Trigger warning – DV
Two things have led to me sitting down and writing about a topic that I don’t know much about firsthand. A few days back clips from Johnny Depp’s trial, in his defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard, started showing up on my YouTube. It ironically coincided with me completing reading the popular Colleen Hoover book ‘It Ends With Us’. (Ironic or just Google doing a very thorough job of sharing my information) If you don’t know about the trial or the book here is some information –
- Johnny Depp has filed a 50M USD defamation case on Amber Heard for allegedly wrongfully claiming that Johnny Depp was violent towards her during the course of their marriage. This led to Depp losing out on movies like the Pirates franchise and others. He also faced severe personal issues within his family, with his kids because of these allegations. He has also alleged that on the contrary, Amber was violent towards him.
- ‘It Ends With Us’ is a book that revolves around domestic violence. (I don’t want to give away the storyline.)
In 2019, my best friend was in an abusive relationship. I was living in a different city at that point. Her boyfriend happened to move to that same city, so she followed suit to live with him. I was beyond thrilled cause it was a childhood dream to move cities with my best friends and live that ‘FRIENDS’ life. I really liked her then boyfriend and enjoyed spending time with the two of them. Slowly, I started noticing frequent but small wound marks on her. She claimed she injured herself while cooking or fell out of an autorickshaw – and I didn’t think too much of it. Then one really hot summer day, we were hanging out and she had this thick shrug on, so I suggested that she take it off but she refused. Eventually, the heat got to her and she removed it, only for me to see this huge bruise on her arm. I freaked out! I forced her to tell me what was going on and eventually she told me about the abuse. I was shocked, enraged, hurt and a few other emotions. I asked her to immediately pack her bags and move to my house. But she said that it had been her fault and they were going for joint therapy and it was getting better. I dropped him an angry message later that day but he told a totally different version of what had happened and I was left totally confused. (I still yelled at him.)
A few more weeks passed without incident and then one day she showed up with a chipped tooth. Apparently, in a rage, he had pushed her onto a coffee table chipping off her front tooth. I had had enough. I told her that at no cost was she going to continue living with him and she was immediately moving in with me. She said she would but the next day as I waited for her, she dropped a message saying she wasn’t going to leave him. I just couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t leave a man who was so brutally harming her and not just physically. In all my frustration, we both ended up having a huge fight. I told her I wouldn’t be involved in her life if she wanted to keep doing this cause that would make me complicit in this crime.
For the longest time, I have kept wondering why it was so hard for her to leave an abusive man? Was it because she couldn’t have another failed relationship or was it because everyone around her was in a relationship and she was scared of starting off again? I couldn’t understand how she could fathom a future with marriage and kids with such a man.
But reading the book and watching bits of the proceedings – I am slowly understanding why the victim finds it so difficult to leave an abusive relationship. I am not an expert on this topic but I just want to share a few tips on how to deal with a friend or loved one finding it difficult to get out of an abusive relationship, since I royally messed up.
- Be there for them no matter how frustrating it gets.
- Don’t rush the process. As much as you’d want them to be out of that situation, they need to get to the exit line on their own. (My best friend briefly left her boyfriend only to go back and give that relationship 2 more years and eventually break up with him.) Your support might help them get there sooner but your frustration won’t.
- Help them find therapists and other experts who can help them more effectively.
- Don’t judge them. I know this caused a barrier between my best friend and me. I didn’t understand the situation and judged her for being too weak to leave them.
Have you ever experienced or witnessed DV? How did you deal with it?
Please note: Domestic violence is not gender specific.
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