By Samragyee Gautam.
“That day I came back home only to get an energy drink poured down my face and being flicked in the head all the way to the back of the bathroom and he wouldn’t stop hitting me so I had to push him back and clawed his face because I had had enough of it.” Some of us know what I am going to talk about. Because recent data shows that on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. So most of us must have encountered a story of domestic violence or unfortunately may have been a victim once in their life time.
Domestic violence is defined by the US Department of Justice, as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone. Britne Worl is a survivor of emotional and physical domestic violence who is vocal about her story to raise awareness.
Like most of the domestic violence, Britne’s partner Nick Weber started to harass her emotionally saying she as not worthy enough and that she was good for nothing. Britne and Nick dated for 2 years and then got married in 2014 which only lasted for 8 months. As mentioned by Britne, Nick then had a 7 year old daughter who was the main reason why she got married to him and later stayed in the relationship even when the violence continued. Britne was the sole provider of the family as her husband had no job. She was even willing to find a second job to support her household despite the fact that her partner constantly tried to bring her down, tried to isolate her from friends and family. One day when she got called in for interview but he didn’t, things got messy. He tried to stop her but she somehow managed to go considering how important that job was for the family. That day she came back home to get an energy drink poured down her face and being flicked in the head all the way to the back of the bathroom. She mentioned how she thought she loved him and was willing to go through all the emotional pain and stress just to make their marriage work.
But that day when violence took a physical form, she couldn’t stop herself and counter attached her partner for self-defense. She clawed his face, which he used as advantage and told the neighbors that she was the attacker; playing the victim card. That is when she knew that things had escalated. Six months in the marriage when she finally realized things were out of control and she had to do something, not just for herself but her step daughter Hailey Weber. She knew in her heart that she had to leave but triggering moment was when her step daughter mentioned that she never wanted to have a relationship, at least not like them. “It broke my heart to hear my daughter say I don’t want a relationship like yours and I kept thinking what am I showing you?”, said Britne. She went on saying that her daughter was the main reason why she left that broken relationship to be a better role model to her and that she could be a strong women in future.
Unfortunately, her story is as common and simple like every other survivors’ story. Men and women both have been the victim of this type but statistics show that number of women victims are more in number as compared to male victims. Nearly 3 in 10 women (29%) and 1 in 10 men (10%) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by a partner and report a related impact on their functioning. Issues like this contribute hugely to the overall development of the society. Home should be a place to feel safe and secure where children can learn from their parents and be a better person in the future. There is a popular saying for this: Home is your first school and parents are your first teachers.
So what can we do to stop domestic violence and eliminate it completely? If only there was few sentenced correct answer for this. However, there are some measures that can be adopted or applied to make a change. Starting by necessary awareness to this topic. Some of us acknowledge the importance of equality, sex education and even protest against criminal activities. But we have this picture perfect life planned after marriage or even after being in a relationship with someone for few years, we often forget to realize the possibility of domestic exploitation and the importance of raising voice against it. Parents should raise their children with a concept that it is “not okay” to be with someone who is exploiting them even if they think that they are being loved or cared. Society is made of up families so having this family norm step up against domestic violence is necessary.
Raising voice against it and reporting a violence when one comes across it; let that be in school, workplace or even in the family is equally important as acknowledging this problem. And counselling the victim can contribute to their healing process. Britne Worl is a proof for that who has been healing for the last three years. She mentioned the help she got after she left her husband in Oregon was life changing experience and helped her realize her self-worth. That is why she is vocal about her story and wants more people to know about it so that she can at least save one girl and encourages everyone to report any form of violence. One can do that through various domestic hotlines. For details on this, check out the following links:
For Idaho: https://icdv.idaho.gov/
Remember just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it will never happen to you.
Stay safe and try to keep people around you safe!
Talk to you all next Friday!