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 

 

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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

Saudia Arabia, The new UN Custodian of the Human Rights?

copyright CC CHRISTOPHER DOMBRES

Saudi Arabia has been appointed as the head of a United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC) panel. No, it is not a joke, even though in normal cases, the words “Saudi Arabia” and “human rights” in the same sentence are a hint to yet another break of fundamental human rights in the Arabic country. Not surprisingly, this decision has been labelled as the “final nail in the coffin for the credibility of the UNHRC”. Just as a quick reminder, 87 people had been put to death in Saudi Arabia alone in 2014. This number is going to be topped this year, as we are already heading towards 100 executions (Amnesty International report these figures are much higher).

Human rights violations in Saudi Arabia commits (and the list is long) include torture, executions, religious persecution, violation of rights related to gender equality and information rights. These fundamental rights are violated; let alone modern concepts as freedom of speech, right to assembly association or due process of the law.

Nowadays, the aggression against Yemen is probably the best proof of the Arabic arrogance and disrespect of the International rules. In fact, Saudi Arabia has intervened in the domestic civil war, disregarding the principle of self- determination. Local Yemeni forces, loyal to the former president Saleh, were contesting the internationally recognized government of President Hadi. The civil war is one of the numerous outcomes of the Arab spring in the region and Saudi Arabia has definitely no right of intervention in Yemen’s internal affairs. According to the media reports, there are ten million people in the need of food, water and medical assistance. Nearly 1000 children have died. The situation is desperate.

Nevertheless, the country will now play quite an important role in the UNHRC. The panel it will lead is responsible, among other tasks, for interviewing and selecting experts who examine the human rights records of countries. To be honest, Saudi Arabia is most probably one of the least qualified countries to assume this role.

As said, this decision is but another threat to the UN´s credibility, but most probably the roots of wrong decisions are to be looked for in the structure, principles and processes of the institution.

As a basic principle, for instance, all members of the UN should be equal (this is why each state has got one vote, regardless of anything): “The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members”, this is stated by art. 2 of the UN Charter.

However, there are countries which are “more equal” than others, apparently: “Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters (not procedural ones) shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members; …”, UN Charter, art. 27, par. 3. This means that the permanent members (United Kingdom, United States of America, France, People´s Republic of China, Russian Federation) can block any decision of the institution. The UN has been founded in 1945, immediately after WWII, in order to “maintain international peace and security” (superfluous to remind that this aim has not been reached). The UN is now 70 years old and it has never been able to modernize itself in order to reflect the new situation of the geopolitical relations. If the veto- right had been kept only for the first years in order to grant to the then biggest actors of the international politics the power of making relevant decisions, it would have been understandable, but today it is not justifiable anymore.

Uncountable are the times the UN has interfered in internal situations, which were not international issues and may times UN has closed their eyes in front of genocides and continuous disregard of the humanitarian law.

These examples are made just and only in order to back the statement that the UN´s decision processes and organizational structure are spoiled and however the decision of appointing Saudi Arabia as head of the UNHRC´s panel cannot be a transparent one.

It is a shame to have a country which has such a poor human rights record to be the custodian of United Nations Human Rights Panel. If you want to try to change something, please sign and share this petition to urge United Nations to remove Saudia Arabia from the position it does not deserve.

Sign a petition here: Remove Saudi Arabia from the UN Council on Human Rights

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