Feminology- Woman abuse by Bassam. Imam - HTML preview
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DOMESTIC PARTNER ABUSE
Sustained physical, verbal, mental and/or sexual abuse of a woman in a relationship often results in a severe stress disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD. This kind of disorder can be so severe physical and mental disorders may occur. Thus it can compare to post intense combat situations. The wounds can also be life-threatening or cause death.
Domestic violence or abuse can be physical, emotional and/or sexual between members of a family who may or may not be biologically related. This can include a married couple, children, a live-in couple, a boyfriend-girlfriend type of relationship, and any companion animals in the household.
Most often the male partner is physically stronger and wealthier than the wife or girlfriend. The abuser thus knows this, feels this and takes advantage of the situation.
Many abusive partners and victims have witnessed some kind of abuse during childhood or somehow have been desensitized to it later on in adulthood.
General characteristics of abusive persons and situations include but are certainly not limited to the following:
-Suffers from an inferiority complex (I’m better, smarter and more important than you; you are below me). This feeling may be relieved by trying to appear superior to the partner in strength (emotional and physical), independence and intelligence.
-The abuser must be the center of focus. He must be the most important person in his partner’s life (often times without exception even regarding offspring and in-laws). Pregnancy may bring out bitter feelings. Everything must revolve around him.
-Power famished (looks and talks down at you).
-His mood, feelings, aspirations, likes, dislikes, etc., are important, not yours.
-The abused partner must be dependent on him and fearful of him.
-The abusive partner cuts her down often mercilessly, usually in private (because he knows that he’s doing wrong and maybe someone will try to defend her if done in front of others, but there are cases of this kind of abuse happening in front of others. Each case is unique.
-He plays mind games with you. When it gets real bad it becomes evident that the abuser is mentally unstable.
-Your opinions and aspirations are worth nothing (I don’t want to hear it), you’re his personal property (you belong to him), and often-times you’re a sex object (a whore in a sense).
-He does not ‘grant’ you the right to fight back or defend yourself.
-He calls you the most wicked and horrible names.
-At times he may deny that he abuses you. However, during the make-up phase he may cry like a baby, apologize with incredible intensity and ‘promise’ to be good to you thereafter.
-He has incredible fears; you’ll leave him, make it on your own and find a good man (a better man than him).
-He’ll try to control your finances and who you see and actions that will aid in your independence and self-esteem. Depending on the case, he may absolutely forbid you to go to school or get a job.
-Your abuser may try to isolate you from your social network.
-Your abuser has a self-righteous attitude; he’s always right you’re wrong, especially when you disagree with him.
-Belittle and/or degrade you and your suffering.
-Emotional or verbal abuse is only one step away from outright physical and/or sexual abuse. He may become so enraged and frustrated at ‘your behaviour’ or your ‘misbehavior’ hostile words may not be enough for him to inflict upon you. Be alert and careful at all times. Chronic abusers can have explosive and unpredictable tempers. If your partner threatens to harm or kill you, take it seriously!
-Abusive partners will often start a problem even if none exists. You’ll be blamed if you stay silent or if you try to politely defend yourself
-Physical and sexual violence almost always contains some form of verbal abuse; curse and bitch you out while they’re hitting you.
-If you have children, he may use them as a weapon against you; I’ll take them away from you. However, if it appears that you’re getting out of the relationship and you have children, he’ll most certainly assume that you’ll take what belongs to him away. This is another potentially dangerous period. Be careful!
-He may threaten to harm himself or commit suicide. If you fear for your health, safety and life, leave anyway. If he commits suicide it’s not your fault.
-Your property belongs to you. He shouldn’t destroy or steal it. Neither should he try to sell it off without your permission.
-If he keeps calling you at work or school, or if he keeps checking up on your matters, it’s abuse. Certainly you don’t like it.
-Chronic abusers can become extremely suspicious, to the point of imagining ‘secret affairs’ between you and someone else. This is another danger sign. Be careful!
-If you decide to take self-defense for women and you’re still in the relationship, DO NOT TELL HIM! He may feel that he must put you back in your place. Be careful, if you take the classes in secret and he find out, he may explode with anger.
-If you think it is abuse it probably is. If you’re in a dangerous marriage or other kind of relationship, you have a right to call the police.
-Save money for a rainy day. The abuse probably won’t stop therefore, you may have to leave. Either you leave or you call the police and throw the abuser out. The disadvantage of the latter is that the abuser knows exactly where you live.
Furthermore, he may have a house or apartment key. He may be granted a temporary right to remove his furniture.
