Those suffering domestic abuse should tell someone and break the silence

Dear Editor,

It has been with great concern that I have noticed the increase in the number of attacks on women and men accused of infidelity, more often than not resulting in the death of one or both partners. And the question always is, “Wha happen to these men nowadays?” I would like to offer a new slant to the view that men are always in the wrong and to offer some advice based on my own personal experience.

In Guyana and around the world we always hear about abused women and hardly ever of abused men. And there are countless organisations to help and support abused women, and how many for abused men?  The thing is that men who are abused usually do not complain or have no one they can turn to or talk to. They are afraid of being laughed at and being ridiculed and even being blamed for their predicament if or when they confide in their relatives, friends, the police or even their religious leaders. So they endure their abuse in silence, be it verbal, emotional or psychological, or sexual, until eventually it becomes overbearing and they react violently and attack their partner physically.

Of course none of these violent acts could ever be justified and in order to avoid them, men, and also women, need to do something as early as possible. But first one must be able to recognise when one is in an abusive relationship. One should ask oneself the following questions, the answers to which are the key to recognizing an abusive relationship:

●  Does your partner tease you in a hurtful way in private or in public?

●  Does your partner call you names?

●  Does your partner act jealously in relation to your friends, family, or co-workers?

●  Does your partner make fun of you, your friends or your activities?

● Does your partner get angry about the way you dress, your hairstyle or make-up?

● Does your partner check up on you by calling, driving by or getting someone else to do it?

●  Has your partner gone to places with you or sent someone just to “keep an eye on you”?

●  Does your partner insist on knowing who you talk to on the phone?

●  Does your partner blame you for their problems or their bad moods?

●  Does your partner get angry so easily that you feel you are walking on eggshells?

●  Does your partner hit walls, break stuff or do other things that scare you?

●  Does your partner often drink or use drugs?

●  Does your partner insist that you drink or use drugs with them?

●  Have you lost friends or no longer see some of your family because of your partner?

●  Does your partner accuse you of being interested in someone else?

●  Does your partner take your personal belongings and keep them in order to get you to do something you don’t want to do?

●  Does your partner dare you to do things you would not normally do?

●  Does your partner challenge you to prove your love and loyalty?

●  Does your partner get drunk or high in order to punish you?

●  Does your partner force you to have sex when you don‘t want to?

●  Does your partner force you to have sex in ways that you do not want to?

●  Does your partner leave marks on you in obvious places to prove ownership?

●  Does your partner threaten to kill you or themselves if you leave?

●  Does your partner act one way in front of others and another way in front of you?

If anyone experiences one or more of the above, they need to take stock of their relationship and may need to get out of it before it‘s too late. Here are some simple steps that can be taken to help end domestic abuse:

1. Tell yourself that you deserve to be treated better.

2. Stop blaming yourself for the abuse.

3.  Tell someone you trust, or who will listen – break the silence.

4.  Start counselling and ask for help; lean on someone.

5.  Stop protecting the abuser and hiding the abuse.

6.  Do not be ashamed any longer and try to face your fears.

7. Tell yourself you are being abused. Do not deny it any longer.

8. Share your courage and strength with others.

9. Focus on yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually.

The longest journey begins with the first step. Tell someone and break the silence.

Yours faithfully,
Gregory Holder

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