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The Gist on Domestic Violence Episode1




The Gist on Domestic Violence

EPISODE 1

Hello friends, so the other day I tried to explain briefly what DV is all about, and today am going to be telling you about the recent cases I have been dealing on.

Domestic violence is not just a problem of the lower and middle classes. It is very prevalent even among prominent people. The television series, Big Little Lies, covers the cycle of violence in a way that everyone can understand and highlights the role that a supportive and compassionate counsellor plays in helping victims of domestic violence.

The signs of domestic violence (DV) are not always obvious and a lot of women don’t report that they’re being abused. Even the woman’s own family is not always supportive at such times, because of the shame and guilt that surrounds such issues. Another concern that women face is how to prove domestic violence.

“Domestic violence is a burden on numerous sectors of the social system and quietly, yet dramatically, affects the development of a nation… batterers cost nations fortunes in terms of law enforcement, health care, lost labor and general progress in development. These costs do not only affect the present generation; what begins as an assault by one person on another, reverberates through the family and the community.

Domestic violence is a global issue reaching across national boundaries as well as socio-economic, cultural, racial and class distinctions. This problem is not only widely dispersed geographically, but its incidence is also extensive, making it a typical and accepted behavior. Domestic violence is wide spread, deeply ingrained and has serious impacts on women's health and well-being. Its continued existence is morally indefensible. Its cost to individuals, to health systems and to society is enormous. Yet no other major problem of public health has been so widely ignored and so little understood.

Domestic violence can be described as the power misused by one adult in a relationship to control another. It is the establishment of control and fear in a relationship through violence and other forms of abuse. This violence can take the form of physical assault, psychological abuse, social abuse, financial abuse, or sexual assault. The frequency of the violence can be on and off, occasional or chronic.

“Domestic violence is not simply an argument. It is a pattern of coercive control that one person exercises over another. Abusers use physical and sexual violence, threats, emotional insults and economic deprivation as a way to dominate their victims and get their way”.

 Below are Stories relating to DV

(These are stories about Two Married Women, Two Married Men and of coz Young Adults in relationships)

This is my conversation with them
(A brief story of the victims)

Tina (me): So tell me, what really happened, what was it like?

Cael (the victim) :Too many `IFS’
Too many `WHENS’
Too many `SORRYS’
And `NEVER AGAINS’
Too many `PROMISES’
Too many `LIES’
Far too many `ONE MORE TRIES’
How many were there,
Before I knew
That `ACTIONS’ speak louder
Than `PROMISES’ do?”