=If there’s no hope, seek a restraining order. If you do, DO NOT give into the abuser’s pouting (violating the restraining order). If he harms you thereafter it’ll be more difficult to make a case; she gave me permission to enter our home. Imagine what a defense attorney can do with that.
-In extreme cases the abuser may try to limit or severely restrict your food and water intake. Call the police as soon as possible!
-Although the pain and scars of mental abuse aren’t manifested as a black eye or bloody nose or broken bone/s, the pain can equal or exceed that of physical abuse.
-A person in an abusive relationship is in a state of fear and apprehension much of the time. Your mood and behaviour is not the precipitator of a violent episode, it’s his. Therefore, you (the victim) feel like you’re walking a tightrope. The wind is controlled by the abuser, not you. If you fall, you get a bitching out and/or a physical punishment.
Sometimes it gets so bad you don’t know what to say or do. Even if you cook a superb meal or do something that usually appeases your abuser, if he comes home in a horrid mood, watch out! What happens to the abuser outside of the home is out of your control; always remember that. So, if for instance your abuser’s boss or some other person angers or worse yet, enrages your partner, he’ll come home pissed off. And if he can’t retaliate against his tormentor, he’ll likely displace his aggression onto his personal ‘living punching bag’.
You don’t deserve to be abused, however, if you listen to your abuser over and over, at times you may feel that you deserve it. You may even begin to feel numb. Never use excuses or justify your abuser’s behaviour. It’s his behaviour that’s causing the problem, not yours.
The longer you stay in an abusive relationship the more likely you are to be hurt, both physically and mentally, and perhaps sexually. You may come out of a long-term abusive relationship with one or more mental disorders. It’s not your fault, it’s expected.
Spousal or partner abuse tends to occur in a cycle. Just think of a bell curve, to simplify this matter. But understand that the rise or spike (tension-building phase) is unique for each case. In the tension-building phase aggression builds up. The apex or the top of the bell curve is where the maximum aggression occurs. Thereafter, if both partners are still together there usually occurs a drop in aggression. Be mindful that a sudden/unexpected fit of rage can occur at any time.
Additional characteristics and actions of abusers:
-Offers intense apologies repeatedly
-Swear that he’ll never ever do it again
-Says that he loves you, and if you have kids he’ll say the same about them
-Cry while he’s promising and sweet talking you
-Promises to seek professional help
-Drugs and alcohol bring out the abusive behaviour that’s already within the abuser. Many people abuse alcohol and drugs but don’t abuse their spouses. If applicable, he may promise ‘to quit’ using.
-Your abuser may or may not have a criminal record; all abusers don’t have criminal records. On the contrary, many abusers are clever, able to hide their abusive behaviour from family, friends, and the general public.
-The abuser may present and portray himself as the absolute king of the household
-Give you the ‘I can’t live without you’ line
-Make other promises that he could never keep in the past
-He may use excuses for his ‘previous behaviour’
-Some abusive partners have a remarkable ability to present themselves as sweet fellows in public or to the criminal justice system. The abuser may be perceived by other family members, co– workers, friends and acquaintances as a sweet and likeable fellow. The abuser may trivialize or belittle your complaints. Worse yet, your abuser may blame you, claiming that you provoked or aggravated matters.
Documenting abuse is very important especially if you want to file a criminal complaint and/or if you’re seeking a divorce and are absolutely certain that you no longer want to be in the relationship. Proof is very important in a court of law.
When the abuse first begins you can end the relationship immediately and leave your abuser forever or you can tell your abuser that his behaviour is hurting you and it must stop immediately. The easiest time to ‘immediately leave’ an abusive relationship is in the very beginning; when you first meet. If there are any signs, leaving should be an easy option. You don’t love him yet, you’ve made no commitment, you aren’t engaged or married and have no children. Furthermore, you don’t live with him and chances are he doesn’t know where you live. As the old saying goes, better to be safe than sorry.
Never mind the fact that he’s so cute. Mountain lions are incredibly cute; if you get too close to one he’ll kill you.
If you play it safe and decide to leave at this stage, it should be permanent. Otherwise, you’re getting back into a potentially hostile and abusive relationship. Use your mind, common sense and logic. Do what is absolutely best for you and don’t care about hurting the feelings of a potential abuser.
If he somehow finds out where you live or work and makes persistent attempts to ‘get you’, this is harassment and chances are he’s probably stalking you too. Get your facts straight and then call the police.
I’m giving you the worst case scenario just in case. Someone out there may need this valuable advice.
