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Domestic Violence Awareness : Learn to say NO

October 24, 2009
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Reach out to a friend or relative who might need your help. Let them know that they are not alone and that they have the option to say NO.
When we hear about domestic abuse, we think of a poor woman beaten black and blue. Domestic abuse has nothing to do with social strata, gender, religion or race. Any abuse or violence that takes place within a family where spouse/partner, children, and aged are involved, is domestic violence. In most cases though we find women and children as victims of domestic abuse, a reason why we have women’s shelter homes and children’s welfare homes set up by social services. So here I am addressing issues related to children and women. It is parents’ responsibility to provide a happy home for the child they bring to this world and not to let them witness violence and abuse at home.According to Child welfare Information gateway [link], the problems that children who witness domestic violence face, fall into three primary categories:

  • Behavioral, social, and emotional problems: Higher levels of aggression, anger, hostility, oppositional behavior, and disobedience; fear, anxiety, withdrawal, and depression; poor peer, sibling, and social relationships; and low self-esteem.
  • Cognitive and attitudinal problems. Lower cognitive functioning, poor school performance, lack of conflict resolution skills, limited problem solving skills, pro-violence attitudes, and belief in rigid gender stereotypes and male privilege.
  • Long-term problems. Higher levels of adult depression and trauma symptoms and increased tolerance for and use of violence in adult relationships. [excerpt ends]

Domestic violence isn’t just about physical battery, scars and bruises. Verbal abuse and emotional battery is equally damaging and unacceptable. Most of us are serious about physical abuse because we can see the scars but psychological abuse is most common type of battery which goes on because we don’t consider it as an abuse. Constant belittling, name-calling and dictating, over a period are equally harmful because it makes a person feel worthless and leads to depression and in some cases suicide. An emotional battery is the one when an adult is treated like a child and needs to ask permission before doing anything. When an adult is forced to hide her own feelings thinking that the partner might verbally attack her for the same and also, giving up on all unreasonable demands of partner.

We are often not convinced when a woman from upper strata of society complains of domestic abuse. We can’t believe that a highly educated woman can be belittled. This video by Safe Horizon depicts a common emotional battery that can happen to even a highly educated woman and shows how her work suffers along with her mental strength.

The motive behind domestic violence is power. If not by physical strength then by emotional overpowering.

Adjustment is one of the keys to happy life but a life full of adjustments becomes suffocating and worthless. It is an issue that needs immediate attention. First step is to be upfront and address the issue, if that doesn’t work then may be involving an older person from immediate family or counseling might help. If situation goes out of control then it is always good to call a domestic violence hotline. There are trained professionals who attend the call and they offer wide range of options.


If you don’t have anyone to turn to and suffering in an abusive relationship then it is better to talk to trained advocates who offer guidance. If your friend or relative needs help then help them. The caller is asked whether she is in immediate danger, and whether she can receive calls because most of the times, women hesitate to call from their own homes fearing her husband or partner.


Bell Bajao- Bring domestic violence to halt: It is supported by ministry of women and child development. All the numbers are listed here.


National Domestic Violence Hotline ( : 800-799-SAFE

Safe Horizon : 800-621-HOPE

Aasra: 1-800-313-ASRA


Ashiana : Details on the website.

We can all take responsibility for helping to bring about change, and keeping our friends and colleagues safe from domestic violence.

[Article by Solilo]

Some posts from other blogs that joined DV awareness campaign

28 Comments leave one →
  1. oorjas permalink
    October 24, 2009 6:54 am

    we need all the awareness possible.. and this is a great attempt..

  2. hitch writer permalink
    October 24, 2009 7:27 am

    great initiative.. ! lets spread this.. !!

  3. Smitha permalink
    October 24, 2009 10:56 am

    This is such a relevant topic, Sols!

    The saddest part is that so many people(men & women) who are being abused, do not even realise it. I was reading the other day, of women who feel that they are responsible for the violence – that they 'asked for it' – even in developed countries.

