domestic violence

“Maybe this time he’ll change”- Working through the hurt of domestic violence

November 16, 2020
domestic violence

Amaya is a cheerful, attractive mother of two children, married to a well-respected professor in Nigeria. “My husband is great with women, popular with men,” she says. But there is a sinister side to Amaya’s partner. “At home, he’s a monster. He’s intensely jealous.”

Amaya’s face is etched with fear as she continues her story. “The problem began after we’d been married for just a few weeks. My mother and sister visited us, and we had dinner, talking and laughing. It felt great. But when they left, my husband violently threw me onto the couch. I was dumbfounded.”

Sadly, that was just the beginning of Amaya’s ordeal, as she has been battered repetitively after that. The abuse seems to follow a predictable cycle. Amaya’s husband beats her, then he begs her and promises never to do it again. His behavior improves for a while. Then the nightmare starts all over. “I keep thinking that maybe this time he’ll change,” Amaya says.

Cases like Amaya’s are prevalent in Nigeria. According to a study conducted in 2019, the prevalence of domestic violence in the Nigeria is alarming as 82 percent of respondents agreed that domestic violence is on the rise in the country. In some parts of Nigeria, it is seen as acceptable to physically assault one’s wife. They term it an act of “disciplining” or instilling morals in women.

The truth is, statistics may reveal the magnitude of the problem “domestic abuse”, but they cannot begin to describe the emotional and physical pain that each victim suffers. To statisticians, a victim is just another figure in the charts.

Are you a victim of domestic violence or do you know someone who is? The following points can help you.

Understand that Help is Available

Why may you need help ? Domestic abuse is a very complex situation. Thus when deciding on how to deal with it, you may struggle to weigh factors that seem to compete with each other, such as: your personal safety, the well-being of your children, your financial situation, your love for your partner, a desire to salvage the relationship if your partner changes his actions, and more.

A trusted friend or family member may be able to provide practical and emotional support. Talking to someone who cares for you can make a big difference.

Hotlines for victims of domestic violence may also offer immediate support. Those who work these hotlines can help you develop a safety plan. If your partner acknowledges his problem and sincerely wants to change, a hotline may be able to help him with the first steps he needs to take.

Break the cycle of Domestic Violence

The abusive cycle basically follows the abuser threatening violence, the abuser strikes, he apologizes, promises to change and offers gifts. It’s basically up to you to break the chain, yank the cord, break the cycle.

You need to understand that the violence becomes more frequent and severe over time and if you do not put an end to it, the harm this may cause might be extremely severe and irreversible. The longer you stay in an abusive relationship, the greater the physical and emotional trauma. There is a high chance of becoming depressed and anxious, or begin to doubt your ability to take care of yourself. You might feel helpless or useless but do not forget that you are not alone.

Do not Blame yourself

Most abusers tend to manipulate their wives into making them think they are the reason for their aggressive attitude. Do not be deceived into thinking you are at fault. We are all responsible for our actions.

At times, an abuser’s actions may be influenced by a personality or mental disorder, his family background, or the misuse of alcohol. Even so, he is accountable for the way he treats you. And he is responsible to do what it takes to change his actions.

Nothing justifies him battering or maltreating you.

Help Victims of Domestic Violence

domestic violence
A domestic violence victim who wish not to be identify is silhouetted at The bridge over troubled waters’ shelter on Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, in Pasadena. ( J. Patric Schneider / For the Chronicle )

If you want to help victims of domestic abuse, you must prove that you are willing to listen, but do not force her to talk. Reassure her that you believe what she says. Speak encouragingly by using words to build her self-worth. Tell her that you care about her. And encourage her to get help. Offer support by giving her practical assistance, such as watching her children for a short time or providing a meal. Verify that she has a safety plan, including a place to go in case of an emergency. Build up her confidence in her ability to make her own decisions. Provide her with information, and talk about possible options. But do not tell her what she should do. Let her make her own decisions.

The Point?

No woman should ever have to put up with domestic violence. Your life is so precious and you are worth more than you think, than anyone thinks. Consider the options available to you and do not be afraid to seek help. A man who raises his hands on a woman to exercise power or prove dominance is not a man. Thus, don’t get mad but the person you call a husband is nothing more than a he-goat.

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