I really fell for this guy. He was wonderful for the first 3 months, but then he changed and became very controlling.
He didn’t allow me to talk with friends freely, and would throw and break things if I did.
He told me I was a bitch, he spat on me and hit me.
On one occasion I was bedridden for 2 days from this and made excuses to people about how I was injured. He pulled a knife and stabbed my bed, threatened me with objects, drove the car at high speeds with me in it – and always, always it was my fault.
I began to believe that it was my fault and felt like I was in this roller-coaster that I couldn’t get off. I spent every day crying until finally enough was enough and I left. Still he came and begged me to give him another chance and I did, but it wasn’t my choice to be in the relationship.
We didn’t live together again and I started to go out with my friends more and more.
I found that I really was so much happier and better without this person in my life.
Tina: So How did you cope?
Cael (the victim):  I really don’t know, I think I was only just functioning really. Getting up each day going to work, hoping that this person would treat me better this day – but it never happened.
TINA: How did the situation change?
Cael (the victim): Finally, after continual phone calls and harassment from him I got a restraining order.
Tina: What helped you?
Cael (the victim): My friends and family helped me a lot, telling me I didn’t need this jerk in my life that I was a better person than him and I deserved someone better, someone who respects me and allows me to be me. Also being the mother of grown children who loved me and just wanted to see me happy – I wanted to be there for them.
Tina: What would you say to others in your shoes?
Cael (the victim): Get out before it is too late. I don’t know what would have happened if I stayed, I think about that and just feel very lucky that I started to believe in myself again and managed to get out of the web. It was my personal nightmare – one that I will never be in again.
ANNE’s Story
Tina (me): So tell me, what really happened, what was it like?
ANNE: There was a boy in my biology class who I perceived to be quiet, intelligent, and gentle. Over the summer after school year was over, he asked me out, and I said yes. He wanted to see me in person every day. We would go for walks in the park, out to dinner. After every time I saw him, he would ask me to talk to him online during the evening. When I would leave my computer for a few minutes, or when he could not see me, he told me that he felt like he was dying.
He told me that 30 seconds without me literally ripped his world apart. After dates with him, I started feeling depressed and isolated. I felt embarrassed and controlled. He told me that I was all he could think about and that nothing else mattered. When I tried to leave him, he told me that he had a gun and was going to commit suicide. He pulled the trigger several times, but thankfully, the gun was on lock.
TINA: How did you cope?
ANNE: I consider myself to be a fairly stable person. I would prefer to not be in a relationship at all rather than to be in a relationship where I do not feel respected. Eventually, I dealt with my boyfriend’s emotional abuse by discussing the issue with my parents and some very close friends. I tried to remember that the situation wasn’t my fault, even though I felt terrible about it. My first step was realizing that my intuition (of feeling controlled and uncomfortable) was something that I had to stop brushing off as a figment of my imagination. Love should not hurt.
TINA: How did the situation change?
ANNE: I am lucky to have realised the signs of my boyfriend’s instability early on. Since he continued to harass me after I broke up with him, the school counsellor and a police officer eventually had to be notified.
Now he has been transferred to a different school. I think if I had not spoken up to people about my situation, my boyfriend’s possessive emotional abuse would have eventually turned physical.
TINA: What helped you?
ANNE: My high sense of self-esteem initially made me realise that I did not deserve to be in this type of relationship.
Although it was difficult at first, I soon realized that I am not dependent on a boy to feel valued and loved. I love myself. My family and friends also helped me to cope with the situation enormously.
TINA: What's your advice to others
ANNE: No one should EVER make you feel pressured to remain in a relationship based upon guilt. What my boyfriend did to me was manipulative. You should be in a relationship because you want to; not because you have to.
Even though it may seem out of reach, you can and will be able to find a person who respects you.
Just give it time and don’t date anyone too soon without getting to know them really well first.
The person should respect your personal space and he should not try to make you feel responsible for his actions (example: suicide). Respect and kindness is what love really is. If you are in an abusive relationship, you do not deserve it.
Seek ways to get out NOW before emotional abuse leads to physical, or physical to death. Talking to caring, trustworthy people really does help.

