GBV, an attack on the mind

02 April 2019 | Columns

Elizabeth Joseph

I know you’re thinking: “Here we go again with the petty columns.”

But I really don’t care how many times I speak about things that matter.

We all have either been abused or had someone close to us in an abusive relationship. Many times we have been the perpetrators ourselves.

I’ve heard a lot of people ask questions like: “Why don’t you just leave?” or “Why don’t you leave your abuser in jail?”…

While others say things like: “If you love your children, you will leave this man.”

Here’s why. Abuse is an iceberg. The head of the iceberg is what happens to you physically, and the rest are all attacks on the heart, mind and soul. They say that people who are financially dependent on their perpetrators are more likely to stay in the relationship because they have no other way of sustaining themselves, as well as their loved ones, and this is absolutely true.

I was financially supporting *Paul and I still couldn’t leave. My abuse was that of the mind. He told me that the only reason why he did it was because he loved me and if he didn’t cared about me he wouldn’t get angry at me like that.

For a very long time I believed him. Even after I ended the relationship, I still felt like I played a big part in the situation.

I don’t like talking about it because it allows my heart to become hard and the person that I am with now certainly does not deserve that. It is one thing to boast about making it out alive, but it’s a whole different story if you sit and feel sorry for yourself. Learn to know the difference and celebrate with people who had the courage to say enough is enough.

Someone close to me told me that the way I speak about what happened to me makes her think that he still has a hold on me. That is true. I still have nightmares and I am afraid of my boyfriend now, because of what happened.

I don’t think anyone can ever move on completely after being abused in any way, shape or form, and that should be up to the victim.

Waking up every day with a life goal of staying alive while you classify that under ‘love’ is very difficult. Understanding what people are going through is just as hard because people can be very impatient and insensitive. We know that you don’t fully comprehend the scene. Different people need different things during a time like that.

I had an amazing support system, my best friend *Yasmin. She was the only person who knew exactly what was happening and that it was important for me that she remains strong for me. I didn’t tell any of my family members because God knows they are crazy. It was only after the end of that relationship that they found out and my brothers went looking for this guy at his workplace. Thank goodness they didn’t find him because if they had, then we would’ve been eating cookies and tea at someone’s funeral by now. Sorry if I’m being morbid, but it’s true. My family is a close-knit one and we don’t tolerate violence of any sort.

God has mended my wounds - the wounds that were far worse than a split lip and a bruised arm. Those things healed fast, but what was left was removed from me and I can now say that I made it out, and I will forever tell my story in the hope that it aids other young women who are going through the same thing.

Please try to heed the signs early. Once it happens it will always happen. Believe me, there is no such thing as the first and the last time. Once someone finds a way to belittle and control you, then that will become your fate. YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME. No matter what you did. You do not deserve it. And lastly, speak to someone, anyone, because when you isolate yourself, you place yourself in a position where you will start to accept this and see it as a part of life.

So now, be good to yourself and others.