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Unconditional Support Can Help Women Leave Abusive Relationships. This Twitter Thread Explains How To Provide It

November 24, 2022 | by Janvi Manchanda

Ever since the chilling details of Shraddha Walker’s murder have seen the light of day, the much-needed conversations about intimate partner violence have begun. TBH, this should’ve happened long back considering the data that we have about intimate partner violence. Just a few days ago, UN Chief Antonio Guterres revealed that every 11 minutes, a woman is killed by her partner or family member. It’s shocking how this epidemic of domestic abuse has been plaguing our world for forever and we’ve still failed to make a change that matters. What’s worse is that this cycle of abuse continues because as a society we have failed to create a safe space for women to open up about the abuse and walk away from their abusive partners. From the family to the authorities, no one provides the kind of support and resolution that a domestic violence survivor requires forcing them to stay in hostile situations all their lives. Much in line with the same thought, a Twitter user shared an eye-opening thread on the struggles of being a domestic abuse victim in our society.

Taking to Twitter, a woman pointed out that in most cases of domestic abuse and intimate partner violence, the family knows all about it and is a party to the crimes. More often than not, the family actually encourages the partner to hit her and keep her under control and when she leaves the home at her own risk, not only can she not return but she also has nowhere to go. Further, the user shared that the police are not of much help either because in most cases, they simply take the woman’s statement and send her home after which they call the partner and “extort” money from their family to “make it go away” thereby leaving the woman in a vulnerable situation. And let’s be honest, we’ve all heard the police saying “ghar ka mamla hai” on numerous occasions and in most cases the women either leave their partner and get a divorce or continue the relationship if they have nowhere to go. And in case the woman leave, it’s common for the partner to stalk, hound and character assassinate her because it is believed to be the “man’s right” and as much as I wish things were different, truth be told, I’ve been through something very similar.

A woman who walked away from her partner due to intimate partner violence, I can vouch for the fact that there are consequences. Don’t be surprised if your partner and his family hound you or emotionally abuses you or questions your character for choosing to walk away. And it’s not very uncommon for people to believe the man over the woman and side with him even after witnessing things. Even in my case, most of the people, acquaintances, neighbours and his friends chose to remain silent even after witnessing his bad or rather problematic behaviour instead of calling it out and till today, they continue to stand by him. TBH, that’s not very shocking because that’s how things have been for the longest time. And we’re witnessing the same in Shraddha Walker’s case too. Speaking of the same, the Twitter user called out all the people for hyping the case and talking about domestic violence while effectively failing to react to the same thing happening to the women living near them. She questioned the people for willingly choosing to believe the perpetrator’s version of the story despite witnessing the way the abuse has affected the woman. The internet user went on to point out how women are denied mental health help, and support from NGOs and their families while adding that they cannot continue staying with their friends for forever. The woman also pointed out the consequences the woman has to face if she chooses to stand up alone. I was blessed enough to have a family that not only supported me but also helped me heal and I had my education and work to keep me going but not every woman is that lucky.

Also Read: Aaftab Poonawala Has Confessed. But It’s Still Not Enough To Prove Him Guilty Of Shraddha Walkar’s Murder

We all know that for the longest time, women have been the flagbearers of patriarchy. We’ve seen our mothers and their mothers suffer due to domestic violence and yet when it happens to us, they teach us to remain quiet and the cycle of abuse continues. Speaking of it, the Twitter user called out the fact that women already know what happens to those who complain of domestic violence. While most of them are told that they’re not alone, the truth is that they, in fact, are alone and have to face it alone and all of us already know it. The woman went on to call out all those who do nothing to help a woman facing domestic violence and yet think it’s okay to simply say “she should leave”. What’s worse is that most of these women who are victimized by domestic abuse, especially those who have kids, choose to stay with their abusive partners knowing what they’ll have to face.

TBH, we have failed as a society because we have consciously chosen not to teach our kids that it’s okay to leave an abusive partner and not look back. In the Twitter thread, the user urged people to teach their kids to leave their partners the first time they raise their hand. She urged people to teach their kids, their daughters to walk away from abusive relationships and get a job and be financially independent. She went on to add that we should normalise teaching our daughters to earn and be financially independent even if they’re happy and safe in their relationship. The internet user also spoke about economic abuse and pointed out that financial independence alone isn’t enough because an abusive partner may continue to harass their partner even if they are financially sound because money isn’t enough, women have to be willing to believe that they can manage their own expenses and fend for themselves.

