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Domestic Violence through my eyes

My father is, in many ways, a man of extreme discipline and organization. When he retired from his official post as a manager of a reputed firm, one of his friends and colleague told me, " You should be more like your dad - hardworking and disciplined. You will go very far in life." I nodded and smiled.

In his personal life though, it was a different story. He was angry, abusive and unhappy. As a child, my sister and I witnessed repeated violence against my mother. Constantly living in an emotionally unpredictable environment, week after week, year after year, we developed a strong urge of shame and guilt within us. Each act of violence was newly appalling and hurtful as I felt helpless in my ability to protect my mother from a situation that seemed inescapable. My feelings of helplessness would turn into anger and guilt and I often felt responsible for idly standing aside, not able to protect my mother from the violent beatings.

Our house was small, and when you grow up with domestic violence in a confined space, you learn to be on guard, always gauging the situation, watching and waiting for the next incident to occur. We never knew what triggered the abuse in our house or what made my father so angry, hence we never felt safe. For many years, the guilt in me forced me to keep it a secret from my friends and relatives but eventually they knew.

Childhood experiences are often precious and deemed impactful. The one experience I remember most vividly about the abuse transpired many years ago but I remember it in great detail. After an entire evening of screaming and beatings, my mother decided she could no longer take it. She walked out of the house, with us in tow, and reached the police station. It was our first time and we felt shaken and scared. The officer in charge, sitting at a chair across us, stared hard at my mother. Without even opening his complaint register, he simply told my mother, " What did you do to provoke him? It is a private matter. Please go back." My mother left immediately and the beatings continued.

Years of witnessing violence against my mother played an integral role in shaping my views on relationships, family and larger systems. Children who grow up in violent and abusive homes often end up feeling lonely and ashamed. Every morning, while walking to my school, I used to have my head down, praying and wondering if any of my friends in the neighborhood heard the screams last night. I feel somewhere the shame lingers within me even today.

With time, my experience of growing up with domestic violence, has allowed me to explore gender roles and power dynamics in a meaningful and nuanced way. It helped me form perceptions and beliefs of women abuse. With time I realized that nobody deserves abuse, and violence is never an acceptable way of dealing with conflicts or problems.

Violence against any human is never a private matter. It touches many of us. Almost one in four women will experience domestic violence at some point in her lifetime. The abuse of violence is only protected by the shame of silence. Most people find the idea of violence solely a women's issue. But, it is in fact a global human rights issue. Most women and children- just like my mother and us, will continue to endure domestic violence, unless we all speak out against it. It requires courage and determination to speak out against years of systemic oppression, but if we do not, then the silence of abuse is only encouraged and perpetuated. I would never want any other woman or a human being for that matter to suffer and endure like my mother did. Hence I will always speak out against it, boldly and strongly. Will you ?

Comments

Mukut's picture

In retrospection

I would like to add that today, as I write this journal, my father lies bed-ridden and sick. He is paralyzed from neck down and cannot move any of his limbs. He is solely dependent on my mother and a nurse for everything. My mother, a superwoman that she is, and even after going through so much, constantly takes care of him, without complaining or giving any excuse. That's why I love my mother just a little more ( no, a lot more) than my dad. I love my dad too, but I fear him more. As I watch him on his bed helpless and sick today, I cannot help but feel pity and sad for him. But, somewhere in my heart I will never be able to forgive him for what he did.

Mukut Ray

Tash's picture

Brave Mukut ! And what

Brave Mukut ! And what remarkable woman your mom is! Thanks for sharing this story with us, my recall of my fathers abuse of my mom are 2, the night he broke her arm and the night be broke down their door as she was trying to hide away from him. Two of the most scary nights of my childhood. It has never happened again, at least while i was there but the psychological is still there, both my parents are stubborn (bless them) i see them in a better place now, as i and them are older...i hope it will be just loving soon, and normal verbal fights like any couple. They better lol cuz we are all almost moving out !although if it happens this time am home for Christmas, ill stand up to him, respectfully though.

Kind Regards,
Patsy.

Mukut's picture

You are so cute Patsy

I loved the way you said, I will stand up to him, respectfully though. Haha, true we all need to stand up , speak up and protest. I dont want any woman to suffer in silence.

Am sure your mom is a supermom too because her daughter is definitely a rockstar.

Thanks so much for writing in.

lots of love to you.

Hugs,

Mukut Ray

Sangita Thapa's picture

Courage!

Mukut, my dearest, it needs huge courage to speak all these truth and an equally big heart to accept and move on. I appreciate your courage to speak the truth, standing against the violence. your mom is definitely a superwoman with such a BIG and compassionate heart to forgive and continue to nourish him till date.

Thank you for sharing! You and your mom both deserve applause.

with love,

Sangita

Adahmbah's picture

Great inspiration,Keep the Fight

That was a great piece Mukut Ray and courage sister,just be positive, forgive and forget. Befor you know it wonderful things will come your way, Keep the faith and know that you're not alone!
Adah

Y's picture

I am so sorry. I am always

I am so sorry. I am always curious as to why women who are abused continue to care for the men who abuse them and their children.I am also curious about why adults who have suffered abuse as children continue to return to the abusive parents.

Y

awinkie's picture

Such an amazing woman you are

Mukut you are such an inspiration! As I was reading your article I couldn't stop thinking how courageous you were to speak out about these issues. You are an excellent writer and I have confidence that you will make great change by speaking out about these issues! Thank you so much for sharing your story I know it has already made a difference in many lives, including my own.

Hannah B's picture

Thank you!

Mukut,

Thank you for sharing this intimate story with all of us. You are a brave woman! Any time you share something personal so widely you are opening yourself to the comments of strangers, and that can be a challenge within itself.

It sounds like you have done a lot of studying and understand a great deal about the dynamics of domestic violence - I hope you see now that there was nothing more you could have done to change the situation or protect your family as a child. You survived, and that is something amazing!
I hope that through your work and writing you will feel safer and better in yourself. You are a very good writer and I hope to see more work from you!

Take care,
Hannah

busayo's picture

Courageous!

I am so proud of you Mukut Ray. Keep fighting and don't be silent because our voice is our weapon. Violence against women is not a private matter at all, it is everybody's matter and we will continue to raise our voice against it. THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES AND VICTORY IS CERTAIN!! Kudos to you my dear sister and to that wonderful woman your Mum!

You have really inspired me, please keep it up

Warmest
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

boughnea's picture

Continue to fight

I want to encourage you in your effort-in your fight to step into the person that you are... to push out the part of this life and world that has no right to exist, violence, from existence.

I love when you said, "Violence against any human is never a private matter." This is so true, but so many think otherwise... we all have our own issues and it can be so easy to pretend away another person's burden so that we don't have to take it on and go through with trying to help. I'm so glad that you are pushing through this and not standing for it.

You are smart, strong, and a fighter. I'm sorry for the pain you have endured, but I am glad for the strength you have to try and concur it. Keep your chin up!

Shilpa Balakrishnan's picture

Veerta Mukut...

Aapne yeh sab sach bolkar ithina bada kadham udaya...Aur doosara comment mein aapke yeh bhi likha he ki,aap apne bapu se bahut pyar karthi he.Aap sach mein ek veer ladki he... samaan dashaa yahaan bhi hothi he...but we are just witnesses...

Nicole.Staudinger's picture

Thank You

Thank you so much for so eloquently and bravely sharing your story. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for you and still must be for you to live through, and live with, those memories. My heart goes out to you and your family, and will keep you in mind whenever the opportunity to stand up to violence against women arises.

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