and isolation are two of the most common reasons why victims return to abusive relationships. Victims of abuse must be assured that they are not alone, even though the survivor may feel this way.

    Besides, we must equip our loved ones with resources to assist them spot signs of an abusive marriage or partner. This knowledge will help them to escape in time. The control and power wheel is an example of one of these toolkits. The field of domestic and interpersonal violence employs it to better comprehend the strategies used by abusers in their power to dominate their victims. To understand how abusers function, the wheel is crucial. As part of “The Duluth Model,” which emphasize training and education to enable communities to work together to transfer blame to abusers and better help survivors, the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs developed the wheel. Across the United States, this programme is the standard for helping battered partners.

    Suffice to say, it is believed that if women are economically stable, they can easily avert the dangers and pitfalls of an abusive marriage. Irrefragably, in Pakistani society, married women undergo ghastly and inconceivable troubles at the hands of their intimate partners. Although I had been of the opinion that if women have the means of subsistence, they need not stay in an abusive relationship, a recent incident utterly changed my point of view. Despite a nice job, men still hold the compass and power over women. This is ridiculously bitter and disdainful. The fact is that societal pressure renders all the strategies for women to evade brutality and abuse nugatory and ineffectual. Domestic violence is a depressing concomitant of our middle-aged culture and a grim spectre that is deadly virulent. It is increasing with time.

An abuser can seem emotionally needy. You can get caught in a trap of catering to him, trying to fill a bottomless pit. But he’s not so much needy as entitled, so no matter how much you give him, it will never be enough. He will just keep coming up with more demands because he believes his needs are your responsibility, until you feel drained down to nothing 

-Lundy Bancroft

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