I’ve always wanted to grow up in a family full of love and affection, but in reality, our house was filled with daily arguing and screaming between my mother and father. My father, like most men, was unfriendly, emotionless, and did not express his love for his children, practicing psychological violence on them, the most severe form of violence, because it doesn’t leave a material impact on the victim. My mother suffered a lot with him, but she was never able to get divorced, because divorce is considered a stain in the class we belong in; the middle class. Even more than that, my mother advised all women who complained to her of being subjected to violence and betrayal, to be patient with their husbands, so that their children would not grow up in broken families. My mother didn't rest, she didn't find peace, and the house never found peace and quiet from all the screaming until the day my father died, his endless controlling ended, and their battles ended.
My mother didn't rest, she didn't find peace, and the house never found peace and quiet from all the screaming until the day my father died, his endless controlling ended, and their battles ended
But why didn't my mother ask for a divorce, putting up with an abusive relationship that lasted 27 years? Like most people in our middle class, she saw that committing suicide was easier than divorce, since we would not be spared from people's biting words. Maybe her daughters won’t get married, because their mother is divorced, and maybe she’ll be harassed, as a divorced woman. She also saw divorce as a failure, and she didn't like to be called a failure. Also her economic situation wasn’t very good, for she feared that she would not be able to support her two daughters, and only saw courts as “long nooses”.
People complain about the high divorce rates among my generation, but I see the high divorce rates as a positive thing, as girls today are no longer like my mother's generation, accepting of abuse, and continuing in abusive relationships for fear of what people will say. I personally chose to end a toxic relationship with someone who is abusive, unfaithful, and practiced psychological manipulation, or gaslighting, against me, just so that I wouldn’t repeat my mother's mistake, no matter what it’d cost me. I got out of this relationship willingly, and I know many friends who ended their marriages early as well, as there is no justification for continuing in a failed or hurtful relationship in the hope that it may improve in the future.
I personally chose to end a toxic relationship with someone who is abusive, unfaithful, and practiced psychological manipulation, or gaslighting, against me, just so that I wouldn’t repeat my mother's mistake, no matter what it’d cost me
It won't happen to another woman
The abusive relationships we saw our mothers being held captive in, beaten, and cheated on made us take up a position that might be described as extreme. We will no longer accept abusive relationships, even if society stigmatizes us as divorced women, or as failures, or foolish women who rush to end things and do not put in enough effort in a relationship to keep it going. Everyone should know that 37% of women who have been married have been subjected to violence.
I read the stories of abused women on the “Egyptian Single Mothers” page, and I almost go crazy. One account details a father who abuses his three-month-old daughter, while another woman discovers that her husband is mentally ill on their second day of marriage, and goes on to endure insult and humiliation from his family along with death threats for 33 long years. I don't blame the victim, of course, but I can't help but ask myself: Why didn't these women leave when the abuse began?
"We accept the love we think we deserve".. In most cases, a woman who is oppressed in her father's house accepts oppression in her husband's house, and feels like she doesn’t deserve any better than this treatment
Why do some people stay in an abusive relationship?
In fact, there are several reasons why a woman doesn’t get out of an abusive relationship, the first of which is not realizing that she’s in a toxic relationship in the first place, or that the actions of her husband or partner is abusive, since a woman who is oppressed in her father's house accepts oppression in her husband's house, and feels like she doesn’t deserve any better than this treatment. In addition, there are methods and strategies that the abusive person uses to make the woman incapable of leaving the relationship, such as isolating the victim, where he would isolate her from any and all outside contacts, so that she wouldn’t be able to find anyone to turn to other than the abuser she is living with. He would also use mental manipulation or gaslighting, which is more than just lying, but rather a continuous process of deception. This makes her doubt herself and her decisions, while accusing her of being crazy and unbalanced, so that the woman begins believing his manipulation, and might even end up apologizing to him for his own bad behavior.
If a woman is subjected to physical violence, she may feel that it would be better to not leave the abuser, since his violence may increase if she leaves him. This possibility is not far from reality, as we have already heard of many cases of men who have beaten their wives after they filed for Khulu' (irrevocable) divorce. There is also what is called a ‘cycle of violence’, which involves the accumulation of violence within the abuser, his subsequent loss of control over it, and the use of violence, which is then followed by regret and apology, called the "honeymoon" stage. In it, the man apologizes, shows remorse, and the woman feels that he has changed forever, but what she doesn't know is that the harm will just be repeated later on, and the violence usually intensifies the next time.
What I, and many young women of my generation have done, is that we stopped “grinding water” (or doing something so futile and pointless), because nothing works for a toxic relationship, not patience nor any attempts to ‘fix’ it. We will no longer put up with psychological and physical abuse and be patient with it, no matter how much society accuses us of being failures, or of “destroying our homes ourselves”
Of course, there are economic reasons, as women often have no place to go to, especially if they have children, and the abusive partner often controls the woman economically. And here comes the role of economic independence. That is why it is important to not become financially dependent on men, and search for ways to achieve financial independence, even if it is done by refraining from spending all the money on the household, and allocating part of the monthly salary to the woman herself. On the other hand, sometimes a woman feels that she will not succeed in escaping, no matter how hard she tries, and this impossibility is exacerbated by the fact that family and society will push her to bear and put up with it, sometimes going as far as to not even believe her, so that she would continue with her toxic marriage in the hopes that the abuser will get better in the future.
What I, and many young women of my generation have done, is that we have stopped “grinding water” (Arabic idiom meaning doing something that is futile and pointless), because nothing works for an expired relationship, not patience nor any attempts to fix it. As for psychological and physical abuse, we will no longer be patient with it, no matter how much society accuses us of being failures, or of “destroying our homes ourselves”. If you are being subjected to physical or psychological violence, start by informing close people and supportive friends, take legal measures, call hotlines dedicated to domestic violence, and turn to women’s shelters, since they can host you for a day or two. Also, make sure at the beginning of the marriage that the 'isma is in your hand — where you’d have the right to divorce yourself from him — and do not try to ‘fix’ your abuser, or continue in a toxic relationship. Just get away, escape, even if it costs you your life.
* The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Raseef22
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