A Bangladeshi man admitted to brutally cutting off most of his wife’s right hand because she, Hawa Akther Jui, had pursued higher education without his permission. The attack occurred in December of 2011.
The attacker, Rafiqul Islam is a migrant worker who works in the Gulf. He apparently tied Hawa up, taped her mouth and then told her that he was going to give her a present.
Hawa’s husband had warned her through phone calls from the Gulf that there would be horrific consequences if she tried to pursue higher education without his permission; as though he was ever going to give her permission.
After the horrific attack, it had still been possible to surgically re-attach Hawa’s fingers back. However, there is a six-hour window. Once it passes the possibility vanishes.
One of Hawa’s husband’s relatives apparently tossed her fingers into a garbage bin.
Naturally, human rights groups in Bangladesh are demanding a severe punishment for this heinous crime.
Ragiqul Islam, like many other abusers, especially in Third World Countries ruled by brutal regimes that persecute their citizens and degrade women, most likely didn’t believe there would be justice for his actions. Otherwise, he may have thought a hundred times before performing his sadistic acts. Imagine ‘an eye for an eye’ punishment.
Being a migrant worker he likely felt intimidated, envy, jealousy and insecure at the thought of his wife receiving a degree from a university.
Understandably, Hawa doesn’t want to live with her husband anymore and is trying to learn how to write with her left hand.
Although it’s not impossible to learn how to write with your non-dominant hand, it’s quite difficult and takes a long-term sustained effort. Typing is will be a ‘Mount Everest type’ of challenge.
Another case in point is that of a University of British Columbia (UBC) graduate student who was blinded and maimed by her husband. Both of her eyes were brutally gouged out and her nose was also severely bitten. She was visiting her family in Bangladesh.
The attack of Rumana Manzur occurred on June 5, 2011. Rumana was on break from her studies. Her husband Hasan Sayeed Sumon reportedly confessed to the crime and was arrested by local police.
As stated by Rumana, “he (my husband) has made my world dark. I can’t see my (five year-old) daughter”.
Prior to the attack Rumana held the post of Assistant Professor at Dhaka University’s International Relations Department. She was completing her Master’s Degree studies at the University of British Columbia. It’s believed that Rumana’s pursuing of a higher education may have played a part in the attack.
Rumana’s husband mysteriously died while in prison. He was facing attempted murder charges.
Another case in point is that of Mahalakshmi, formerly a beautiful dark haired brown eyed Indian woman.
The attacker was Mahalakshmi’s former landlord. After repeatedly making unwarranted passes at her and being rejected each time, he sought vengeance upon Mahalakshmi.
Mahalakshmi found the continued unwanted passes unbearable, therefore, she and her daughter moved out of their home, then moved in with her parents.
Her former landlord didn’t relent. Just a day before the attack she had filed a restraining order against him. The end result was a six week stay in a hospital bed, the loss of her left eye and her left ear and a horribly disfigured body.
According to Mahalakshmi’s daughter, her mother’s clothing was melting like plastic. It was an acid attack.
The vast majority of victims of acid attack victims are women. Hotspots include but are not limited to Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Cambodia. At least hundreds of women are maimed every single year. There’s no way to know exactly how many women suffer this fate annually; we can only make educational estimates. There are many poor villages in the affected countries where world news may not reach. Besides, this isn’t the only method used to destroy a woman. In India, widow burning still occurs.
Laws in the affected areas pertaining to this matter must change. Very stiff penalties; I recommend life without parole in a tiny cell. The offender/s must understand that there are severe consequences to this kind of monstrous behaviour.
Another acid throwing incident involves a former 26 year- old British model named Katie Piper. A short-lived relationship with a 33 year-old boyfriend named David Lynch who paid a man named Stefan Sylvestre to commit the act, ended in a lifelong struggle, nearly 30 reconstructive surgeries (as of the writing of this eBook), a horribly disfigured face and an immediate end to a promising modeling career resulted.
Initially, Katie endured numerous frequent trips to the hospital, a mask that she had to wear 23 hours a day and much mental agony. Her mother was forced to quit her job to care for her.
In an unusual case, an Iranian woman named Ameneh Bahrami who was blinded in both eyes by Majid Movahedi, 30 whom the victim repeatedly rejected offers of marriage has pardoned him hours before surgeons were to blind him with acid.
Horrifyingly, wives can brutally harm themselves to the point of committing suicide even after their husband has died.
In the East Indian practice of Sati a widow is burned (widow burning) on the funeral pyres of her husband. The practice has been around for many centuries. The first Europeans to have recorded Sati were the Greeks.
