seven pheras

Spouse abuse has no economic, educational, racial, or religious boundaries. It occurs in families from all walks of life. Abused women are homemakers, doctors, teachers, professors, nurses, secretaries, and bankers. They are married to businessmen, professors, executives, factory workers, accountants, doctors etc.

Marital abuse is an attempt to coerce and control one's spouse through emotional and/or physical means. Although physical abuse is considered the most obvious form of abuse, emotional abuse by way of insults, intimidation, and other methods, has the potential to be even more devastating than physical abuse, because it is difficult to prove and therefore difficult to stop. Examples of physical abuse are slapping, scratching, biting, kicking, shoving, choking, hitting, sexual assault, stabbing, and shooting. In the most severe cases, a combination of both emotional and physical abuse are involved.

What is the cause of marital abuse?
There are many theories about male violence leading to abuse and assault on wives: hormonal or chemical imbalance, brain damage, misreading each other's behavior, frustration, short-temper, lacking skills of self-control, childhood trauma, genetic and/or physiological abnormality, insecurity, self-doubts, self-pity, fears of being "unmanly," fears of abandonment, anger at others, unhappy with life, jealousy, etc. While many therapists believe that cause of marital abuse is
male chauvinism --a male belief that men are superior and should be the boss, while women should obey and do the housework, and never refuse sex. This is also associated with the feeling in men of powerlessness, vulnerability, and dependency.

Other research has found abusive men to be dependent and low in self-esteem. Many of these violent men apparently feel a desperate need for "their woman," who, in fact, is often more capable, smarter, and knows how to take care of their wants. This act of independence by the wife or her brief interaction with another man (perceived as intended to hurt him) sets off a violent fight. The abusive man becomes contemptuous, putting the woman down in an effort to exercise physical-emotional control and tries to dominate her, thereby attempting to conceal his dependence and jealousy.

Phases of marital abuse
There are three different phases in marital abuse.

1. Conflict and tension phase: This generally originates when the husband is not happy with certain things or is unhappy about the expenses made by the wife etc. At such time the wife either avoids her husband or frantically works to keep her husband's happy. She does this to prevent triggering another abusive explosion and to keep things moving smoothly. However each time a small abusive incident occurs, tension in the relationship increases. Eventually the tension simmers to a boil, bringing on the next phase. Ordinarily, this first phase lasts for long periods of time.

2. Abusive phase:
This phase is usually triggered by some particular event or set of circumstances, though rarely the same and often unpredictable. It just comes and goes leaving the abused person physically and emotionally shattered. Initially, a wife is in a state of shock and disbelief. She cannot accept the fact that the person whom she loves so much has done something like this to her. If she's been through the abusive cycle several times, she's likely to experience a mixture of relief and rage--relief that the inevitable assault is over, and rage over her husband's empty promises to stop. However most surprisingly, she chooses to forgive him and she remains silent and doesn't expose her husband. However within her is an increasing sense of helplessness and feelings of self-hatred for not doing something to prevent the abuse.

3. Guilty and regret phase: This is a time when the abuser appears to be stricken with grief over his cruel and insensitive actions. He works very hard to make up for what he's done with apparent acts of kindness, promising never to abuse again. Usually, a wife welcomes this phase and enjoys the special attention given to her. Because she desperately wants to believe that her husband is sincere, she tends to overrate the genuineness of his remorse. This phase may last a day or a few months, and it tends to become less and less common. Eventually, however, the tensions will slowly begin to mount and the cycle will repeat.

Why do women tolerate such abuse?

Many women will be afraid to report the abuse for fear that there will be even a greater abuse or endangerment. She is afraid of losing everything she holds dear, her husband, her children, her financial support, her home, her family reputation, and her physical and emotional well-being to name a few. Many abused women have a desire to be loved and they keep hoping for this love and that is why they give into the abuse. However at the same time she feels hurt, wronged and angry. Women that have been abused have feelings of betrayal. Anger is usually present in the heart of the abused wife.

Anger arouses a vindictive response within her for not dealing with the situation strongly. Fear prompts a passive response. A vindictive response will occasionally bring an abused wife to lash out at her husband, as she wants to make her husband pay for what he has done. She will threaten him and demean him. A passive response is a response that tolerates the abuse out of fear, pursues peace at any cost and flees from any kind of confrontation and she becomes a doormat.

What do you need to do if you are abused?

The most important thing that you need to do is be strong. Do not give in to this kind of treatment and learn to fight back. By this I don't mean that you should also lash out at your husband. Learn to be self-sufficient and confident. Deal with the situation rationally. Do not tolerate sufferings and humiliation silently without any fault of yours. Try counseling. Make your husband agree to it when he is in the guilty phase. Take help of elders and close family friends. Following are a few important steps you need to consider for dealing with marital abuse:

1. Admit that you are the victim of spouse abuse. You didn't ask for this. Don't take responsibility for the abuse. Don't pretend it will get better if you just ignore the problem or work harder to pacify your husband.

2. Get to a place of safety. If you are living in a situation of immediate danger in which you fear for your life, go to a friend or family member's house where you can safely call for help. If you don't have anyone you can go to, call a local shelter for abused women in your area.

3. Notify the authorities as soon as possible in the event of an attack. Law is there to help you and to ensure the safety of the victim of domestic violence.

4. Break the silence. If you have been terrorized by an abusive spouse, tell someone you trust about the abuse. But by all means, refuse to keep it quiet any longer. Tell your parents, an elder, or your close friend. Talk to a counselor. Don't give in to this abuse and learn to live your life with dignity.

5. Try to get help. Your husband might be suffering from some mental illness and treatment can get things right. Try to convince him that he needs help or talk to his near and dear ones for help.

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