Domestic Violence and Weight Issues.

Domestic Violence and Weight Issues.

Last week was a big one for political misogyny, abuse and violence. Those horrific images of Charles Saatchi with his hands (allegedly, hmmf) around Nigella Lawsons neck in a restaurant ricocheted around the globe.

It has brought domestic violence back into the spotlight, where it belongs, so we can talk about it and deal with it.

Domestic Violence is defined as (and I quote)

  • “emotional abuse—blaming the victim for all problems in the relationship, undermining the victim’s self-esteem and self-worth through comparisons with others, withdrawing interest and engagement and emotional blackmail.
  • verbal abuse—swearing and humiliation in private and public, focusing on intelligence, sexuality, body image or the victim’s capacity as a parent or spouse
  • social abuse—systematic isolation from family and friends, instigating and controlling relocations to a place where the victim has no social circle or employment opportunities and preventing the victim from going out to meet people
  • economic abuse—controlling all money, forbidding access to bank accounts, providing an inadequate ‘allowance’, preventing the victim seeking or holding employment and taking wages earned by the victim
  • psychological abuse—making threats regarding custody of children, asserting the justice system will not believe or support the victim, destroying property, abusing pets and driving dangerously
  • spiritual abuse—denial and/or misuse of religious beliefs or practices to force victims into subordinate roles and misusing religious or spiritual traditions to justify physical violence or other abuse
  • physical abuse—direct assaults on the body, use of weapons (including objects), assault of children, locking the victim out of the house, sleep and food deprivation, and
  • sexual abuse—any form of pressured/unwanted sex or sexual degradation, causing pain during sex, coercive sex without protection against pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease, making the victim perform sexual acts unwillingly and criticising or using degrading insults.”

Most domestic violence is unreported.

“Given the scope of this definition of domestic violence, the private nature of the relationships within which violence occurs and the fact that most incidents of domestic violence go unreported, it is impossible to measure the true extent of the problem. We do know, however, that domestic violence in Australia is common and widespread. We know that a woman is more likely to be killed in her home by her male partner than anywhere else or by anyone else. We also know that most women do not report violence to police; they are even less likely to report violent incidents to police when the perpetrator is a current partner.”

Reference here

A woman is more likely to be killed in her home by her male partner, than anywhere else, or by anyone else.

Did you read that?

Of course, not all men are violent or abusive. However enough are, and are in silent, in the secret privacy of the closed doors of the family home.


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What does it have to do with weight?

The incredible emotional toll that abuse takes internally will often lead to comfort eating, drinking, shopping or drugs as a form of escape. The more insidious erosion of a woman’s self-esteem through insults and the abuse often leads to her adding a protective shield of fat, an unconscious safety device. Thus making the taunts a self-fulfilling prophecy. She also reinforces the abuse when she decides to believe it and become her own abuser inside her mind, leading to a downward spiral of powerlessness and hopelessness.

This is the extreme end of the Drama Cycle in action. Victim, Abuser, Rescuer. We vilify the abuser, and sympathise with the victim, try to rescue them, or ask those questions: “How could she stay?”, “Why doesn’t she leave?”, “Why does she put up with it?” Abuse often leaves serious internal emotional bruising, often leading the victim to believe the bullshit they have been told repeatedly that she’s the problem”, she’ll never find anything better, she’s lucky to be with him. If you’ve never been inside it you will find it difficult to understand, if you have, you certainly don’t need me to tell you about it.

What these ladies (or any victim of abuse) needs is our support, love and encouragement. Someone to listen without judgement. To care and believe in them, to remind them of their inner power, to remind them that the abuser in their life and their head is telling lies. Remind them that they deserve more, that they are worth love, kindness and safety.

Victims stay in these kinds of relationships because they have their own inner abuser. Victims find these kinds of relationships because that is what they have learned a relationship is, and it’s better the devil you know. (Of course it’s not) Victims stay because of fear.

It Can Change.

What any victim needs to know is that IT CAN CHANGE. You can have a loving supportive relationship with a man who respects and trusts you. You can feel empowered and safe in your body and in your world. There is nothing that you can ever do or not do to take away this right. it is the most basic of human rights. You will have support to make this change. People will believe you and help you. You would not have “created” this situation for yourself if you did not have the internal strength and fortitude to overcome it.

Instead of calling yourself a victim, or a recovering victim, find a new name, a new identity for yourself. So you made some choices that sucked, put up with unacceptable behaviour, who hasn’t? They were the best choices you were capable of at the time. Now it’s time to begin rebuilding the trust in yourself and finding your inner power and strength. Time to find the inner warrior queen, who rises above the drama, who notices it and sees those petty games for what they are. Petty. Beneath you. Time to move on and play a bigger game. Time to create love in your life and remind yourself that you are worthy of all that you dream of. Violence and abuse in any form is unacceptable, there is nothing that excuses that behaviour, nothing you could do to deserve it.

You are not your past. You are who you decide to be.

As you begin to observe the Drama Cycle as it plays out you will immediately jump out of the roles into the cool, collected, empowered observer. From this place of witnessing without judgement, you can take responsibility for your part in the Drama without condoning abuser. If you did allow yourself to be victimised, there was a choice there, somewhere. (Just for the record, I am not saying that victims of abuse consciously choose the events, and there is a choice to either own the abuse and identify with it, to put up with it, or not)

When you find that choice and own it. You will be reminded of the fact that you now have another choice to make. A choice that you need to make consciously, with all of your being, all of your inner strength and all of your resources. A choice that is about your future. A choice about who you want to be. and what kind of life you want to have.

I want you to know that no matter what you’ve been through, I’m cheering for you. I believe in you. You can create the life that you want, filled with love and kindness.

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