The first outlawing of Sati occurred in 1829. Later, it was officially banned by the British Colonialist occupiers. This practice made a return roughly around the time of Indian independence (1947). Earlier, the Mughals (Muslim rulers of India) tried to ban the practice of Sati.
The Government of India banned Sati in the mid-1950s and in the late 1980s a prevention ordinance was passed.
The number of women performing, or having Sati imposed upon them is a trickle compared to the past.
Technically, the widow killed herself to follow her husband. However, there are always cases of women fighting and screaming not wanting to be burnt. Unable to successfully defend themselves, they were promptly burned alive.
It’s unimaginable how family members and bystanders can just stand there and watch a woman being burned alive; even on her own free will, let alone by force and without her consent.
In Sati philosophy a woman’s worth was in relation to her husband. Upon the husband’s death the wife would commit Sati in order to cleanse herself. In effect, the act was a form of purification. Without Sati the wife was filthy, impure, not a complete person.
Today, Sati occurs in rural villages. Spectacular cases that make the news may result in action. Enforcement is a must otherwise the resurgence may intensify resulting in a catastrophe.
Knowing what we know about the world, women living in Third World countries are not high on the scale of priorities for prominent world leaders or the United Nations. It’s a shame, but it’s true.
Native American women who are victims of physical, mental and/or sexual abuse and violence are the most neglected of all ethnic groups.
Native American women suffer from the highest rates of violence (all forms); according to the U.S. Department of Justice their rate is 3.5 times higher than the national average. Obviously, statistics don’t tell the whole story.
Native American women tend not to report violent crimes against their person. The system is racist at the core, and if there’s one group that’s discriminated more than black females it’s the Native American females. Their numbers are far fewer; they have considerably less political clout; many of them are hidden from the public eye, more so than the ghettos.
Native American women complain of a callous, uncaring and unbelieving justice system, which begins with the local police. Police often belittle the victims, behaving like they don’t want to take the time to investigate the problem.
Reservation victims probably fare the worst. Police dispatched to a particular location have been known to call the victim by cell phone, deciding whether to ‘show up’ or not.
Many victims feel re-victimized by the justice system. In their eyes, a cold-blooded system that’s uncaring and untrustworthy. Compound this with the cultural barriers and you end up with an even grander set of problems.
The National Organization for Women is calling for more action on this matter, but many politicians have ‘dead ears’ when it comes to issues that won’t get them re-elected. The men and women running for high political office DO NOT consider this subject a high priority. When they do it’ll be apparent that major headway is being made.
Escaping, leaving or fleeing an abusive relationship is often a choice that a woman must make. Below is a list of factors that are essential in understanding this process. Please note that the list below may not be complete; if it applies to you, you may need to perform some, most or additional actions. Each case has similarities with others, but also has peculiarities and uniqueness:
-Abuse is sometimes addicting for both the abuser and the abused. This does not justify the abuse however some women may become used to being pounced upon on a regular basis -Leave if you must; you can’t change him whether by force, through love and flattery and/or by giving him more and better sex
-You must be sure that you want to leave, are ready to leave and have a game plan to leave. It may be a one way trip
-You’re not alone. Many other women have left abusive spouses or partners
-If you have the time, take whatever you can from the following:
-Children (if applicable, they should know the 911 number for emergencies)
-Money (if your abuser has deliberately withheld money from you try to borrow money from a relative or friend but do this before your great escape)
=Check book and credit cards
-Driver’s license and all other identification cards.
-Birth certificate/s (including children’s if applicable)
=Medication, medical and dental insurance policies.
-Pet/s if applicable (check to see if pets are permitted in your intended new home. Your abuser may try to harm your pet/s as an act of vengeance)
-Articles of hygiene
-Laptop/s and books
If your abuser is thrown out of your domicile understand that he knows where you live. Change the locks as soon as possible. Inform your neighbours. If you live in an apartment building inform your neighbours, the management, cleaner/s and maintenance worker/s of what has ensued. If a restraining order is granted to you, inform the aforementioned persons.
The aforementioned list is vast. And certainly there are few women if any who can take along every single article that they need. However, if you’re in an abusive relationship you can read through the list very carefully and determine what you can take along with you. Remember, you’re in a potentially dangerous situation; depending on the particular case in question, even severe bodily harm, mutilation, and/or murder can occur.
If it’s an emergency situation you should remember not to tell your children (if applicable). Try to think the situation through, if possible. There’ll be instances where you can tell absolutely no one until it’s time to leave.