    Nobody deserves to live in an abusive relationship.

    Lovely effort. I had posted about domestic violence too – I think last year. We all need to do our bit to work against it. My mom had a policy of ensuring that any help that stayed in our out-house would have to vacate if there was domestic violence – it was quite rampant there. Our domestic help was forever grateful to my parents as apparently before they came to live there – her husband used to regularly beat her up.. And then again, it is not all physical violence alone – mental abuse is just as bad..

    Oh dear, this is almost a post.. I feel very passionately about this..

  4. ani_aset permalink
    October 24, 2009 11:12 am

    good work..aggregating all information about getting help here is nice..but do check if these contacts actually do get the desired result. I have a friend who tried similar helpline but it did not work

  5. Anonymous permalink
    October 24, 2009 12:55 pm

    My cousin sister (aged 16) is facing emotional abuse from her father. She has complained about his behaviour (which sounds terrifying. egs: forces his wife (who has arthritis) to clean every speck of dust at home without his help, verbally abuses the daughter, has asked her to get out of 'his' home, has never wished her on her bday, simply nods whenever we visit) many times but is guilt ridden the next minute. I (aged 23) want to help her because she turns to me each time for a breather. Her mother is equally abused but she doesn't seem to take it up seriously. Sister says its useless to complain to her mother or ask for her help because her mother supports her father despite knowing the truth.
    She's feeling hell and wants answers to deep questions. He treats his family like slaves and forces them to be grateful for providing them a 'home'. I have already complained to many elders in the family but they are equally clueless on how to let the loser know how much he sucks without hurting the string of relationships that follow.
    Please help.

  6. Smita permalink
    October 24, 2009 1:59 pm

    I have a friend who is going through this!!! Our repeated efforts to push her into taking some action have failed because she knows that if she decides to move out she will be all alone!!! But the main reason for her not taking any action is her son!!!

    She is independent but still doesn't have the guts to move out!!!

    That in short is the story of most of the abusive relationships!

  7. DVhelp permalink
    October 24, 2009 4:18 pm

    We need to keep the message going, Whilst October is DV awareness month, we need to keep speading the word through November and beyond!

  8. Gauri Gharpure permalink
    October 24, 2009 8:22 pm

    we need more and more such initiatives.. very informative post . you can even embed a video of the bell bajao campaign from youtube along with the links you have provided.

  9. Anrosh permalink
    October 24, 2009 9:43 pm

    anonymous, looks like the father needs help. People who have a low sense of esteem ( may be because somebody is badgering him at work ) he is throwing it back to his family members.

    if this father continues this way the daughter will grow up an emotionally abused woman and will have a disturb21ing personality that will impact her in many ways.

  10. indianhomemaker permalink
    October 25, 2009 4:28 am

    Very relevant post Solilo.

    verbal abuse is even more common and difficult to fight back. Children from abusive families are also at risk of becoming abusers when they grow up.

    Unfortunately most women think this happens and even hold themselves responsible for the abuse.

    Bell Bajao Campaign needs to be publicized much more in India, I feel this would go a long way towards changing attitudes towards domestic violence.

  11. indianhomemaker permalink
    October 25, 2009 4:35 am

    @Anonymous – Is there an older relative they can seek help from? Someone the father trusts and respects… even a close friend of his might be able to speak to him. They should discuss this with the father – the teenager could write a letter to her father… sixteen is really young and this must be hell for her.

    Do be there for her, she needs that badly, a friend and a shoulder to cry upon is the only good thing at such times.

    About the mother not supporting her, she is probably brainwashed into believing that she is at fault and he works for them all, she has managed to be ill (or something like that) … this is really , really sad..

  12. Deeps permalink
    October 25, 2009 7:15 am

    A relevant post,Sols.

    As you rightly put,we have a tendency of associating domestic abuse to only women being beaten up.I agree an abuse meted out to anyone,be it women,men,children,aged,rich,poor,or of any strata needs to be condemned.

