Breaking the Cycle: Consequences for Actions in Abusive Relationships

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An aunt in the family had an abusive and violent husband. The husband was married to another woman before he married my 13-year-old aunt. That woman, after giving birth to a few children, ran for her life in the dead of night with a newborn in her hand. The story has it that she jumped over the compound wall in fear for her life.

The aunt’s family was convinced by the man’s family that the previous wife was a loose woman. That is how the aunt became his wife. Their children have recounted stories of horror, extreme violence, and sexual violence that they witnessed on their mother, especially the older children. The scars run deep. Years later, when she could not take it anymore, she divorced the man, something which was unheard of back in her days. Of course, he married a third time and had more children. The aunt died young, at 40.

The aunt had a few children, of whom one boy turned out to be abusive to his partner. He loved all of us with great intensity and could also get upset for the simplest of reasons. The extended family took it in stride and accepted him as he was.

Then he got married. He turned out to be physically and verbally violent like his father. The wife was a smart girl of the present times. She did not endure it for years. Within a year, when she realized that he was not going to change, she left, after burning his passport, college, and school certificates, and some other important documents. To be slightly fair, the family did try to get him psychiatric help, but it only left him drugged all the time. The medication was stopped, and there was no counseling done for a long time.

The family got him married again, which I attended even though I did not approve of the move. Just before the wedding, I met the bride-to-be and introduced myself. After the initial pleasantries, I got straight to the point.

Me: ‘Are you aware that he has a violent nature?’

She: ‘Yes, he did tell me that people make up stories about his violent nature and that it is not true.’

Me: ‘It is true. And he will do it to you too.”

She: ‘I don’t think I have a choice. I have a younger sister, and it is imperative that I be married for her to have her life. My parents cannot take care of 2 girls like this anymore.’

Me: ‘I get you. But if you have decided to go ahead and get married, hit him back if he hits you. Don’t ever let him hurt you. Give it back to him.’

It was a piece of advice that all the women in the family gave her from day one. She had the license, permission, and solution if he ever hit her. He did hit, and she hit him back. He was taken aback, and none of his sisters supported him when he complained. The last straw was when he was about to get violent in the kitchen one day. She was chopping vegetables and had warned him that she would use the knife on him if need be. He didn’t stop and raised his hand on her. She swung the knife at him. He stopped the knife midair, with his palm. She then did the unthinkable, something that shook him to his senses. She calmly pulled the knife down against his palm which gave him a deep cut. That stopped his violent outbursts. He is a loving father and a husband who has regained his senses. They live a peaceful life now.

I met a mother who was in deep pain for a counseling session; both parents are professionals. Till a few months back, their 16-year-old was the sweetest, the most obedient, and quiet boy they knew. Ever since he got into his 12th grade, things had changed. He was suddenly a boy who could not control his anger and was exerting his independence in ways strange to the family. They were all in shock and pain. I was sure he too was in pain. No happy person will do such things. Only troubled people can trouble others. Things had gotten to such a state that the boy pushed his mother down, kicked her, and punched her in the head. He then asked her “Have you had enough, or do you want some more?” All for asking him repeatedly what was wrong and what was happening to him. He now knows that he has power over them, as he is bigger and stronger physically. She had threatened to call the cops which was when he punched her as a dare.

I asked her whether she had called the cops. No was the answer. Apart from all the strategies we discussed on how to handle her emotions, the situation, and his behavior, I also told her to keep her word if it happened the next time. That she was to call the cops on her son if he ever raised his hand on her again. Only that mother can teach her son that there are consequences to his actions, otherwise, it will be done to her again, to the sister, the future spouse, and maybe future children.

Consequences. Our men do not get them, which is why a lot of violence is repeated. If every woman on Earth imposed consequences for the actions of men, do you think those actions would be repeated? If every crime was reported and punished, would they be repeated like how it is being done now? Look how much our silence has given people the license to continue and thrive. It does not hold them accountable.

Have you ever seen a drunken man go to the wrong house and beat up the wrong wife? Have you seen any drunken man pick up a fight with a police officer? Even in their drunkenness, they would show some respect. So, getting drunk or being angry is not the issue here. Would the same anger be unleashed on the man’s boss or a government official? NO. Because if the man did that, there would be consequences for his actions. He will unleash it only in places where he is 100 percent sure that there will be no consequences: wife, mother, children, sister, weaker person (in terms of status, power, money, caste, gender, etc.). There is only one way to teach men to regulate their strong emotions that turn into actions that harm others, and that is to give them consequences for their actions. Period. Our boys need a lot of love and affection and lessons on consequences for their actions.

-Sajitha Rasheed is a relationship workshop facilitator and the Founder and Chief Mentor of Mind Mojo.