Also Read: Aftab Poonawalla Killed Shraddha Walker “In The Heat Of The Moment.” How Many Times Will Men Get Away With Using This To Justify Their Behaviour?

Digging deeper into the matter, the woman shared that a lot of abused women have all their money including their “fat dowries and salaries” in the husband’s control and if a woman does not believe in her right and ability to be independent, no matter how much she earns, it won’t help her. She went on to speak about the mindset of an abused woman and pointed out that most women in such situations have low self-esteem no matter what kind of background or education they have. Abuse women tend to lose their sense of self and self-identity when they’re trapped in a cycle of abuse which is why it is essential to provide them with steady support in cases of domestic violence.

The Twitter user, further shared how a woman struggling with intimate partner violence requires constant logistical, emotional and mental support wherein she make ask the same questions repeatedly and has suicidal ideas or maybe even attempts but one has to remain patient and provide support and answer their questions and reassure them till they’re ready to leave their partner and take a stand for themselves. And TBH, that may take weeks, months or even years and some may never even reach that stage where they want to walk away. It’s important that we support these women in whatever decision they may take, irrespective of how we feel about it.

This Twitter user is right. We cannot change things unless we support women in whatever they choose to do as a victim of domestic violence. Shaming them and withdrawing support because they chose to stay is not the right way to go about it. Just like we cannot force a woman to dress the way we want, the same way we cannot force her to choose what we like. But what we can do is, not raise our daughters with a romantic notion of marriage and a “prince charming” and tell them to see a partner as a provided and then expect them to have the courage and resources to walk away, as pointed out by this woman on Twitter. She rightly said, “It takes a village to break a marriage too.”

Most of us live with the notion that we should try and make things work in a relationship, especially in a marriage and that’s the advice that most of us hear from those around us but this needs to change. As a woman and a victim of domestic abuse, she does not need to try to make things work or “fix” anything because TBH, it’s already broken. And instead, it’s the abusive partner who needs mental health help and treatment for their rage and lack of impulse control as pointed out by this internet user. A victim is cannot be expected to help this person or even wait till they heal and deal with their issues. Instead, she is the one who needs and deserves unconditional love, care and support till their partner can prove that they have changed. More importantly, the woman needs to be removed from a hostile situation. Asking a woman to work things out with her husband is not the right way to go and I promise you, it does not help with her self-esteem. Instead, these women need to be supported and encouraged to see who they are and what they can do. They need support and getting their self-esteem back together and built themselves from the scratch once again.

Women victimized by domestic violence aren’t just battered physically but also emotionally and it takes a lot of courage for them to get up and walk away which is why it is essential that they receive the right kind of support so as to ensure that the abuser does not hold them back like bonded labour with their manipulative ways. Teaching women to recognise these things is just as important and this Twitter user has pointed it out, with an example, how abusers use money as a way to threaten women into submission but support from their family and the right resources can help save them.

Also Read: The Shraddha Walkar Case Has Us Shook. But Two More Women Butchered In The Same Week Paint A Dark Picture About Women’s Safety

Also Read: UN Chief Proposes A Strong Plan For Governments To End Violence Against Women, Says “Let’s Declare We’re Feminists”

The internet user went on the say that as friends, we need to offer them legitimate help instead of empty words and stand by them in their time of need. A woman in an abusive situation needs help that she can actually rely on and not people who promise to stand by them but fail to provide them with any support.

As a woman living in a world plagued by domestic violence, I assure you, we need more compassion, empathy and sensitivity while dealing with victims or survivors. If we have any hopes of surviving this epidemic, we need to step up our game and learn to unconditionally support women dealing with intimate partner violence instead of simply raising our voices and complaining about it.

Exclusive! Advocate Ishanee Sharma Talks To Us About Domestic Violence, Women’s Options In Abusive Marriages

Janvi Manchanda

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