How to Support the victims of Domestic Abuse?

There are more than 10 million domestic violence and abuse victims each year – by the time you finish the sentence, at least one woman has been assaulted. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that domestic violence is a plague that knows no bounds.  Physical abuse is prevalent in all demographics, from those below the poverty line to the million-dollar faces we all adore.

And while domestic violence has no racial or economic bounds, according to VeryWell, research seems to show that black women are most likely to experience domestic violence, followed by Hispanics and then whites, with Asians the least likely to endure domestic violence. And while black and Hispanic women have been shown to be more likely to report domestic violence, those who fear deportation might be less likely to report their abuser. Making a horrendous situation even worse.

Every day, however, there are plenty of women who are able to free themselves from domestic abuse. But it doesn’t end there. Women of domestic violence often experience symptoms of trauma long after escape. They need a loving, supportive, and understanding network to help them regain their confidence. Understandably, it’s difficult to know what to say or do to help a loved one circumvent further crisis after ending an abusive relationship. Here are a few things you can do to help a woman during her transition from victim to victor.

Lend a listening ear. Having the opportunity to talk about the situation to a non-threatening and sympathetic friend is cathartic. Sometimes, the abused may not be fully convinced of the gravity of their former situation and may need to hear themselves say it out loud. Listen attentively, but don’t push for details. She will open up in her own time.

Help her find a qualified therapist. As much as you can listen, your friend will need much more emotional support than you can provide. Help her find a therapist who is experienced in helping people heal after an abusive relationship. In addition to individual therapy, you can point her in the direction of local support groups, where she can discuss her situation with others in the same boat. This is all the more important if substance abuse is a factor (as it often is in these situations). This may help her realize that she is not alone and overcome lingering feelings of guilt or grief that she associates with the relationship. Mental Health America offers a list of specialized support groups on its website.

Be specific in your offers of help. Your friend may not know what she needs as her mind is still swimming with fear and apprehension. Avoid vague statements such as, “Call me if you need anything.” Instead, pay attention to her environment and social or verbal cues. If she has children, you might, for instance, offer to take the kids out for ice cream so that she can have a moment alone. Set up a schedule with other close friends and family that know about the situation to provide meals and transportation.

Encourage her to pursue her passions. Lots women find comfort in their hobbies. And since many victims of domestic violence are denied any form of happiness by their abuser, it is more important now than ever that your friend do something strictly for herself. Drawing, painting, and other forms of self-expression may help her refocus her priorities while offering a temporary respite from her emotional anguish.

Provide her with alternative therapy options. The National Center for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder reports that acupuncture, meditation, and relaxation exercises are viable ways to supplement trauma recover. Animal therapy is another proven technique to overcome depression, which is often triggered by domestic violence. Dogs are especially effective companions for women who may not be quite ready to talk about their experiences but need comfort and unconditional love. Health Fitness Revolution magazine asserts that having access to a service animal can provide anxiety relief, encourage communication, and has a number of overall positive psychological benefits.

Don’t insist that she start dating. Domestic violence leaves an emotional scar that can make it difficult for victims to open their hearts once again. Avoid the temptation to set your finally-free friend up; she will begin dating in her own time. Codependency and domestic violence often go hand-in-hand, according to Darlene Lancer, a marriage and family therapist and author of Conquering Shame and Codependency. You should encourage her to learn how to depend on herself before pursuing new love interests.

In conclusion, the most important things you can do for a victim of domestic violence is be there for support and help her explore this new chapter in her life.

 The article has been contributed by Nora Hood. She can be contacted via her email nora@threedaily.org 

 

The Victims of Pakistan’s Acid Attacks

Yesterday, The New York Times published an opinion article by Nicholas Kristof, which highlighted the plight of thousands of women in Pakistan who become victims of the acid attacks far and wide in the country. These poor women become the victims of patriarchy, societal norms as their lives, relationships, family and above all their ‘being’ is neglected, denied, deprived and even sacrificed on the name of ‘honour’.

Being a woman in a patriarchal society is an unimaginable life. You are reduced to nothingness. You do not hold any feelings, emotions or any respect. Your existence is no longer an existence. It’s something there, open to abuse, violence and sometimes murder. A life some argue, is worse than a death.

