Monday, 25 May 2009

Abuse

It was the same scenario every time: yelling, accusing me of things he didn’t even know and had to invent, grabbing my arm and giving me that I-can't-stand-you-anymore look. It was impossible to believe that was the same man who had begged for my love and affection years ago. He had promised me the world and to never make me cry. I had once been very happy with him. It hadn’t lasted long though.
He didn’t want to go out with me. Not this evening. Not ever. And now he was going to humiliate me. If I fought back, he would storm outside the house and come home really late, or even the next day.
I'll just shut up, I thought. As usual.
I looked at him, calmly, like he had never yelled. I was fed up, disgusted, and dead inside. He no longer intimidated me.
He hurried toward me and grabbed my right arm, squeezing it. I cried out in pain. "Leave me alone!" I shouted, struggling to free my helpless arm from his monstrous grip.
He gave me another threatening look and let me go. Then he slapped me.
The slap slashed my left cheek, and sent me flying across the floor. I screamed in terror, agony, and contempt. How could my husband have turned into a heartless monster who enjoyed nothing more in life than torturing me?
I had allowed him to long ago. I had given him excuses and decided to love him. And that was the bitter price I had to pay.
I looked up at him. I couldn’t see his eyes anymore. They were obscured by rage.

-- The Years of Silence


What are abusive relationships? What are the different types of abuse (many think it's mostly physical)? What defines them? Have you ever been abused? How did you deal with it? And why and how do people get involved with abusive men/women?

My debut novel The Years of Silence deals with an abusive relationship/marriage in the first chapters and through the heroine's flashbacks throughout the novel. That's why I thought we should discuss abuse and abusive relationships (without spoiling the novel for those who haven't read it - any spoilers will be deleted).

First, let me define abuse: Abuse can be physical, emotional or sexual. It involves humiliation, threats, intimidation...etc.

Signs of an abusive relationship include: physical harm (including slapping, grabbing, shaking, pushing, kicking, punching...etc.); aspects of your own life being controlled (examples include what or what not to do, who to stay in touch with...etc.); frequent humiliation; threats to harm you or themselves; twisting the truth so you are to blame for your partner's actions; constant anger and jealousy...

Emotional withholding, control games, lies, broken promises, and infidelity are also forms of abusive relationships.

Emotional abuse is as damaging as physical abuse because it causes long-term self-esteem issues and emotional disturbances.

Abusers are often survivors of abuse themselves. Abusers act out of deep seated shame and feelings of inadequacy. They seek to pull their partner down to make themselves feel better.

Also, abuse can be a family dysfunction that repeats through generations. The abused becomes the abuser and so continues the cycle.

What many don't know is that unwanted sexual advances that make you uncomfortable are a warning that there's little or no respect in this relationship. If someone tells you, "If you loved me, you would do this or that" that's a warning of possible ABUSE. This tells you how controlling that person is and how what matters is for them to get only what they want, not caring about what YOU want.

So, how do you know if you're in an abusive relationship (even though there are many signs like I've explained earlier to tell you)? Ask yourself: Are you afraid most of the time? If you are, then it's an abusive relationship.

Share your stories, comments and feedback!

Friday, 1 May 2009

Review: The Years of Silence by Marwa Ayad

Review: The Years of Silence by Marwa Ayad

The Years of Silence, told in luminous, poetic prose, is the story of how Maya Seif, a young Egyptian woman who has endured hardship and pain in an abusive marriage, finds her way out of that marriage and begins a journey of self-discovery. In the course of her journey, she reconnects with her first true love, Yusuf Omar, the man her heart never forgot.

Maya's divorce from Shereef is instigated by a tragedy. Two years before, Maya had received an email from Yusuf, her first love, but since she had been married at the time, she hadn't felt comfortable with replying. Now, though, she replies and confides in Yusuf. But he's thousands of miles away, in New York, and going through difficult times himself.

As the story develops, they both think, they can marry and be together forever. But a shock lies in store for Yusuf and Maya, one which threatens to tear them apart forever.

The Years of Silence is contemporary romance at its best: compelling, sympathetic characters, a page-turning plot, and a veritable buffet of food for thought about how people can bring each other down or lift each other up, the mysteries of why some relationships work out but others don't. And The Years of Silence offers deep insight into the joys, complexities, and mystery of true love, itself a life-time journey and the most enriching and rewarding of them all.

~reviewed by Thomma Lyn Grindstaff, author of Mirror Blue

*Thanks so much, Thomma Lyn; your review has made me ecstatic especially coming from an amazing author as you! :)

**Read more about The Years of Silence here.
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