November 25th marks the international White Ribbon Day and kicks off the 16 days of activism where internationally, men and women stand together to highlight the issue of violence against women. Wearing a white ribbon, organising a campaign or donating funds to a women’s shelter are all ways of supporting elimination of violence against women.
Women abuse is a regular pattern of intentional behaviour that is used to control, intimidate and maintain power and control over the actions, feelings and thoughts of a woman. This type of abuse occurs across cultures, across religious groups, financial groups and across the world. It is a mistaken belief that abuse is exclusively physical and that the wounds of abuse are easily seen or acknowledged. Physical abuse is outlined by the South African government as behaviour that is life – threatening in nature. However the wounds of abuse are not limited to the physical alone. Abuse involves unseen trauma and manifests itself as emotional and verbal abuse, which involves behaviour that manipulates, provokes fear, destroys self worth and personal value. Verbal abuse involves attacking, injurious words that promote a negative view of the self, which eventually causes the woman to embrace a false view of herself. Financial abuse readily occurs within many relationships, typically relationships that are bound to specific cultures. Financial abuse occurs when the woman has little or no access to finances, including her salary or wage. The woman is excluded from making decisions regarding finances and has to request money and account tirelessly for her spending. Sexual abuse involves any unwanted sexual activity that is forced upon a woman, this kind of behaviour can occur within a marital relationship. Spiritual or religious abuse is currently a topic of discussion within South African communities. Spiritual or religious abuse occurs when an organisation or individual exerts power or control over a women’s spirituality, this can happen at the hands of a spiritual leader or authority figure.
A Google search will provide a list of organisations that help abused women in your area!