Global Minorities Alliance urges Pakistan government to implement laws with action to help thousands of women who become victims of this barbarous acts of violence by men. There is indeed no ‘honour’ in killing.

The ‘Saving Face’ a documentary which has highlighted the plight of these women who go through excruciating pain both at familial, societal and legal level to get justice. However, not everyone get justice. The fight for rights of women go on.

To watch the documentary on the acid victims of Pakistan click here: ‘Saving Face

The rape of Nepalese maids and the Saudi ‘Criminal Diplomat’

The recent reports of two Nepalese maids, raped and illegally confined by Saudi Arabian Diplomat Majed Hassan Ashoor, clamour for justice and protection of migrant workers in India that are often subject to abuse and fraud.

The plight of Nepalese Migrant Workers

Punctuated with debilitating economy, millions of Nepalese travel to neighbouring countries like India, which has unrestricted entry for Nepalese nationals. In a bid to support their families, many unfortunate workers are often duped by human traffickers and land in unwanted circumstances. The dream selling of so-called unscrupulous agents begin to haunt these migrant workers that are stranded on the streets in a foreign country with nowhere to go while they often become ‘victims’ of violence and fraud. According to Nepalese Official data on average around two migrant workers die abroad each day with death toll topping 240 between January to April in 2014 alone.

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In the newly discovered case of abuse of migrant workers, two Nepalese women were held at the luxurious residence of Saudi diplomat Majed Hassan Ashoor in the city of Gurgaon near New Delhi for several months until a non-governmental organisation flagged the issue and filed a complaint against alleged rape and confinement. The police rescued the women from the residence and they were sent back to Nepal later. Meanwhile, the diplomat also left India with his family flying the flag of Saudi Arabia, I presume.

A case of diplomatic inviolability?

Why was diplomat not arrested against the crime which challenge women across the world and in India in particular where rape unfortunately occurs so very often? According to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Article 41, the consular in the receiving State enjoys various perks and privileges as stated in the convention and the Article 41.1: ‘Consular officers shall not be liable to arrest or detention pending trail, except in the case of a grave crime and pursuant to a decision by competent judicial authority.’

Without doubt rape is a ‘grave crime’ which hurts women physically, mentally, socially, culturally and subsequently also economically. Therefore, it is necessary to protect and safeguard women in vulnerable conditions such as these Nepalese women who left their homes and families for a ‘better’ life in India. Being a foreigner in a hostile atmosphere even further puts you at the fringes of vulnerability.

The Nepalese Ambassador in New Delhi, Deep Upadhyay told reporters that the case should be pursued even if the diplomat had left the country. ‘The victims must get justice’ said Mr Upadhyay.

What churns my stomach most is the silence and denial of Saudi government against the case in question. The sudden ‘exit’ of its criminal diplomat coupled with Saudi government claim about the case being ‘baseless’ reeks of underhand ‘deal’ between Saudi Arabia and India which was also echoed by former Indian Secretary Maharaj Krishna who dubbed the departure of criminal diplomat as ‘solution arrived at through mutual consultation’.

 The victims must get justice

Diplomats are ambassadors of a state, a well sought after public service, they are an embodiment of trust, respect and honour in any receiving country. However, for the case in point, beyond the veneer of International convention and diplomatic inviolability lies the pernicious abuse of power and lust, preying at the weak and drawn out existences of these women who for better lives, left their country to feed and support their families back home. Unknown to the future perils in the foreign land, they among others are often hoodwinked, abused, confined, assaulted and often murdered by those who in their big cars flying the flag of their state kill them – like flies in the hands of wanton boys.

A rape is a rape is a rape is a rape! The dignity of women should be protected and the criminal should be prosecuted by the law of the land. The Saudi Government must take a stand and prosecute its criminal beyond the state politics since everyone should be equal before law regardless of a rank or hierarchy.  Equally India as a host nation must act responsibly and protect the rights of the migrant workers who help spin the economic wheel of their country and must provide them a safer atmosphere in a much needed dignified way.

Shahid Khan is the viceShahidkhan-chairperson of Global Minorities Allliance http://www.globalminorities.co.uk. He can be reached on twitter @shahidshabaz