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- Spousal abuse is often downplayed as it is seen as a private matter between couples. Although victims may be aware of avenues to seek help, they may be hesitant to do so.
- Sout Ilaahi strongly believes that the community has a role to play in encouraging victims to reach out so that all the parties involved can get the help they need and stop the recurrence and cycles of spousal abuse.
- #voiceout is a campaign initiated by Sout Ilaahi aiming to create awareness on spousal abuse by starting conversations to empower victims to seek help early.
- For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is spousal abuse?
Spousal abuse refers to the acts of intimidating, harassing, threatening and controlling behaviours with the intent to cause anguish, fear or hurt caused by a man/woman against his/her spouse. This includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
Spousal abuse affects individuals across all communities regardless of race, religion, economic status, gender or nationality. It can lead to devastating consequences and a vicious cycle of abuse within the family and across generations.
Effects of spousal abuse
This includes violence and assault resulting in bruises, dislocation, broken bones, internal injuries and in severe cases, death.
Psychological and Emotional
This includes threatening, demeaning, blaming, imposing extreme restrictions on their daily functioning and whereabouts, and repeatedly asserting that the victim deserved such maltreatment. These lead to negative emotions in the victim such as a loss of self-esteem, a deep sense of helplessness, anxiety, depression, fear, hopelessness and isolation from friends and family.
Victim is forced to take part in sexual intercourse or unwanted sexual activity, making the victim feel ashamed, guilty and helpless.
Children who witness abuse also suffer psychological and emotional distress. They may experience trauma and develop maladaptive coping mechanisms which may be detrimental to their future development if left unchecked. They may grow up thinking that abusive behaviours are acceptable and may enter into abusive relationships later on in life.
Commonly-held erroneous beliefs
By the victim
“I am at fault, I deserve it”
“He/She is just going through a rough time, He/She will change”
“Divorce is wrong, therefore I must not report”
“I don’t want to break up the family. What about the children?”
Most common reasons for not reporting to the police are: (1) dealt with it myself/ involved a friend or family member, (2) too minor/ not serious enough, (3) did not want anyone to know (International Violence Against Women Survey, 2010).
By the abuser
“I was right to punish, He/She deserved it”
“I have high expectations, is that so wrong?”
“You made me do this.”
“If you didn’t talk back, I wouldn’t have hit you.”
By the community
“It is their private matter, it is not my business”
“It is normal for couples to fight sometimes”
71.7% of women abused by their spouses are not likely to make a police report. (International Violence Against Women Survey, 2010).
You can approach any Family Service Centre or call the national helpline ComCare Call at 1800 222 0000 if you or someone you know need help.