MENTAL ABUSE: Verbal Abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, threats, religious blackmail, making you feel guilty and controlling behaviour. Financial Abuse such as confiscating your bank cards, keeping you on a strict stipend, checking your purse and restricting your movements.

PHYSICAL & SEXUAL ABUSE: Physical Abuse such as punching; slapping; hitting; biting; pinching; kicking; pulling hair out; pushing; shoving; burning and strangling. Sexual Abuse such as unwanted kissing, touching, rough or violent sexual activity, rape or attempted rape, using sexual insults, pinching nipples to inflict pain and shame, refusing to use condoms or restricting access to birth control, and not allowing you to protect yourself from contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STIs).

ADDICTED HUSBANDS: Is your husband addicted to alcohol and/or drugs?

 


 

Dealing with Physical Abuse: Fractures, Bruises

To begin to deal with physical assault, you first need to understand the nature of what might happen to you, how to recognize a problem and how to deal with it. You can find information on some basic situations that you might encounter below:

What is a fracture?
A bone fracture is a medical condition in which there is a break in the continuity of the bone.

What are signs and symptoms of a broken bone?
Signs and symptoms of a broken bone include:

  • Swelling or bruising over a bone.
  • Deformity of an arm or leg.
  • Pain in the injured area that gets worse when the area is moved or pressure is applied.
  • Loss of function in the injured area.
  • In open fractures, bone protruding from the skin.

How to treat bone fractures?
This link includes a good in-depth analysis regarding how to care for bone fractures.
This is the wikipedia link to Bone Fractures. The article includes a basic medical overview of the injury.

Bruise Treatment:
Other than bone fractures, you might have to deal with bruises. Here’s a couple of links on how you can treat a bruise by way of first aid:
Bruise Treatment
How to Care for a Bruise

Below are links with some tips on how better to take care of your bruises:
Care for a Bruise Naturally
Make a Bruise Go Away faster

Mental Abuse

No matter how long you have been abused, whether that maltreatment took the form of psychological, sexual and/or physical bullying, the emotional trauma is extensive. No one can pretend that there is a quick fix to take the pain away, but there are accessible support systems out there that offer advice on how you can begin to help yourself cope, to gradually work to recover your positivity and self esteem.

The techniques you can employ to cope and begin to come to terms with the abuse you have suffered vary depending on:

  1. a) Whether you remain in an abusive relationship and/or continue to have contact with the abuser.
  2. b) How long and how intensively you have been abused.
  3. c) What form this abuse took.
  4. d) Whether you are required to continue to revisit the abuse, for example, due to legal proceedings or ongoing medical treatment.

Wikihow offers some useful and realistic advice for you who suffered emotional abuse at the hands of a partner you continue to be in a relationship with and/or family members you continue to live with.

They offer nine steps to guide self-help for you in these circumstances:
1) Accept that you cannot force change in your abuser.

2) You should not change their behaviour.
Hoping to change their actions as a defensive measure or to soothe a circumstantial issue, usually proves ineffective. Instead, you might choose to set yourself a positive goal to gradually give yourself the positivity and energy to achieve Step 1. It is not safe to try to transform an abuser. Abusers have control over their behaviour. Any attempt to change their behaviour might be seen as a challenge to their authority by them and this could become dangerous for you.

3) If you feel your abuser wants to sincerely change his behaviour (Be cautious of pretense!)
Only if/when you see considerable desire for change, you should set reasonable targets that might be able to help stimulate change in your abuser. It is important that the goals that you set yourself are achievable and realistic. For instance, an addicted partner might identify alcoholism as a problem and ask you to help him through enrolling in a rehab program. To help them through this is an achievable goal. However, an abuser asking you to ‘stop provoking me!’, ‘stop talking to your cousin’, ‘start covering your head and I’ll stop beating you!’ shows no respect for your choice and lack of responsibility. It is unlikely such behaviour will change. Ultimately, if the abuse is long term, consistent and/or severe, your commitment to a healthy, respectful relationship requires the termination of the current, abusive one. You do not deserve to live in fear!