Try to make the call when your abuser isn’t around. If he realizes what you’re doing matters may explode. In addition, if you to send emails regarding your situation and you’re still in the household, assume that your abuser is a snoop; erase the recent memory on your computer often so he can’t see what you’ve recently done on it. This applies to your cell phone. Keep your diary well-hidden (if applicable).
Call your local women’s shelter; be prepared if possible. Tell them in brief your name, address, and that you want to be immediately picked up. Be ready with whatever belongings you’re taking with you and have your children beside you; all of them! If you leave any behind they may be used as a weapon against you. In worst case scenarios the child may be harmed. In this kind of a situation, the child is no longer viewed as a son or a daughter but a pawn to be used to get back at you.
If possible, it’s safest to act when your abuser is at work or when you’re 100 percent certain that he’s gone and won’t return for a while.
Your local shelter workers should be polite and caring towards you, especially in your initial phone call. The ride to the shelter should be absolutely free. So should your stay. If you can make the call away from your domicile it’s all the better. But you should tell the dispatcher where you’re at and that you’ll return home immediately to await their arrival.
After your escape your abuser may feel that he has lost much or all of his control over you. His pride, ego and self- esteem will likely be harmed. Be aware, this may be a dangerous period.
The essence of escape and safety involves the easy access to social and legal services/help. In addition, a coordinated effort by the relevant social and legal services is imperative.
Files are often lost, can be mislabeled or simply forgotten. Remember, if you’re a victim, your case must be important!
If you plan to take legal action against your abuser it’s best to document all the acts of abuse. The more details the better for you. You must know your rights and get help as soon as possible. Don’t wait around for your abuser to harm you again; harm your children, or worse yet kill someone.
Psychotherapy for an abuser is not punishment. In fact, many abusers evade real punishment by undergoing court-ordered or voluntary counseling.
Victims from different cultural and national backgrounds need to be understood. Furthermore, if there’s a language barrier a translator should be used.
In situations of imminent danger to you and/or your children call the police immediately and tell them that you’re fearful for your life and your children’s (if applicable). Tell them to come immediately. The police MUST accept your call as an emergency.
If your marriage or relationship is extremely dangerous, it’s likely to be a permanent split-up. Think logically don’t let your love for your abuser cloud your judgment. Furthermore, fond memories of good times shouldn’t negate the bad times.
Financial independence is very important. We live in a money culture.
Do your research and be informative. If possible, read and research about spousal abuse.
Beforehand, if you trust no one to keep ‘your big secret’ don’t tell anyone. If you have a support network like relatives or close friends it’s a good idea to confide in them, however you must make absolutely certain that nothing you say will get back to the abuser. You may want to limit the number of those you confide in until you’ve made a successful escape. Thereafter, you can speak out to your relatives, friends and other victims at the shelter or in your new safe haven.
Only you know exactly how many times you’ve been abused by your partner. You know what he said and did to you and under what circumstances it was done. You’re the victim; you’re number one for you. Care for yourself and your children (if applicable). You can find another husband later on, but even if you opt not to it’s always a better option than living with an abusive partner.
If you’ve left your abuser because of physical abuse below is a list of types of acts of physical abuse. You can read the list at your leisure to determine how many of the listed acts you’ve had to endure. If for instance, you’ve been punched, try to remember how many times it happened and in what part/s of your body you were struck. The same goes for other acts of physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
This will give you a better idea of how much hell you went through. Every time you get the urge to go back to your former abuser, remember the pain. Document it well, if need be reread it over and over again until it’s deeply ingrained in your head.
Although physical abuse doesn’t always leave a physical mark and most physical marks do heal (disappear), you know exactly how much it hurt at the time and for exactly how long. You also know if you had to go on medication to curb the pain:
-Forcefully/painfully grabbing and/or twisting one or more of your body-parts
-Grabbing, pulling, yanking twisting your hair
-Strangling or choking (using the hands or an inanimate object/s
-Forcing you to perform sexual acts
-Forcing you to perform or view unnatural and demeaning
-Deliberately infecting you with an STD either by force or by simply not informing you that he’s infected
-Forcing you to consume alcohol or use drugs (worst case scenario involves you becoming an addict)
-Using ejaculation upon your person as a dehumanizing weapon
Weapons of choice include but are certainly not limited to the following:
-Feet (shoes are generally worn drastically increasing the effect)
=Personal size, strength, weight and fighting skills
-Any other inanimate object that can be used as a weapon
Abusers like to play mind games and mind control tactics. They like to stifle resistance; this resistance is often tested. However, compliance may be rewarded, but not always.