BELLA’S Story
Tina (me): Tell me, what really happened, what was it like?
BELLA: I met my boyfriend when I was 15. He was three years older, and we started going out. He was my first boyfriend. I just thought he was so cool, he’s really good looking. At first he came across as pretty nice towards me, sort of protective of me, looking out for me etc.
But it wasn’t long after we got together that he started this jealousy thing, like he was constantly watching me to see if I was cheating on him. He just went crazy if I talked to other guys at a party or something, on and on at me like I was flirting with every guy I spoke to, which I wasn’t. He was like “you’re my girlfriend and you do as I say”, basically that was his attitude. At the time, I took it as a sign that he really loved me, he wanted me so much.
We slept together after about a month. I was quite nervous, mainly because my parents are really strict and I was like, just so scared about them finding out.
They’re Italian and are quite religious, they don’t believe in sex before marriage. I didn’t really want to do it, it was my first time and I was really stressed out about it, but I thought I’d better, because he really wanted it. He’d say “I don’t think you really love me, because you don’t want to have sex with me”, and he’d accuse me of liking someone else instead of him. And he went on about how everyone else did it, what was wrong with me? Eventually I gave in to the pressure. Every time I had sex I felt so guilty, and I was really worried that my parents would find out. I don’t know why, I just felt like I’d done the wrong thing and felt really bad, even though I knew quite a lot of other girls at my school had already slept with their boyfriends.
My boyfriend’s attitude towards me was really like “you’re mine”, like he wanted to control everything I did. He wanted to control who I saw, what I wore, what I said, it was like he wanted me to be what he wanted. He didn’t like me talking to friends, he was really critical of all my friends, thought they were stupid and stuff like that. After a while it got really bad, if I told him I’d spoken to a friend on the phone he’d be like “you know I don’t like you talking to her”. Whenever I tried to argue with him, he’d just get so aggressive, start shouting at me, and sometimes he’d like, start grabbing onto me really hard, he’d come up really close and stand over me and shout. Even though I was really upset, I’d just give in.
Sometimes he’d apologise for shouting at me. He’d be like “I’m sorry, I can’t help getting angry with you, if you didn’t do these things I wouldn’t be so angry, it’s just because I love you so much”. Other times he’d stay in this really angry mood, he’d just sit there in silence and sort of smash things around, or if he was driving he’d drive like a maniac.
He was always suspicious of me and it was like I couldn’t do anything right. Once he was waiting for me after school and he saw me talking to this guy in my class. Anyway he got so angry with me for talking to another guy that he pushed me, really hard so I nearly fell over. And then he’s still going on at me “Why were you talking to him? What were you talking about?”. I’d really had enough, so I said “Just shut up”. Then he says “What did you say?”, so I repeated it, and then he just slapped me across the face. And there were like a few people there watching us, and my boyfriend screams at them “you mind your own business”. So no-one said anything, they all just turned away.
That was the only time he actually hit me. The rest of the time it was all this harassment and criticism.
It just wore me down. Normally I’m like, a really talkative person, really social and happy, but I became really quiet with him, hardly ever smiled. I was just so stressed out all the time, constantly worrying what he thought, trying to do what he wanted so he wouldn’t get so aggro or hassle me. I was really nervous around him and scared of setting him off.
I lost contact with most of my friends because he harassed me so much when I saw them. I didn’t really tell anyone about how he treated me, because I thought it must be my fault. Once some friends saw him shouting at me about something and they were like “Why do you put up with it? You should just break up with him”. That made me feel really bad too, because I felt so stupid, like there was something wrong with me for putting up with it. But I just couldn’t leave him. I thought he really loved me, and he wasn’t always so bad to me, sometimes he was really nice. I thought if I was more like what he wanted me to be, he would treat me better. I suppose I really blamed myself, felt like I wasn’t good enough. I felt really unconfident. After being treated like shit for so long, that’s how I felt. And I was totally scared of his reaction if I left him, he’d just go crazy, I didn’t know what he’d do if I tried to leave.
One time when I had told him I’d had enough and didn’t want to see him anymore, he threatened to tell my parents that we’d had sex, and that I’d smoked drugs with him. I thought my parents would absolutely kill me if they found out. It was like he tried to blackmail me into staying with him.
His older sister used to see how he treated me, but she made out like it was my fault. She’d say “you know what his temper is like, you don’t want to go and provoke him, why do you provoke him like that?”
He used to get me to ring him every night I didn’t see him, when I got home from school and before I went to bed, just to check up on what I’d been doing. My parents didn’t want me to make so many phone calls, so I had to try to sneak around and ring, which was not easy.
This went on for nearly three years. I don’t know why, but finally I decided I had to break up with him. I think I realised he was never going to change, it was always going to be like this with him. It was like I just snapped, I just had enough and couldn’t take any more.
On the day I broke up with him, I’d been late to meet him, then I had to hand in an assignment that I’d worked really hard on. He was so angry about me being late, he grabbed the assignment and just ripped it up, right in front of me. I’d been told by the teacher I’d probably fail if I didn’t get that assignment in. So I just lost it. I said “that’s it”, and I walked off in the other direction. He comes after me and says “don’t you walk away from me”. I said “I’ve had it with this shit”. So we’re screaming at each other in the street, he’s grabbing me by the arms and holding me and shouting at me, saying if I leave him he’ll tell my parents what I’ve done, like having sex and everything. But I just didn’t care anymore, I thought I’ll cope easier with my parent’s reaction than I can with staying with him. Finally he walks off, he’s just wild at me, and I know this is not the end of this, because he’s said he’s going to go and tell my parents.
When I get home he’s not there, and I just walk in and burst into tears in front of my mother. I just blurted out everything. She was pretty shocked, going on about “How could you? You should have told us, we knew he was bad for you” etcetera. Then there’s a knock at the door. My dad answers it, and it’s my boyfriend. Dad won’t let him in, so my boyfriend starts yelling at him. Dad manages to get the door shut to keep him out.
It took a while for my parents to calm down, but I think they had to calm down eventually because I was just so upset and crying and everything. I was partly crying with relief, the relief of having finally told someone. The next day I left school early so I didn’t have to see him afterwards. I stayed at home all weekend. My parents have an answering machine and he left a few messages, some angry, some apologetic, but I didn’t talk to him.
One night the next week he arrived at the front door again but my dad didn’t let him in. He was shouting threats and banging and throwing stuff at the house. My parents decided to call the police, even though I didn’t want them to. He took off when he saw the police car on the road, so the police didn’t see him. The policewoman was quite nice actually, and said we could get an Intervention Order to stop him coming near the house, or near me at school. They said I would need to go to a Magistrates court and say what had happened, and why I was afraid of him. I said I’d think about it. I was scared to go to court, scared of how he’d react, and of what other people would think.



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