A Woman's Right to be Free from Violence and Abuse
The right of women to be free from violence is something that should be taken very seriously. Women, who make up half of the world’s population, have historically been subjected to violence and abuse. Sadly, this is still true today.
Violence and abuse against women can take many forms, including:
These can all have a devastating effect on women’s mental and physical health, their ability to work, and their overall well-being.
What Abuse and Violence Looks Like at Home
Too often women experience physical, emotional, and psychological abuse in the home. Physical abuse can include hitting, kicking, slapping, and other forms of physical violence. Emotional and psychological abuse can include verbal and emotional manipulation, criticism, humiliation, intimidation, and isolation.
Financial abuse, such as their abuser controlling their access to money (usually with a seemingly logical reason provided), is another form of abuse women often experience. Additionally, women may be subject to sexual abuse, such as rape, forced sexual acts, or unwanted sexual advances—even by their spouse or partner.
What Abuse and Violence Looks Like at Work
Unfortunately, women often experience violence and abuse in the workplace too. This can be psychological abuse such as harrassment, or they may experience unfair treatment, pay disparity, retaliation for reporting inappropriate behavior, unwanted physical contact and sexual advances, bullying and intimidation, denial of promotions, unsafe working conditions, unreasonable work demands, unwarranted termination, and denial of benefits or leave.
Women face a heightened risk of such abuses, particularly in male-dominated industries, and it is essential that employers take steps to ensure that women are treated with fairness and respect in the workplace.
It is important for you to recognize that any form of violence or abuse in the workplace is unacceptable.
Recognizing the Signs
While it might seem counterintuitive, recognizing when you’re being abused is rather difficult at times because abusers often use manipulative tactics to control their victims. This can include gaslighting (manipulating someone into doubting their own memory, perception, or judgment), intimidation, and threats.
If you’re being abused, you may feel scared, isolated, or controlled by your partner. You may be threatened or insulted; ignored or belittled; and you could feel like you can’t make decisions without your partner’s permission. If you’re being prevented from seeing friends or family; being forced to do things you don’t want to do; being physically hurt or injured; or feeling like you are walking on eggshells, these are all signs of abuse.
Being treated this way, especially over long periods of time, scrambles and impairs your thought processes. It messes with your sense of reality and logic. The most important things you can do are check in with yourself and stay vigilant. Stay aware of the signs of abuse and trust your instincts if something feels wrong.
In such a situation, it’s easy to doubt yourself and think about blaming yourself for the treatment you’re receiving. If you know you are in an abusive situation or if you’re not quite certain, reach out to a therapist, counselor, psychologist, or a domestic abuse hotline for help. These are all good places to start.
Don’t Be Afraid to Call a Domestic Violence Hotline
Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior and is not limited to physical violence. It can include any form of abuse or violence that occurs between two people in an intimate relationship, such as spouses, partners, or family members. This can include physical, sexual, emotional, and economic abuse.
A domestic abuse hotline isn’t only for people involved in physical abuse cases, and calling doesn’t mean moving into a shelter. If you’re experiencing any type of abuse, you can call to untangle your thoughts, come up with a plan, or get resources that can help you out of the abusive situation.
Domestic abuse hotlines are invaluable resources for women who are facing abuse in their homes. These hotlines provide women with a safe, confidential space to talk about their experiences and can help them access the resources they need to get help.
Hotlines typically provide counseling and emotional support, as well as information about services such as shelters, legal assistance, and advocacy. In addition, many hotlines have specially trained staff who are knowledgeable about domestic violence and can provide advice and referrals to other services.
There are national and local hotlines in the United States; check to see what resources are available where you are.
Women should never have to live in fear of violence or live with abuse of any kind. It’s time we recognize the right of all women to be free from any form of mistreatment and do everything we can to ensure that these rights are respected. Until bigger change occurs, it’s important that we help one another by sharing information and resources.
If you are a victim of violence or abuse, please recognize that you are not alone. There are resources available to find help, such as domestic violence hotlines, counseling services, and legal assistance resources. It’s also important to reach out to friends and family members for support. If your abuser has separated you from these people, it’s time to reconnect and get some support.
YOU have the right to be free from violence and abuse, all women share this right. Never feel ashamed or embarrassed to seek help.