Women’s shelters house may house abused women, abused women and their children, homeless women; some of the women are alcoholics and/or drug addicts. Furthermore, one or more sheltered women may have a criminal record.
If possible, try to find out where the nearest shelter to your home is and the basics of accommodations. All shelters are not alike; some jurisdictions have more funding than others. In general funding isn’t enough. Many shelters are struggling. The staff will likely be overworked, underpaid and over-stressed.
Upon reaching the shelter you’ll be greeted by a worker or a volunteer. Important points include exact living arrangements (your bedroom; roommates, children, basic rules of conduct, check-in time if applicable, food, laundry, guests, legal questions, work duties, cleanup, and maximum length of stay.
Women’s shelters are temporary. Although you’re a victim of violence upon leaving your original domicile by choosing a shelter you are for the time being, not physically but technically homeless. Shelters should be free of charge.
Many women’s shelters are supposed to be located in ‘secret locations’. Although many women’s shelters have rules pertaining to whom you can and whom you can’t tell about the location of the shelter this rule isn’t fool proof. Unfortunately, some abused women not only tell their abusers, but they actually invite them into the women’s shelter.
Under no circumstances, should you ever tell your former abuser where the shelter is even if you miraculously get back together. Some shelters ‘supposedly’ have an eviction policy if ‘you tell’. How often this policy is enforced is up for grabs.
You must respect your own safety, your children’s (if applicable), the other victimized women in the shelter and the workers and volunteers.
A former abuser may go to the shelter armed, dangerous and furious. He may strike, stab or shoot at you, your children and anyone around. Please don’t take that chance.
Women’s shelters are supposed to be a temporary safe haven for women who’ve undergone unbearable physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse by a partner. These shelters also provide food and clothing.
Another category of abused women involves those who’ve been seriously deprived or neglected by their abuser. And of course there are shelters for homeless women. Regardless all sheltered women need a safe place to stay; for support, comfort and relevant information and guidance.
Although you may meet other women who’ve been through a similar experience, be cautious and careful. Some abused women are convicted felons, drug users and/or dealers, addicts, thieves and there are shady characters also. If you’re not street smart be super careful.
Lock the door to your room at all times. If you have children, be extra diligent. Chances are at least a few ‘wrong people’ know the location of the women’s shelter. Inner city women’s shelters tend to be by far the most dangerous ones.
Try not to come back late at night especially if the shelter is in a large city.
Don’t get too cozy for too long in the shelter. The longer you stay the more difficult it’ll be for you to leave and make it on your own.
Countless women have bounced back and have been able to leave the shelter living independently. Shelter workers in general are caring and try to do their job to the best of their ability. They’re supposed to help you get back on your feet, give you good advice and counsel you.
When all’s well plan to leave. Part of the recovery entails that under no circumstances whatsoever should you blame yourself for the abuse or think of yourself as being a sissy or weak. You’re the victim, the abuser is the offender. In reality though, some chronic victims of abuse are branded as helpless victims by the police and their families.
It’s estimated that 4 million women are abused by their partners every year in the United States alone.
Shelters are usually run by government or non-profit organizations. Overall, we must give a two thumbs-up for women’s shelters. The good that has been done around the world is immeasurable.
Nevertheless, you should not feel that your shelter is a bastion of man-hating. This is one of the common complaints about some women’s shelters. Hating nearly half of the population of adults (belonging to the opposite sex) will not guarantee you or anyone else true happiness.
Shelter workers are generally assigned and should be capable of performing the following duties:
-Work as a crisis hotline worker (answer your initial phone call)
-Document and manage cases
-Provide transportation for shelter victims
-Supervise daily activities including cleaning and laundry,
-Food preparation and management
-Manage bills, payments and donations
-Maintain basic order on the premises
-Listen to grievances
-Discipline unruly residents if needed
-Provide relevant information for shelter residents
-Short-term counseling and provide support and encouragement
-Help with goal setting and guidance
-Understand that some aspects of particular cases are confidential
-Shelter workers MUST NOT coerce resident victims into filing criminal complaints against their former abuser. Good sound advice and objective recommendations are called for. Many cases of physical or sexual abuse do call for legal action (in my opinion), but it’s the victim who shall decide.
Depending on where a shelter worker works she should have a good knowledge of domestic and partner violence issues, sexual violence, emotional abuse, homelessness, social services, psychology, sociology and the justice system.