4) Set boundaries where it is possible for you to begin to discuss your experience with your abuser.
It is important to establish what you consider respectful communication and what you expect to give and receive from the relationship. Even where communication with your abuser is impossible, it can be a helpful step in your recovery to identify for yourself what behaviour you expect from a respectful and healthy relationship.  Be wary of your abuser trying to ‘trick you’ into revealing your plans for the future. Always keep yourself safe by withholding information that can be used against you by your abuser. Approach this stage with caution. It is imperative you gauge the risks in engaging in an open conversation about how you feel. If you feel fearful for any reason, please message someone beforehand to inform them to check on you after the conversation. Where boundaries have been discussed and accepted by you and your abuser, you should not tolerate repeated offenses of minor abuse. As a response, your abuser might consider pulling away from the relationship temporarily, but this does not mean abandoning the relationship altogether. If the abuse remains persistent and/or becomes increasingly severe you must try to accept that the relationship cannot be saved and you should leave.

5) Develop emotional intelligence.
If you have spoken to your partner and he has demonstrated (over a considerable period of time) willingness and ability to change – both you and your abuser must be willing to learn new ways of feeling and expressing your true emotions to end his pattern of blaming, shaming, and punishing. However, remember that the responsibility of abuse and violence lies with the abuser and not you. No matter how he thinks ‘you provoke’ him, it is his conscious choice to resort to abuse. You cannot be held responsible for his actions. Therefore, you would only benefit from expressing your deepest and strongest feelings only in forms where you will receive the fullest respect and support. If you feel you need to vent out how you feel, do consider keeping a diary, a blog, a group of very close friends or trusted family members and a professional, respectable psychologist.

6) Understand the dynamics of the relationships.
It may be safe for you to stay with your partner or relative who abused you only in those cases where the abuser has shown willingness to communicate with you, changed their abusive behavior and maintained this for some time (this would need to be monitored). Then it is important to understand what the positive and negative dynamics of the relationship were and how abusive patterns emerged within it. Do you need to be more assertive? Did you share your insecurities with him which allowed him to manipulate you? What could you do differently in the future to avoid the same situation?

Even where it is safest for you to leave the relationship, it can be a useful learning experience for you so that you might learn how to recognize and create safe and supportive relationships in the future.

7) You should identify your sources of safety.
This means you must trust your instinct when a situation and/or relationship might be a dangerous one. It is important for you to remember that your partner, parents or siblings do not decide what safety and security means for you rather you should know what is safe for you and which situations and environments you feel secure in. No one but yourself suffers the consequences of actions where you might be unsafe. Therefore, listen to your gut instinct after examining all the logical arguments for a decision.

8) Professional help can be an invaluable source for you.
It is important to establish what you consider respectful communication and what you expect to give and receive from the relationship. Even where communication with your abuser is impossible, it can be a helpful step in your recovery to identify for yourself what behaviour you expect from a respectful and healthy relationship.  Be wary of your abuser trying to ‘trick you’ into revealing your plans for the future. Always keep yourself safe by withholding information that can be used against you by your abuser. Approach this stage with caution. It is imperative you gauge the risks in engaging in an open conversation about how you feel. If you feel fearful for any reason, please message someone beforehand to inform them to check on you after the conversation. Where boundaries have been discussed and accepted by you and your abuser, you should not tolerate repeated offenses of minor abuse. As a response, your abuser might consider pulling away from the relationship temporarily, but this does not mean abandoning the relationship altogether. If the abuse remains persistent and/or becomes increasingly severe you must try to accept that the relationship cannot be saved and you should leave.

9) Know when to leave the relationship or abusive environment.
At times when you can see the writing on the wall, you know a relationship cannot be saved and you do not deserve to live in persistent misery with your abuser. It is not your fate! And for your own sake don’t accept it as your fate- ever!

To some extent the steps outlined above may also offer some support to victims of physical abuse and sexual abuse which involves and/or results in emotional bullying and psychological trauma. However, physical and sexual violence, even if minor and/or infrequent at first, often escalates over time and puts you at a considerable risk. Therefore, you (and anyone experiencing domestic violence) should be extremely wary of trying to rebuild the relationship and the steps above are best used as a guide for your recovery, leaving the abusive relationship, to help you understand what you need from a relationship and what you should expect from a future, respectful partner.

For those of you, who are still in an abusive relationship, Women’s Aid UK has provided an online handbook to help you who have experienced sexual and physical abuse. While the context is based in the UK, some information will very useful for you. It is available in Urdu and Punjabi as well as English and you can access it by clicking here.

Online support: Remember – If you continue to live with your abuser it is advisable to take the following two steps when accessing online support:
1) Use a safe computer outside of the home such as that of a trusted friend or family member or in a public place such as a community library. In urgent cases, ensure that your web history is deleted as soon as you close the browser and keep a separate window open with something that won’t raise your partner’s suspicions.

