By Naghmeh Mizanian

Sometimes no law can help women subjected to domestic violence

July 3, 2018

She feels like a crumpled up piece of paper that her husband has rolled up and thrown off into the corner. The same hand that was caressing her face the day before, has given a slap in her face today. Their kids were watching the scene with tearful eyes. They were begging their father not to hit their mother in the head.

She is struggling to understand why he is acting this way. She reflects on the reasons. Why couldn’t he express his opposition in words? Why he used his physical power against my verbal power? If I was a physically powerful man would he be showing the same reaction as he did to the ‘weak gender’?

She is a lawyer herself. She knows all laws and regulations. She knows that she should refer to a medical examiner and ask for blood money. But she is not in need of money. She can afford to earn a living on her own; she can even support the whole family. Which money can reimburse her broken heart? 

She knows all the rules regarding filing for divorce; but is divorce a remedy? Is it a punishment for her husband? Which punishment can compensate for her lost self-esteem? What will happen to her husband after the divorce? A new marriage? Yes, he is an educated person, a university professor with good income. Easily, he can marry a second wife.

What will happen to her after the divorce? Another marriage? No, she is not interested to begin a new life with another person. Who will be that other man? A same man, physically stronger than herself! She should choose to take care of the children alone. What is the children’s fault to be raised in a single parent family? 

Kids are so sensitive and observant. They pick up everything. And they model whatever we do. If her son sees his father treating his mother poorly, he is likely to believe that’s an acceptable way to treat women. And if her daughter sees her father disrespecting her mother, she’s more likely to believe this is an allowable way for men to treat her.

She has learnt her manner from her mother, a self-sacrificing women. She has never observed her parents’ arguments. Her mother has never voiced opposition to her father. She has never asked for her rights. Now, she, herself, is copying her mothers’ manner but being more aware of her rights and being more engaged in economic activities, she wants to receive more of her rights and that is a change in their life which her husband also has not experienced before.

Her husband is not a bad man. A gentleman, being kind and gentle most of the time. Off course, when everything is in accordance with his will. When he meets with opposition coming from his family he doesn’t know how he should argue about it. He has not learnt the skill of conversation. Also, he has not learnt the skill of considering some rights for his wife. However, after the quarrel he becomes regretful. But he never promises not to repeat his actions. Maybe, this is his final weapon to control his wife.

No law can help her. She doesn’t want to sue her husband. She wants to live in a happy family. Even if she has bad times, she wants to pretend that there exists no problem in their marital life. All relatives, friends, neighbors and colleagues talk about them as the happiest family. “Off course, they are right; except for some violence that happens once in a year,” she reflects. “However, he sometimes put some restrictions on me. No matter! All husbands have some bad habits that wives should cope with them,” she goes on thinking.

Domestic violence damages her whole personality. She will paralyze physically and mentally for a while. Once it happens she becomes shocked about what happened to her from her husband’s side; from her dearest person, the person who has been her supporter all her life.

What is the remedy? No law can help her. Can psychologists help them? If she was more self-esteemed or self-confident to express her wishes directly, would it not happen to her? What if her husband has learnt anger control techniques?

Not always the law and regulations can prevents domestic violence. It is the inner nature of the people, both women and men that can help. Moreover, and most importantly are the principles that people are bound to obey and the rights that men and women consider for each other that determine the behavior of genders toward each other.

Domestic violence — also known as domestic abuse, intimate partner violence or abuse — may start when one partner feels the need to control and dominate the other.

Abusers may feel this need to control their partner because of low self-esteem, extreme jealousy, difficulties in regulating anger and other strong emotions, or when they feel inferior to the other partner in education and socioeconomic background.

Some people with very traditional beliefs may think they have the right to control their partner, and that women aren’t equal to men. Others may have an undiagnosed personality disorder or psychological disorder. Still others may have learned this behavior from growing up in a household where domestic violence was accepted as a normal part of being raised in their family.

A partner’s domination may take the form of emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Studies suggest that violent behavior often is caused by an interaction of situational and individual factors. That means that abusers learn violent behavior from their family, people in their community and other cultural influences as they grow up. They may have seen violence often or they may have been victims themselves. Some abusers acknowledge growing up having been abused as a child.

Children who witness or are the victims of violence may learn to believe that violence is a reasonable way to resolve conflict between people. Boys who learn that women are not to be valued or respected and who see violence directed against women are more likely to abuse women when they grow up. Girls who witness domestic violence in their families of origin are more likely to be victimized by their own husbands. Although women are most often the victim of domestic violence, the gender roles can and are reversed sometimes.

Alcohol and drugs may contribute to violent behavior. A drunk or high person will be less likely to control his or her violent impulses toward their partner, so keeping such drinking or drug use episodes to a minimum may be valuable for a person living in a domestic violence situation.

No cause of domestic violence, however, justifies the actions of the abuser, nor should it be used as a rationale for their behavior. These possible causes are only to better understand why an abuser believes it is acceptable to abuse their partner physically, sexually, psychologically or emotionally. Ultimately an abuser needs to get help for their unhealthy and destructive behavior, or find themselves living a solitary and lonely life.

NM/MQ/MG

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