In addition, some jurisdictions require relevant training in counseling, a Bachelor or Master’s degree in Social Work or a related field and relevant experience in the field or a related field. Some women’s shelters require only a High School Diploma. Whatever the requirements, additional specialized training is done on the premises. A valid driver’s license is usually required.
Women’s shelter work provides good experience for other related work and advancement to higher paying jobs.
Women’s shelter workers must not have an overall stern personality. She should be empathic when needed. Victims expect to see female shelter workers, for obvious reasons.
Shelter locations throughout North America can be found in the ‘Women’s Shelters’ section in the Information Booth.
Once you’ve left your previous domicile and have firmly fixed yourself in your temporary home (the women’s shelter) additional problems may be needed to be solved.
If your former abuser is stalking you or is trying to stalk you, call the police and request a legal restraining order. In addition, notify the shelter workers and volunteers.
Remember, a stalking abuser should be perceived as dangerous to say the least. If he’s addicted drugs, this will severely aggravate the matter. Pre-existing mental illness is another aggravating factor. The abuser has lost control and is desperately trying to regain control ‘of you’ and of ‘his self’.
Don’t feel guilty about staying too long or making mistakes along the way. Everyone makes mistakes. Hindsight bias is perfect only after the particular event/s have occurred. It’s at this time that you say to yourself ‘I should’ve done this’ or ‘I should’ve done that’ or ‘I shouldn’t have done this’ or I should’ve done that’.
The list below is a quick reminder of some of the reasons that abused women don’t just pack up their bags on a whim, easily, and on an earlier time that they finally choose:
-At one time you were madly in love (maybe still are) with your abuser; you even saw stars when you first met
-In the beginning things seemed perfect
-He was once a prince charming
-You were praying or hoping that things would get back to what they were like in the beginning of the relationship
-You were terrified of being discovered (trying to escape)
-You were so dependent on him for just about everything; you felt trapped, helpless and immobile
-No place to go
-No real game plan
-Little or no money
-Didn’t know about the hotlines, shelters and other sources of help
-Too apprehensive about calling the police
-Children to take care of. Initially, you hung in there for the sake of your kids
-You were worried about what your family and friends would say; ‘people will blame me’; on the opposite end you were isolated from family, friends and/or not allowed to work or go to school
-Self-defeating attitude and low self-esteem (I’ll never make it on my own, I’m a loser, I deserved what I go
-You listened and believed the nasty horrible things your abuser said about you
-Too bummed out and depressed to help your self
-Guilt and/or confusion
-You felt like you were all alone, there’s nobody else like me or in my situation. No one will understand
-You actually thought that you could help and change your abuser; I’ll behave myself, be very nice to him, walk on egg shells, give him more and better sex, etc.
-He told you that he’d never abuse you again
-He promised to go to therapy, or he was in therapy (no guarantee anyway)
-Your abuser told you it was your fault, you’re a cry-baby, or it’s not that bad
-Everything is your fault
If you’re being stalked and feel that your safety and life are in jeopardy from your abuser seek a temporary restraining order.
The restraining order will be effective as soon as a judge grants it. Although you can get a restraining order without informing your partner; ex parte, in my opinion you should have him informed. This way, he’ll understand that there’s a court order against him getting near you (the distance and particulars of the restraining order depend on the jurisdiction and the judge’s stipulations).
As such, he’ll have no excuse for violating the restraining order. Furthermore, he’ll know that you can call the police and the likelihood of him being arrested is increased. Some abusers will back off completely.
Even with restraining order you should remain cautious and alert. Don’t pause if your abuser violates the order. You should call the police as soon as you can every single time the order is violated. DO NOT listen to his excuses or even give him one chance. This will work against you in a court of law and may result in your injury.
Remember, you got the restraining order for a purpose. Try to move on with your life.
Ask your women’s shelter worker to run you through the required actions for obtaining a restraining order. Generally, you have to go to court to get one.
Permanent restraining orders take more time and effort to obtain. A hearing may be required; you’ll likely have to see your abuser. Documentation of events and the filling out of an official form is also necessary. Have your notes and facts at the ready. It’s advisable to try to obtain a temporary restraining order first, as an effective temporary band-aid so you can move on.
If you can, go to the courthouse with a shelter worker or someone who works in the criminal justice system, or a social worker with knowledge of the procedure for this endeavour. Be forthright, brave and confident.
Your representative (the person you go with) and the courtroom judge should take your pleas seriously. Make sure that the judge understands the gravity of your situation. Don’t smile too much, either. You want to look like you’re in dire desperate straits.
