Home is the last and final resort ofall beings. An ultimate place of refuge where you feel safe, comforted, sheltered. Right?
Wrong. Every 20 seconds someone is being abused within those same walls. The staggering statistics of people who are abused within those four walls are mind-boggling. Though technically any person is it an elderly, a child, a man may fall within this purview yet by and large the balance is adversely tilted against women who statistically 1 out of 4 have been victim of abuse at some point or the other. In India, itself, over 27.5 million women have suffered violence at home as per as a 2014 study in ‘The Lancet’. The graph in developed countries like U.S., say, for instance, is surprisingly no less.
Domestic Violence or Intimate Partner Violence, as it is sometimes referred to be a gruesome reality. Any kind of abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting be it marriage or cohabitation, constitute domestic violence.
It refers to physical, mental and emotional abuse of any kind leading to humiliation, agony, apprehension and insecurity. Threat, bullying, intimidation, blackmail or assault are the varied tools used to seek autonomy over another individual. Withholding of money, basic facilities, threat to children or other family members, name-calling, accusations, mud-slinging are diverse ways in which the victim’s will is sought to be broken.
What may start with sudden fits of anger leading to banging of doors and slamming of household objects may gradually accelerate to physical, mental and sexual assault of worst dimensions.
It is important in such a scenario to correctly assess the tell-tale signs at the very onset and not be a silent or hopeless sufferer. Action must be taken immediately by roping in supportive family members or friends, as the case might be who then can take adequate steps to lead the perpetrator towards counselling or other measures; else distress calls to N.G.Os or help centers or doctors can be made who can take sterner remedial measures, as they deem fit.
If all else fails, the logical step is to enlist the help of some local advocacy group who can guide the victim on how to stay safe and provide necessary infrastructural and advisory support. Police, administration and legal help can then accordingly be sought to provide relief to the victim.
Please note that domestic violence is not a normal behavior which can be peacefully managed at home by staying quiet and suffering. In worst case scenarios, it may escalate to unimaginable and horrific proportions. It not only affects the present but has a tendency to percolate and deeply impact the psyche of the coming generations being brought up within those walls.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 is available 24x7 to ensure continual support and redressal of grievances.
Seek help, take action and stay safe.