I have been in a bad marriage for five years now. I have two children and my husband is abusive. I have been living with my parents on and off. Neither my parents, nor my in-laws are in favour of a divorce and keep forcing me to reconcile. Things stay fine for a few weeks and then the abuse resumes. I have been putting up with all this for the sake of my children. Don't know how long I can take this. What should I do?
The situation you and your children are living is horrific. Not only you are a victim of your husband’s abuse but also those of your in laws and your own parents. Their resistance to divorce is violence against you and your children. In this state of affairs, feelings of isolation and helplessness take over and one simply tends to stay and leave things to fate.
Rest assured you are not alone. There are millions of women going through your situation right now. Many will get out but many will also stay. Abuse of any form is wrong, but the tough news is that none of this will improve unless you take a step towards freedom yourself. You might feel that it is easier to stay but only because you have been socialised to feel helpless. It is not going to be easy.
Please don’t live in the hope that your husband and family will change and that things will get better from their end. Please don’t wait for someone to come and rescue you from them. You will have to take action on your own behalf and that of your children.
Your abusers will make you feel that you will not manage without them because they want to control you, but you will manage. Please reach out to free professional support for victims of domestic violence available online. They will assist you in building exit strategies even with respect to finances.
The fact that many women are going through this might not make you feel better, but it also means that speaking to those who have crossed the bridge will make you understand that it is possible.
(The writer is an Intimacy & Relationship Coach and an Independent People and Culture Specialist focusing on relationships, sexuality, youth and social media in South Asia. Have a query? Send it on firstname.lastname@example.org)