The best case scenario of a restraining order includes the following:
-Protection from your former abuser (includes physical harm, harassment and mental cruelty and intimidation)
-Keeps him at bay; keep his distance, no phone calls, no emails, no faxes, etc. Stay away from your work environment and previous domicile (eviction may be stipulated)
-The abuser may be ordered to stay away from your children and other family members
-The judge can order your abuser to undergo domestic violence counselling
-Temporary restraining orders are short-term; it may only be valid for roughly 10 days. Generally, this isn’t enough time.
Many Third World countries offer little or absolutely no protection to abused women. If an abused woman were to call the police they may not even come to her domicile; the husband has absolute domain in the home, ‘it’s a personal family affair’
‘let them solve it’, ‘she deserves it’, ‘or she’s just a woman’ is the basic philosophy.
I remember speaking to a woman (who was from the Middle East) about another woman (who was also from the Middle East) who lived in our building (in Canada). She was being regularly abused by her husband. Things would sometimes get really loud. I don’t know how many times the police were called.
Anyhow, the woman I was talking to felt that the abused woman was getting what she rightly deserved; as she said to me about the abused woman ‘she smokes cigarettes in public and she exposes her arms, shoulders, cleavage and thighs’.
The problem is however, that the abuser walked around with his wife while she was dressed in this manner and smoking, and actually appeared to be flaunting her. This important fact apparently went unnoticed to the ‘complaining woman’.
Although filing criminal charges against a beloved one may be quite difficult, the bottom line is that you must care for your own self and personal survival and children’s (if applicable).
Depending on the particular circumstances you can do the following:
-Don’t be intimidated, shy or afraid to call the police. As a citizen, a human being and a victim you have a GOD-given right to be protected. The police are here (in your jurisdiction) to protect you, the victim. Everyone pays some form of tax, even people who are unemployed, on welfare or beggars. If you purchase food or any other product, you pay sales tax.
-If you’ve been abused call 911, request for an ambulance and the police.
-Remember that you’re in a state of mental and physical turmoil; make sure that you answer the dispatcher’s questions correctly. If at all possible, try to stay calm, at least when you’re answering the questions. This is for your own benefit
-If you’re in immediate danger, the abuser is still on the premises or you just feel like you’re in immediate danger demand that the police arrive at your domicile as quickly as possible.
-Two or more officers may be called to the scene. Once therein, don’t be intimidated and don’t attempt to attack or shout at the abuser is he’s near you. You’ll certainly make matters worse. One or more of the police officers will shield you from your abuser. Besides, he may use the attempted attack to make it appear that you’re the violent one. In court, a defense attorney may be able to take your action quite far, to the advantage of your abuser.
-One or more police officers will keep your abuser at bay.
Depending on the circumstances and the jurisdiction, your abuser may be cuffed, arrested and taken to the police station. Do as the police officers say and don’t interfere with their work. They’re trained for these kinds of situations.
-If you persistently try to attack your abuser you’ll be forcefully pulled away, and if you don’t stop thereafter you may be handcuffed.
-The police officers will take notes. Be sure to show them any and all signs (if possible) of bruising and injuries. Answer their questions completely, directly and honestly.
-If the domicile is yours and the abuser broke into your domicile tell the police. Don’t assume that they know everything that ensued. If applicable, show them any and all broken furniture, abused children (if applicable), abused pets (if applicable) and tell them about any threatening emails, phone calls or letters. The more relevant information you give them the better for you
-If a restraining order was violated you must tell the police officers
-If you have second thoughts about wanting your abuser to be arrested just remember all the pain and torment you’d endured.
-The more documentation of the abuse you have the better. In addition, if you’re taken to a hospital emergency room or clinic and you are bruised, bloodied or marked tell the physician and nurse that you want them to take pictures of your injuries for future reference. These wounds may heal or appear to disappear within days or weeks. The pictures and the physician’s and nurse’s reports should strengthen your case.
-If you prefer to see a female physician for whatever reason, make this point clear upon arriving at the hospital or clinic. Hospital staff should understand.
-Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to cry in front of hospital staff or other strangers.
-You’ll be interviewed by a police officer; preferably a female but it could be a male unless you were sexually assaulted.
-You’ll be required to submit a complete police statement.
Although you won’t feel like answering any questions, it’s better to do so right there and then rather than later. This is for your own benefit.
-The district attorney is the person with the highest rank in law enforcement who shall decide whether to file official criminal charges against the abuser. He/she works for the governor of the state.
-If criminal charges are pursued the district attorney or an assistant district attorney will be assigned to your case. He/she will fill you in on the legal steps to be taken.