2) Change normal email passwords or create a new email account so that your abuser won’t be able to access any correspondence you have had with online support.
For more on staying safe online, click here.
Here is a link to further information about how to hide online activity from your abuser from the British National Health Service.

Nour – Supporting victims of domestic violence in Islamic communities
Nour’s values of “Strength, Solace, Support” is a neat summary of the service they offer to Muslim women who find themselves victims of domestic abuse. If you have been abused or are currently in abusive relationship you can read the testimonies of fellow survivors or submit your own story – a brave and difficult step that can help you begin to come to terms with and understand your experience.

Moreover, if you are in need of immediate legal or medical help or wish to speak to a counselor you are advised to complete the online advisers contact form to get help quickly and confidentially.

Blogspot
Victims of domestic emotional, sexual and/or physical abuse can find it useful to speak honestly, safely and anonymously about their experiences through the use of a blog. This can provide an introduction into communities of online support. However, it is important to remember that blogging is a form of self help that does not give you access to trained professionals.

This is an example of how a British victim of domestic abuse has used an online blog as a form of anonymous diary.

After Silence
An online forum, message board and group chat room for victims of sexual abuse and rape.
Sexual abuse, marital and non-marital rape can result in sexually transmitted infections from HIV/AIDS to cystitis as well as unwanted pregnancy and permanent damage to the genitals and/or other areas of the body. In addition to general medical services there are also a number of specialized clinics and organizations who provide confidential advice and support to women about their reproductive health.

SEXUAL HEALTH CLINICS IN INDIA

Recent Changes in Medical Examination of Sexual Violence Cases
According to recent changes in laws regarding sexual violence cases, several improvements have been made with regards to medico-legal examinations after sexual assault:

  1. All hospitals irrespective of being government, public sector or private sector have the responsibility of immediately providing first aid or medical treatment free of cost.
  2. The victim may be examined without need of a police requisition.
  3. It is NOT necessary for a female doctor to perform the examination, due to lack of adequate female doctors in hospitals.
  4. It is mandatory to report to the police.
  5. It is not necessary for presence of injuries in all cases of sexual violence.
  6. Treatment is part of the doctor’s role and should include care for injuries, STDs, HIV, pregnancy testing, emergency contraception, psychological counselling. Treatment should be free of cost and noncompliance could land the doctor in jail.
  7. Past sexual practices are still documented in Sexual Violence examination.
  8. It is very important to document when the medical examination was done, because delay in examination and post assault activities affect the outcome of the medical examination.
  9. When a male doctor performs the examination it is insisted upon the presence of a disinterested, sound, major female person as a witness.
  10. All doctors (to be both ethical and legal) in their practice have to seek informed consent before doing such examinations.

Please do refer to this webpage which outlines the new procedures for medical examinations and to know your rights as a victim of sexual abuse.

Dealing with Addicted Husbands

Firstly, know this: It is not only the alcohol or drugs that make him violent.
You may be one of very few people who see your husband when drunk or under the influence of drugs. This does not mean that he is not addicted, or that you deserve to be treated that way. Even if your family or his denies it, it doesn’t change the fact that he is in fact addicted. You are not the cause of his behaviour. Neither is the alcohol or the drugs. Alcohol and drugs can distort your husband’s thought process and he can exaggerate a feeling, e.g. of anger, but the choice of striking or hurting you is still his. Addictive substances are a smokescreen for the real problem underneath – that this man thinks it is acceptable to treat you badly. A non-abusive person will never hit you even if under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Addiction and abuse have many similarities. They may be cyclical and thus re-occur after you thought they had finally stopped. Be aware of this and do not trust that your husband will never hurt you again if he stops drinking or taking drugs. They both have a negative impact on your family life, as well as intimacy and sexual relationships. The controlling nature of addiction can isolate you from family and friends which makes you more vulnerable. Know that there are women around the world who support you and believe that you should not have to suffer like this.

Addictive substances increase the feeling of power in the user – at times this feeling might result in him forcing or manipulating you to join him in using drugs. This is dangerous for your health so try and avoid it if possible. Sometimes refusal can anger your partner more when he is under the influence than if he were sober. In this case, try to placate him and call for help as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.

Alcohol and drug addiction are big problems but such addiction is never the root cause of domestic violence. If you are being hurt by your partner then this can continue even if he becomes sober. Similarly, he may find other excuses/justifications for his behaviour.