The clock indicates that it’s 4 in the morning. The neighbourhood is fast asleep, anticipating the busy day ahead. There’s a loud thud, forced scream and sound of glass shattering on the floor. You wake up groggy only to find yourself in the middle of a tumultuous and disarrayed situation.
“Go ahead strangle me”
She said to a cold-hearted figure while tears streamed down her face and glistened like glitters on cheap Christmas ornaments. Her voice calm but her body giving up from enduring years of torture and abuse. When you are just a child, you can barely make out the term “domestic violence”.
The feeling of worthlessness and extreme guilt seeps through your veins especially when you can’t do anything to help the abused parent. You dread going to bed, you despise the sound of the ticking clock. Blaming yourself for everything is an art you have mastered. Holding on to missing pieces, children are truly the unseen victims of domestic violence.
The Labyrinth Of Suffering
August melted away like popsicles under the scorching sun, then came the sedentary September. Soon enough October peeked through and the domestic violence victims still lived in daunting fear.
Domestic violence has existed since the beginning of time and the movement control order (MCO) acted as nothing but a catalyst to it. To make matters worse, commentaries made along the lines of using cartoon-like voices to keep your spouse happy only made women in such positions feel less-than and nothing more than a mere commodity.
These victims live as prisoners in their own house, in their own mind. It’s a constant urge of breaking into a run towards the exit except that it’s an endless maze of sheer agony. Facing both physical and mental abuse day in and out, they are weary to even think about seeking help.
The chances of leaving slims down when these chauvinistic abusers force them to be a stay-at-home mum with no source of income. Thus, at the end of the day, they choose to stay and endure it all for the sake of their children and financial stability.
As a result, this affects both the children’s mental and physical health. They grow up to have abandonment issues, low self-esteem, develop a higher risk of health problems and are more likely to repeat the cycle of abuse.
According to Women’s Health, a boy who sees his mother being abused is 10 times more likely to abuse his female partner and a girl who grows up in an abusive household is six times more likely to be sexually abused.
Trick Or Treat
Leave, get up and leave, why would you stay? Why would you put up with this? Leave.
It’s not a walk in the park for domestic violence victims to leave their abuser and the abusive environment they are in. They can’t just write a pretty little goodbye note and leave it all behind on a day with clear skies. It’s not as simple as that.
I remember vividly, how someone I held so close to my heart chose to stay in an abusive cycle despite knowing that the right choice would be to leave. She believed with all her wounded heart that someday, things will get back to normal. But the normal she perceived was completely different than the pre-existing normal. Her normal came in waves of manipulation, infused with the constant cycle of things falling apart before it became better again.
The mixture of the violent and honeymoon phase puts the victim in a state of confusion and makes it hard for them to break away from the abuse. Domestic abusers often tend to exert their dominance by playing the lovey-dovey character for a span of time before going back to treating the victims worse than animals in a slaughterhouse. Thus, recognising the signs of an abusive relationship earlier on will aid in curbing domestic violence.
So what are the early signs of an abusive relationship?
Here are some abuse signs to look out for according to WebMD :
If your partner bullies threaten or tries to control you
If your partner controls your money
If your partner wants you to cut ties with your friends and family
If your partner physically abuses you
If your partner sexually abuses you
You Are Not Alone, Help Is Here
Pitter-patter and then a thousand taps at once! The rain falls down to the earth draining the colours of the houses, trees, the neighbourhood and tinting them with dusky faltering light.My tears imitate the raindrops as I sit and think about the many domestic violence victims that have yet to come out of the abusive environment.
You can only hold on and be hopeful for so long until you are left with nothing but skin and bones. It’s tremendously difficult to see the other side when you have unsupportive friends and family. You are left to believe that there’s nothing out there that can help you and all the fairy tales in which a knight in shining armour saves you, only makes you nauseous.
As a child experiencing domestic violence, you are forced to grow up at such a young age. Perhaps with a little luck, you might be shielded and protected by your older siblings. At that innocent age, all you wish for is for a stranger to notice the signs of abuse and give you the help you need. Your eyes search for a gleam of hope in a passerby.
Just like how my heart endlessly yearned for warmth from every unfamiliar faces, I am sure there are victims out there who are wishing for the same thing while looking up at the brightest star. So, if you notice anyone with signs of abuse or know anyone that is suffering from domestic violence do inform them of the NGOs listed below for the victims to take refuge in.
Women’s Aid Organisation
Women’s Aid Organisation is the largest service provider for domestic violence survivors in Malaysia. If you or someone you know are a victim of domestic violence, you can contact the 24-hour WAO Hotline at 03-79563488 or via WhatsApp at 018 9888 958
The All Women’s Action Society
The All Women’s Action society (AWAM) is an independent feminist non profit organisation. Their main focus is helping victims and survivors of gender based violence. You can reach their Telenita Helpline at 016 237 4421 from 7am to 7pm.
Women’s Centre For Change, (WCC)
Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) is an institute that helps both women and children who are physically or sexually assaulted. You may contact their hotline at 04-228 0342 (Penang) and 04-398 8340 (Seberang).
If this article has piqued your interest, read this on how to take care of your mental health.