    I know of a family where the parents had built up such high expectations of their son that they started beating up and using abusive language to get him to study well.They didnt even realize how negatively their actions were affecting the child.As luck would have it,his performance not only got worse with each passing day,he began to abuse his parents in return.

    And this too,falls under domestic abuse.Here the child is not only witnessing abuse but he is adopting it to get away from it.

    Today,his parents have given up on him and I feel,to an extent they fear his violent rebellion for which they cant blame anyone but themselves.

    Yes we need to let those in need of help,know that they have the option of saying NO and they will be heard.

  13. Deeps permalink
    October 25, 2009 7:26 am

    oh goodness,I typed a real long comment and I dont know where it didnt even give a moderation alert.

    anyway,all I wanted to say was the post was a relevant one.Abuse is not to be confined to merely women,as you rightly put.Its as much an abuse when meted out to men,children,aged,rich,poor,etc.

  14. Anonymous permalink
    October 25, 2009 8:32 am

    @ Anrosh- Yes, the father has very low self esteem. He is in a good govt job and has no prob there as he himself has mentioned. Even if there is a prob, the abuse has been happening since my sister was a child. I found his behaviour unacceptable each time I met him. Belittling his daughter in front of auto drivers or pointedly ignoring his wife in front of all made me study his behaviour and read enough about such issues. But the young girl already knows and is helpless. She has openly admitted he needs help and so does she.
    She asked me the other day: "What right does my father have to treat women like this?"
    I want to help her since I strongly feel for such issues.

  15. Anonymous permalink
    October 25, 2009 8:38 am

    @ Indian homemaker- He has ZERO realtionship with his own brothers and parents. People avoid him simple because he is extremely rude and orders others to behave according to his wishes, even if it is his MIL.
    My sister had written an emotional letter for his wedding anniversary this year about how guilty she feels complaining about him to us and how sorry she was. She also had mentioned that she wants to help him solve and improve their relationship. She told me he simply read it in the dark (as he loves spending time in darkness) and never mentioned how he felt. The next morning he ignored her.
    She's more than just a 16yr old. SHe's wayy too matured and understands things her mum doesn't.
    Yes I am there for her. But I want to do more than just be there.
    No comments on the mother. Its high time she knew despite earning and living 10min away from her mother's home.
    Thankyou for the help. 🙂

  16. anjugandhi permalink
    October 25, 2009 1:09 pm

    great effort
    hats off to you for writing on this topic
    domestic violence is something which is prevalent in all the strats of the society.specially domestic violence not in the form of physical abuse but through words, gesture is very common in the so called educated class of society.insulting the wife through some comment, demotivating her, discouraging her, humiliating her in fronts of outsiders while overtly showing physical love is very common
    i know of a husband who used to be very demonstrative in front of outsiders, hug his wife, hold her hand but used to literally demean her with his comments. like " agar mein nahi hota to tum kuch nahi kar sakti thi, you are not capable for doing any thing. etc.
    thus insulting the wife, or children or passing comments on them all amounts to it.and best part is people dont realise that they are being abused emotionally and also the public thinks that the husband is so loving
    I will be ready to help any one and I am there with any body who is ready to fight against this

  17. Lakshmi permalink
    October 25, 2009 3:11 pm

    Very relevant topic and points. Could not agree more. We should all try and do what we can.

  18. Solilo permalink
    October 25, 2009 5:04 pm

    @Oorja, Hitchwriter, Lakshmi: Yes! even though October is DV awareness month. We can continue to spread the word.

    @Smitha: That was so nice of your mother to ensure the safety of domestic help. In many cases we just need to let these women know that they have an option to say No.

    @Ani_aset: I have only posted that helplines that I know works well. Do spread the word about Bell Bajao.

    @Anonymous: I agree with what IHM and Anrosh said below. This kind of behaviour is not done. The man is already hurting so many people. Why are people still keeping mum?

