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Psychological and Emotional Management for Victims of Gender Based Violence

A few years ago I was called suddenly that a friend had been hospitalized and was asking to see me urgently. Because I had been with her a few days before I wondered about the reason for her sudden hospitalization. Eventually when I arrived at the hospital I learn't she had tried to commit suicide!

I had been speaking with her for some while before then. We had held several counseling sessions on the abuse she was experiencing with her husband. She was a victim of both physical and emotional abuse. This had been a long ongoing process in her marriage. According to her she decided to end her life and save herself from the continuous abuse she had been experiencing. It was a long walk from there after this incidence we had several sessions together where she was able to learn to believe in herself again and find the will to live meaningfully.

Her story is just one woman from the thousands experiencing same who are not accessing help. Many women are still living with terrible emotional and psychological wounds in them and some do not even realize the harm that is being done to them. Hence they are left to suffer painful and even debilitating long term effects of the abuse they are living with. This is so because most domestic abuses thrive in secrecy and denial. I have counseled with women who hide their abuse for years. While they are not happy with the violence they are enduring with their partners they choose not only to remain in the abusive environment but to encourage it by being silent about it. Many justify the behavior of their abusers and have become accepting to it as a way of expression between intimate partners making it a huge challenge for them to be helped.

In incidences where a woman has been living in a continuous vicious circle of abuse she need to first understand that violence is not an acceptable way of life. She needs to know that there are other constructive ways for partners to address their issues and resolve their differences other than violence. Abuses are strengthened when victims accept the behavior of their abusers as normal. Where conscious steps to stop the abuse is not done and a woman chooses to remain in such relationships the eventual long term effects’ resulting from the continuous experience of abuse develops in the victims and sometimes even go unnoticed for years.

Some of these signs may include; emotional instability, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression, becoming suicidal, eating disorders, dissociation, etc. These long term effects are usually very devastating and costly for the victims of the violence. Many women going through these experiences and are not aware that these challenges are the effects of long term of abuse. The first step towards recovery for victims always begins when they start to talk about their experiences. Talking has a therapeutic effect of emotional healing. It is the first step towards emotional and psychological wholeness.

Incidences of domestic violence often receive swift physical interventions whereas the emotional and psychological damage caused by the experience are mostly ignored. A quick counsel here is that women should be encouraged to seek for emotional and mental help where they have experienced or are experiencing violence.

Another area to focus on is where women access help. It turns out that not a lot is being done to meet the emotional and psychological challenges that arise from continuous exposure to domestic violence. In many parts of the world where religion plays huge roles in the lives of people huge numbers of females are encouraged through the use of religious innuendoes to remain in abusive relationships. They receive counsel from religious leaders who do not have proper understanding and knowledge of how to manage victims in abusive relationships. Some resort to being judgmental and shaming when handling reported cases this has led to the loss of lives for many victims.

Victims of violence need to know that they encourage their abusers when they choose to remain silent in abusive relationships. In seeking for help, professional care cannot be downplayed. Seek and look out for organizations that offer professional care and are sensitive to managing incidences of violence against women. They are in a vantage position to offer solutions outside of sentiments that would have long term beneficial effects for the victims.

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