Intimate partner violence is described as emotional, physical and sexual abuse that a partner inflicts. A lot of us accept what we grow up seeing around us – in the media, in popular culture, in our families – as normal.
Violence in relationships is often justified in movies, books, and some even perceive it as romantic, an offshoot of passion (think Shahrukh hitting Aishwarya on her forehead, making her bleed in the movie ‘Devdas,’ so that she’d have a scar on her un-blemished beauty).
But is it really so?!
Because of what goes on around us, a lot of times people in abusive relationships accept their situation. These accepted realities then prevent us from actively questioning our relationships and the harm it does to us. We may then choose to live with the violence. The most common of these agreed realities of these are:
- Violence is a part of relationships Unfortunately society has made it okay to think that only physical violence is something to look out for and sometimes even this is not enough reason to leave a relationship because if only we made a ‘compromise,’ everything would be okay. This means we fail to acknowledge that verbal abuse and domestic violence is equally bad.
- Being single is not ‘cool’ For many people, owing to peer pressure, being single carries some sort of social stigma, preventing them from leaving a harmful relationship. They suffer years and years of domestic violence but do not quit.
- It’s not easy to find ‘love’ again ‘Nothing compares to your first love.’ Believe that and no matter how horrible the relationship is, coupled with the insecurity of being alone, it becomes hard to leave.
- Men should be in control From food that’s cooked according to the partner’s liking, to feeling responsible for keeping the ‘peace,’ replicating certain accepted values and traditions prevents many from realising the inherent unfairness in such a relationship. It is all a form of domestic violence.
- Women are never perpetrators, men are never victims In a patriarchal society, women are thought incapable of doing anything on their own. Further, women are thought of as weak and men, strong. So we often overlook a man who might be a victim of abuse.
- If you’re educated, you won’t go through violence The class divide in our society rarely lets us see beyond our ivory towers, to look down and realise that the situation may be quite similar on both sides of the fence. We mistakenly think that our privilege would keep us from ever experiencing a violent relationship.
- It will never happen to me It is always difficult to see ourselves as victims with whom something traumatic like domestic violence is happening. The belief that we are ‘strong’ enough to ‘deal with it’ is what makes many of us stay in an abusive relationship.
Acceptance and coming out of the denial phase is essential to get out of a violent relationship. We need to question these ‘accepted realities’ to bring about a change in mindsets and society as a whole. This will help more people to find the courage to walk out of violent relationships.
Have you ever been in a violent relationship? Did you suffer from any form of domestic violence? Speak out and share your experiences with us by commenting below or on Facebook.