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Breaking the Cycle: Consequences for Actions in Abusive Relationships

An aunt in the family had an abusive and violent husband. The husband was married to another woman before he married my 13-year-old aunt. That woman, after giving birth to a few children, ran for her life in the dead of night with a newborn in her hand. The story has it that she jumped over the compound wall in fear for her life.

The aunt’s family was convinced by the man’s family that the previous wife was a loose woman. That is how the aunt became his wife. Their children have recounted stories of horror, extreme violence, and sexual violence that they witnessed on their mother, especially the older children. The scars run deep. Years later, when she could not take it anymore, she divorced the man, something which was unheard of back in her days. Of course, he married a third time and had more children. The aunt died young, at 40.

The aunt had a few children, of whom one boy turned out to be abusive to his partner. He loved all of us with great intensity and could also get upset for the simplest of reasons. The extended family took it in stride and accepted him as he was.

Then he got married. He turned out to be physically and verbally violent like his father. The wife was a smart girl of the present times. She did not endure it for years. Within a year, when she realized that he was not going to change, she left, after burning his passport, college, and school certificates, and some other important documents. To be slightly fair, the family did try to get him psychiatric help, but it only left him drugged all the time. The medication was stopped, and there was no counseling done for a long time.

The family got him married again, which I attended even though I did not approve of the move. Just before the wedding, I met the bride-to-be and introduced myself. After the initial pleasantries, I got straight to the point.

Me: ‘Are you aware that he has a violent nature?’

She: ‘Yes, he did tell me that people make up stories about his violent nature and that it is not true.’

Me: ‘It is true. And he will do it to you too.”

She: ‘I don’t think I have a choice. I have a younger sister, and it is imperative that I be married for her to have her life. My parents cannot take care of 2 girls like this anymore.’

Me: ‘I get you. But if you have decided to go ahead and get married, hit him back if he hits you. Don’t ever let him hurt you. Give it back to him.’

It was a piece of advice that all the women in the family gave her from day one. She had the license, permission, and solution if he ever hit her. He did hit, and she hit him back. He was taken aback, and none of his sisters supported him when he complained. The last straw was when he was about to get violent in the kitchen one day. She was chopping vegetables and had warned him that she would use the knife on him if need be. He didn’t stop and raised his hand on her. She swung the knife at him. He stopped the knife midair, with his palm. She then did the unthinkable, something that shook him to his senses. She calmly pulled the knife down against his palm which gave him a deep cut. That stopped his violent outbursts. He is a loving father and a husband who has regained his senses. They live a peaceful life now.

I met a mother who was in deep pain for a counseling session; both parents are professionals. Till a few months back, their 16-year-old was the sweetest, the most obedient, and quiet boy they knew. Ever since he got into his 12th grade, things had changed. He was suddenly a boy who could not control his anger and was exerting his independence in ways strange to the family. They were all in shock and pain. I was sure he too was in pain. No happy person will do such things. Only troubled people can trouble others. Things had gotten to such a state that the boy pushed his mother down, kicked her, and punched her in the head. He then asked her “Have you had enough, or do you want some more?” All for asking him repeatedly what was wrong and what was happening to him. He now knows that he has power over them, as he is bigger and stronger physically. She had threatened to call the cops which was when he punched her as a dare.

I asked her whether she had called the cops. No was the answer. Apart from all the strategies we discussed on how to handle her emotions, the situation, and his behavior, I also told her to keep her word if it happened the next time. That she was to call the cops on her son if he ever raised his hand on her again. Only that mother can teach her son that there are consequences to his actions, otherwise, it will be done to her again, to the sister, the future spouse, and maybe future children.

Consequences. Our men do not get them, which is why a lot of violence is repeated. If every woman on Earth imposed consequences for the actions of men, do you think those actions would be repeated? If every crime was reported and punished, would they be repeated like how it is being done now? Look how much our silence has given people the license to continue and thrive. It does not hold them accountable.

Have you ever seen a drunken man go to the wrong house and beat up the wrong wife? Have you seen any drunken man pick up a fight with a police officer? Even in their drunkenness, they would show some respect. So, getting drunk or being angry is not the issue here. Would the same anger be unleashed on the man’s boss or a government official? NO. Because if the man did that, there would be consequences for his actions. He will unleash it only in places where he is 100 percent sure that there will be no consequences: wife, mother, children, sister, weaker person (in terms of status, power, money, caste, gender, etc.). There is only one way to teach men to regulate their strong emotions that turn into actions that harm others, and that is to give them consequences for their actions. Period. Our boys need a lot of love and affection and lessons on consequences for their actions.

-Sajitha Rasheed is a relationship workshop facilitator and the Founder and Chief Mentor of Mind Mojo.