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| by Mai Atef

Fustany Talks: Has Abuse in Relationships Become too Common?

New to ‘Fustany Talks’? This is our latest series of articles where we have real conversations about topics that people are yet to open up about and discuss freely. Each of the Fustany Team members discusses it from their own personal experiences. Follow our #FustanyTalks for the latest content and join the conversation. You can also suggest our next topic here.

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If you look closer at a lot of relationships, you'll find that abuse against women has become a habit to the extent that it's almost part of their daily routines. The bigger problem is that the abuse translates so seamlessly to their children without any restriction. It's also very noticeable in all stages of relationships, from dating to engagement not just after marriage.

I've seen it happen over and over again, when mental, emotional and physical abuse against women has transformed love into anger and hate in two different situations that I'll share with you today.

Abuse after marriage

She's a woman who loves life and full of joy and laughter. I'm used to her visiting us very often at home to hang out with my mother and talk about the updates in their lives. One day, she dropped the news that she wants to get divorced after more than 30 years of marriage. I still remember my mother's reaction and the way she said surprised: "But he loves you, he kisses your hand everyday and always shows you how much he adores you." To everyone's shock she replied: "He always shows that loving and appreciating front around people, but it's all a lie." She went on to explain that he has been abusing her all these years, hitting and insulting her constantly. He doesn't even hesitate to continue the abuse in front of their children.

After finding out the secret that her best friend has been keeping to herself all those years, to maintain her husband's image in front of everyone, my mother supported her decision to get a divorce.

When finally the time came that she took the step and asked for divorce, news spread and she was met with disapproval from so many people around her. The first in line to attack her and refuse to accept her decision were her three sons. They were embarrassed by the idea of their parents getting a divorce after 30 years of marriage. One of them didn't want his in laws to know that his parents are separated. The other said: "If I want to propose to a girl, how can I tell her family that my parents just got a divorce a few months ago?" They didn't think that she's standing up for herself, refusing to be insulted and abused any longer. She's grown from the little girl she once was who used to shut up and became a fully grown woman who no longer accepts being targeted continuously like that.

Even after all the refusal she got from her sons and attempts to change her mind from everyone else, she insisted on following through with her decision. Currently, she's so much happier than she was before. Her ex husband has also realized his mistake and how much he was mistreating her, he got to appreciate her existence much more and is trying to win her back. I have to say that she is no longer the same bright, life loving woman she once was. All the years of abuse has changed her drastically, the light in her eyes is gone after her sons walked out on her, and she's been battling depression. But even after all that, she's in a much better state and always says: "I'm happy where I am right now."

Abuse against women after getting engaged

The second story is about 2 of my friends, who had a very beautiful start to their love story. I remember clearly how at the beginning, the romance was written all over my friend's face whenever he looked at his girlfriend. I'm a romantic person and I believe in platonic love, so I was sure their relationship would last forever, but reality was much harsher than I expected. I started noticing how my friend treated his girlfriend badly from physical to verbal abuse,  he would always push her or grab her arms too strong that it left marks. But worse of all, I started noticing how that affected her mental health.

The constant abuse replaced all the love that she had for him and was replaced with violence and hatred in a relationship that lasted for 6 years. I saw it all before my eyes, how the sweet love story that started from dating to getting engaged and all the events that lead to the unavoidable breakup. What I noticed after the end of this relationship, was the negative impact the abuse she was experiencing left on her. From physical abuse through hitting her to mental abuse where he'd criticize her all the time, she was pretty broken.

She slipped into depression and had to seek professional help to overcome the physical and emotional pain she'd been feeling throughout the 6 years she spent in that relationship. Something that he'd always do was push her against a wall whenever he got mad or jealous, but he never though of this as abuse, he'd always brush it off saying "I didn't hit her, it was just a small shove." But it was much more than that, because any form of physical violence leaves scars on her body and soul, which is even harder to heal from.

The emotional and physical effects of abuse against women

Both stories ended after the women reached a very low point of depression. They both now seek the feeling of being safe, something they never found in their years long relationship or marriage. I'm not comparing between their hardships at all, but the effects and scars left on them was more than anyone can imagine.

Women are now constantly abused, not just within a romantic relationship, but also all around us. You can see clearly how that is translated to the amount of violence kids these days show in the streets, which is clearly from what they see happening between their parents right in front of their eyes.

It's very hard for me now to feel completely safe because of all the violence that is surrounding us, it's even present between the closest people around us like relatives, friends, and acquaintances. The only way we can stop this is by speaking up about it. Women need to stop taking the abuse in silence and resist the abuse, because the damage has been spreading to the younger generations. They are now absorbing all that hate and violence and lashing out on everyone around them.

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Tags: Abuse  Domestic violence  Fighting violence against women  International day for the elimination of violence against women  Violence against women  Relationship problems  Relationships  Marriage problems  Girlfriend problems  Men vs women