    @Smita: In most cases, women put up with abuse because there is a child involved. If she walks out then she will be received with taunts. Either she needs to involve an older member of family to solve the problem or she needs to take a strict step. No child should be forced to witness daily abuse in the family.

    @DVhelp: Yes! We need to.

    @Gauri & IHM: Bell bajao is a good campaign now gaining momentum. It needs to be publicized more.

    @Deeps: A family where parents beat up children is abusive and I am sure in such a family it would be common for adults to yell at each other.

    @Anonymous: You are doing great to be there for your friend. Give her encouragement to study well and get a job. Being financially independent is very important esp. in such cases. She should talk to her mother and make her understand that this is not the way a family should be. If the father is abusive and rude to everyone then there must be more serious problem like may be he is bipolar or suffering from some trauma.

    @Anju Gandhi: This emotional battery is so common. It is as bad as physical abuse even though the scars aren’t visible. What these adults don’t realize is that, children from such home grow up to be insecure with low self-esteem and in future treat their spouse the same way.

  19. Indy permalink
    October 25, 2009 5:17 pm

    I hope this will help women come out of their silent suffering, and to get protection from those that perpetrate these crimes against them! kudos for creating awareness…and bringing light ,I hope to those in need of help!!

  20. Anrosh permalink
    October 25, 2009 10:05 pm

    Anonymous, " spending time in darkness " is also a sign of depression. i know that in india men find it very difficult to understand that they need professional help. But seems like this the best way to go. If you are in Bombay I could suggest.

  21. Anonymous permalink
    October 26, 2009 5:28 am

    @Solilo- Ironically, she's studying to be a psychologist! She badly wants to get away from there. Financial independence is her priority right now!
    Oh yes, his actions scream depression. The thing is, everyone seems to know the cause but him. That's the problem. He thinks he's being 'right, smart, logical' etc by treating his daughter that way. He fears she might go the 'wrong' way! How DUMB!!!! I think instead of worrying about her, he need to get himself checked!

  22. Anonymous permalink
    October 26, 2009 5:35 am

    @ Anrosh- You are bang on. And also he thinks he's showing his 'machoism' by treating women 'the way they have to be treated'. He once told my mother that all of his brothers-in-law are under the control of their wives and he would never let that happen to him!!!!
    He suffers from severe inferiority complex though he shows it by acting 'superior'.
    I want to help the child, not him. Until he realises it himself and wants to change for the better, its of no use. He doesn't even listen to people who want to help him.
    Not in bombay, no. But thankyou! 🙂

  23. Anonymous permalink
    October 26, 2009 5:35 am

    @ Anrosh- You are bang on. And also he thinks he's showing his 'machoism' by treating women 'the way they have to be treated'. He once told my mother that all of his brothers-in-law are under the control of their wives and he would never let that happen to him!!!!
    He suffers from severe inferiority complex though he shows it by acting 'superior'.
    I want to help the child, not him. Until he realises it himself and wants to change for the better, its of no use. He doesn't even listen to people who want to help him.
    Not in bombay, no. But thankyou! 🙂

  24. Happy Kitten permalink
    October 26, 2009 7:27 am

    There are many men who needs to be liberated from their social conditioning…nd even education has not helped them.. even if the woman is strong, it is a very tough fight she has to put in..

    but if the woman is educated she has a better chance of fighting it out… my heart goes out to all those who are not in a position to put up a fight..

    thanks for the post…

  25. worldthrumyeyes permalink
    October 27, 2009 10:55 am

    Excellent blog!!

    Would like to crosspost it on our blog :

    with due credits ofc 🙂

  26. November 3, 2009 7:01 am

    Gr8 initiative and well written post Sols 🙂 Thanks for linking my post here 🙂


  1. Another voice against Domestic Violence. «
  2. Domestic Violence Awareness : Learn to say NO « Soliloquies of an Opinionated mind…

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