Whatever happened to romance or lasting lifelong relationships? Or even whatever happened to the picture perfect family all loving and caring! Let me be even be simpler, and wonder about whatever happened to married couples loving and caring for each other in a relationship based on mutual respect of each other’s entities as human beings.
Nowadays, everything has changed, or let me backtrack a little, because in fact, women have always faced many forms of abuse on the domestic level which in turn shakes them up in many ways. We have to bear in mind that how the abuse of wives is perceived nowadays differs greatly, because at the time of our fathers and grandfathers, the concept of abuse or if a husband hit his wife was not quite fathomed, as it was seen as a condition that comes with marriage, it was seen as something that a woman has to put up with for the sake of her family and kids.
To begin with there are several forms of abuse like emotional or psychological abuse which can be verbal like yelling or name calling, while isolation, intimidation also fall under emotional abuse. Abuse is not only about bruises and broken bones, but there are emotional scars that go deep and hurt even more. We also have to bear in mind that how abuse is perceived differs according to cultural educational backgrounds and social levels.
The most obvious form of abuse is of course physical abuse which involves hitting, grabbing and choking, throwing things or even in escalated cases assault with a weapon. There is also sexual abuse within a marriage which is a situation where the wife is forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe or degrading sexual activity and the key word here is forced or coerced. The idea is that forced sex even by a spouse with whom the wife also has consensual sex, is considered an act of violence and aggression. There is also financial abuse which involves controlling the finances and withholding money or basic necessities while making you account for everything you spend.
Women facing abuse on different levels need help in many ways, and they need to feel the support of someone who cares, which can be represented by governmental and non governmental organizations and various women groups with bodies helping in the legal side and also offering psychiatric or psychological help when needed. One such center that I came across is Al Nadeem center for treating and rehabilitating women and wives who are subjected to different forms of abuse, and also offering them psychological and social guidance and legal assistance when needed. The center was founded in 1993 to help violence victims in general at first, but then by the year 2000, the need to establish a specialized unit dedicated to helping women and wives who face different forms of abuse. Al Nadeem center was especially keen on establishing listening units that care mainly for giving women the chance to tell their stories, with listening units expanding to different governorates and other groups and centers and other organizations with extensive training on the art of listening.
The stories of abused women are many varying between physical and psychological pressure and abuse as practiced by a domineering partner, resulting in depression, symptoms of extreme stress and feeling isolated away from a society that kind of looks upon abused wives with passive trepidation. As a little example, I would like to tell you the case of a mother of two girls who prefers to keep her name disclosed. The aforementioned mother for many years has felt hard the effects of a mix of psychological and verbal abuse as in the way her husband has been systematically ignoring her existence and shunning her away even in simple actions like calling her name or making her feel that she actually exists, and sometimes psychological scars run more deep than physical bruises.
In the end, I would like to mention that I am not stating that all men do nothing but abuse their wives on various levels because happy stable marriages do exist and chivalrous husbands are still there, but I am simply recounting the facts that the issue of abuse exists and must be dealt with. Society as a whole must cooperate in order to protect and assist women who have been subjected to abuse.
The National Council for Women: Tel: +202-5747758/ +202-5748708, www.ncwegypt.com/
Al Nadeem Center: Hotlines: 010-6664894/010-6662404
The Egyptian Center for Women’s rights: +202-25282176/2527139