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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Remembering Muhammad Ali – Can you let the Ali in you shine?

By Rebecca Gebauer

 

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Last week the world mourned the loss of the “Greatest of All Time”, Muhammad Ali. Having grown up long after the great times of Ali as a boxer and generally being suspicious of superlatives being attributed to anyone, I observed the media coverage with some interest and surprise.

My memory of Ali is that of a man impacted by Parkinson’s disease who I merely remember lightening the Olympic Flame in Atlanta in 1996 and carrying the US flag at the Olympic Games in 2012. Additionally, as I was living in Germany at the time, even during those big events I did not get to see original interviews of Ali but only documentaries on him. Essentially, I had no idea why a boxer of the 1960s and 1970s was called “The Greatest of All Time”. Continue reading

Pakistan’s failure to protect Ahmadiyya citizens

Glasgow, Scotland: Global Minorities Alliance has called on Pakistan government to ensure the protection of Ahmadiyya Muslims who are routinely targeted because of their religious beliefs. Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims in 1974 after the then government caved in to religious pressure by mainstream Muslims who consider Ahmadis as heretic.

Global Minorities Alliance has called on numerous levels for the protection of the most persecuted minority in Pakistan.

Attacks on the Ahmadis are sadly routine in Pakistan who are chased only because of their religious beliefs said GMA’s Cheif Executive, Mr Manassi Bernard. ‘The government of Pakistan has failed implement National Action Plan (NAP) to curb hate crimes when it comes to Ahmmidyya community who are subject to targeted killing’.

In the most recent killing of Dr Hameed Ahmad, a 63-year old homeopathic practitioner who was killed outside his home in Darul Salam Colony, Attock, by unknown assailants. According to reports, the deceased was returning home from his clinic after the midday prayer. When he arrived at the gate of his house unknown assailants approached him on a motorcycle and opened fire. One of the shots struck him in the head causing him to die on the spot. After the assault the attackers managed to make a swift getaway.

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Dr Hameed Ahmad

Dr Hameed Ahmad had been facing threats and intimidation for some time now on account of being an Ahmadi. Almost a year and half ago his clinic survived an attempted arson attack. Despite all this he remained committed to his work until the very end and was recognized by all who knew him as a decent and upright man. He is survived by two sons and three daughters.

Expressing his grief at this tragic murder, the spokesperson of Jama’at Ahmadiyya, Salim ud Din said:

“I am shocked and saddened at the news of Dr Hameed Ahmad’s murder. This is a pain that Jama’at Ahmadiyya has long had to get used to. Only recently on May 25, another Ahmadi, Mr Daud Ahmad, was killed in a similar targeted attack in Karachi. It is a cause of great concern to us that in the space of ten days, two innocent Ahmadis have been gunned down outside their homes. It seems that members of the community are again in the crosshairs of extremist groups. On the one hand the authorities speak of good governance, and on the other nothing is done to safeguard the rights of Ahmadis in Pakistan. Hate-speech against Ahmadis has become a matter of routine in the country and enables tragic events like this to take place. The National Action Plan (NAP) was meant to crackdown on hate-crimes but it seems that this isn’t the case when it comes to Ahmadis. I call on the authorities to apprehend Dr Hamid Ahmad’s killers  as quickly as possible and send out a clear message that attacks such as this will not be tolerated and dealt with in the harshest terms.

Source: Nazarat Umur Aama, Pakistan