The Breakthrough Voice 3rd October, 2019

This Is What It Means To Live With Domestic Violence.

Most of us spend our long days aching for the comfort of our homes, longing for the moment when we’ll be stress-free in our beds, with our eye-masks on. All the troubles in the world will be gone and we’ll finally be sound asleep in our cozy beds. Isn’t that the ultimate goal at the end of the day? That no matter where we go, no matter how much we invest in our work, when the dusk hits the sky we need a place where we can go – doesn’t matter whether it’s to a specific address or a specific person.

Now imagine all that being taken away from you in the matter of a few months. Maybe after you got married. To the wrong person. It didn’t seem wrong at first, did it? It seemed so normal, almost romantic and sweet, how he bought you flowers and gifts and took you out for fancy dinners. You were so happy to finally have met the right person, someone who could make you happy, keep you safe and would be there to support you throughout your life. You saw a life partner in him and so you married him with no idea of what was to come next. It’s how people work, they hide the monsters inside of themselves until the door of the home is locked and when you have no way of getting out and nowhere to hide, they come out aggressively. 

The story of Slim and Mitch in the movie Enough (2002) which was adapted from a New York Times bestseller novel called “Black and Blue” by Anna Quindlen addresses exactly this. Mitch seduces Slim (a waitress played by our beloved Jennifer Lopez) and makes her fall in love with him. They get married and have a child. Unsurprisingly, Mitch has an affair that Slim finds out about. Surprisingly, when Slim confronts him, he uses his manly strength to beat her and shut her up by telling her that he, as the provider of the house and a man, can do as he pleases and she has to live with it. 

Living in fear and pain day in and day out must be unimaginable torture. But not being able to do anything about it, being helpless in that state, looking ahead at your life and seeing yourself suffering till the end of time could drive a person to give up completely. Except that when this person has another person dependent on them, giving up is not an option. Slim had to protect her daughter Gracie at any cost. Even though Mitch had never shown any impulses of hurting Gracie, Slim had no trust in that man and in the world that she had brought this sweet little girl into. 

Gathering the guts to escape this hell when your days feel like years and paranoia haunts you even in your sleep has got to be one of the most difficult things for a person to do in life. Can you think of something even more difficult than escaping? It’s running. Mitch was a man with resources and he wasn’t going to let a woman get away after playing a trick on him. Hunters do not like to lose, but it’s the prey who has to run for their lives. This reminds me of another movie that you might’ve seen – Udta Punjab. Alia Bhatt is captured and raped in that movie by men who see her as a pretty sex toy. She finally escapes, only to be captured again. What a painful tragedy. 

Domestic violence is the end of hope and safety. What it means is that you have no home that you can call your comfort zone, you have no person who will hug you at the end of every day and make you feel relieved that you’re finally in their arms. Instead, you have another battle to look forward to after an exhausting day at work. And what do you do in a battle? You prepare. You prepare to fight until your last breath. You prepare your escape, your defense, your victory. What you don’t do is give up and let unkind people get the best of you. 

Your life is under your control, even if it may not seem so at times. When suffering from domestic violence, people have to find strength in the vision of a better life for themselves. They have to believe that the best is yet to come. They have to shout for their rights and fight for their freedom which is exactly what Slim does in that movie. Even though her daughter was a huge motivating factor for her to keep fighting and not giving up, not having another person to save but just herself should also have been enough motivation to fight and end the suffering. 

After all, you have to be your own savior in life no matter whether you’re fighting domestic violence, anxiety, depression or bullying, and whatnot. And if you have friends to help you save yourself, consider yourself a lucky one.

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