The MOST difficult post I’ll ever write: My experience in an abusive marriage
Bismillah (In the name of God)
For many years I have been silent about my experience with domestic violence. I’d survived an abusive marriage but rarely discussed it. My family and close friends knew what had happened to me and were very supportive. It’s been nearly ten years and I’ve finally decided to open up in hopes of inspiring others who may need it.
I must admit I am VERY uncomfortable talking about this publicly but I can’t help but feel obligated to do so. The level of anxiety I am currently feeling as I am writing this is a bit unbearable but in the words of Tariq from the Legendary Roots Crew “I shall proceed”.
October is domestic violence awareness month. Although this is my first post about the issue insha’Allah (God Willing) it won’t be the last. Each year when October rolls around I tell myself I can do more than share a meme informing others it is domestic abuse awareness month but I never do.
What I truly want is for everyone to deeply understand what abuse is. Abuse can be physical but many times its emotional as well. Emotional abuse can include but is not limited to name calling, criticizing, and humiliating the victim in front of others. The abuser may be controlling and preventing the victim from having friends and being around her family. The victim may go from having a social life to basically anti-social. They make accusations, threats, and give scornful looks.
The lack of control the abuser displays in many cases eventually turns to physical violence. Physical abuse is slapping, kicking, punching, dragging by the hair, burning, choking, etc.
Domestic abusers pretty much all operate in the same manner. Since my experience there has not been a story of domestic violence that did not echo mine. So with that being said it is extremely important to understand what abuse is and recognize the cycle of abuse.
What is the cycle of abuse?
The cycle of abuse is a social cycle theory developed to explain patterns of behavior in an abusive relationship. Anyone going through any of these stages should immediately recognize this cycle.
1. Tension Building.
The cycle of abuse starts with “Tension Building”. In this phase there is a breakdown of communication. The victim is fearful and pretty much walking on eggshells. The victim does whatever it takes to keep things peaceful and feels the need to placate the abuser.
This episode can be either physical, verbal, or emotional. There is anger, blaming, arguing, threats, and intimidation.
This is when the abuser apologizes. He may even start to cry and promise to never do it again. The abuser will make excuses, blame the victim, deny the abuse occurred, or minimize the victims claims.
4. Calm or “Honeymoon stage”.
In this stage the incident is forgotten. There is no abuse in this stage. Things are great until the tension starts to build up again.
According to national statistics on domestic violence 1 in 3 women have been victims of abuse. Every 9 seconds a woman is beaten or assaulted in the United States. These, along with many other statics, are startling. What is even more startling is the nonexistent stance the Muslim community has taken on domestic violence. True, Islam DOES NOT promote violence towards women but when cases of abuse arise they can be dealt with in a more fitting manner. The lack of support from sisters as a whole seems to be even more nonexistent. Like previously mentioned, I had the support of family and close friends but that was it. It wasn’t long after the split with my ex that I heard all of the horrible things being said from “sisters”. The most disturbing was when a sister said to me “everyone just thought he slapped you a few times”. Her comment never left me because it was clear that in the mind of some women it’s ok if their husband slaps them “a few times”.
Unless you wish to live a life of fear and walking on eggshells you will speak up. I decided my life mattered after my dear Mother (May God Preserve her) asked me “what are you waiting for him to do?” When she asked me that question I had to stop and think. I can honestly say I was waiting for the abuse to stop but it never did. It only got worse and worse.
This is all I can share at the moment. In the next post I will share information about how to recognize the red flags. There are always red flags. Until then, be safe and take care.