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Ending the cycle of domestic violence

  • Published at 12:02 am May 20th, 2019
Domestic Violence
Photo: BIGSTOCK

How to identify the difference between abuse and mental illness

We most often try to cover the shame of domestic abuse against women by providing excuses. However, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline in America, “abusive behaviour in an intimate partner relationship and mental illness are two separate entities.” 

That is accurate -- with a pleasant and charming personality and the smart and smooth refined moods some put on, we will never know what goes on behind a person’s mask and inside his bedroom. 

He is not alone in the facade, as his better half, to save face perhaps, puts on that fake smile even though she gets beaten in front of her servants -- which, for some reason, to her, is better than losing face in front of her friends and family relationships. 

This is also true that there are men who do suffer from mental illness which leads them to be abusive. 

The following questions, some of which were put forward by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, may help clarify whether what your partner is doing is abusive specifically to you or is being abusive due to his/her mental illness:

a) Does my partner yell or scream at others (friends, coworkers, or family members) outside of our relationship?

b) Does my partner make others check in to see where they’re at and who they’re with?

c) Does my partner hit others outside of our relationship?

d) Does my partner minimize or verbally tear down others?

e) Does my partner pressure others to do things that they aren’t okay with?

f) Does my partner make threats to others when they say something my partner doesn’t agree with?

If your answer was “no” then your partner is just abusive by habit and not because he/she suffers from some mental illness but if you answered “yes” then your partner is a victim of a sick mind. 

In Bangladesh, the prevalence of spouse-beating remains high -- both among the so-called educated urban elite and amongst working class and rural men. 

According to a survey conducted by Urban Health, there is a prevalence of physical and sexually intimate partner violence perpetrated by husbands against their wives in Bangladesh. 

This survey also identifies risk markers associated with such violence -- of the men included in the sample for this study, 55% reported perpetrating physical intimate partner violence (IPV) against their wives at some point in their married lives. 23% reported committing physical IPV in the past year, 20% reported committing sexual IPV, and 60% reported perpetrating physical or sexual IPV. 

Bivariate analyses revealed that men residing in slums had a greater likelihood than those residing in non-slum areas and in district municipalities of committing lifetime and past-year physical IPV, and any lifetime (physical or sexual) IPV. 

Lifetime sexual IPV prevalence, by contrast, was highest in district municipalities (26%), followed by slum (20%) and non-slum (17%) areas.

At the end of the day, the key is prevention. The best way to do is through counseling and creating awareness. 

It is only through creating a culture of non-violence that we can truly put an end to domestic violence against women. 

Syed Raiyan is a freelance contributor.