Family violence has come to the foreground the last few years when people are starting to realise that it is unacceptable. The days have gone when it was ignored, it was something that happened to other people.
The victims were ashamed of the abuse and did not want neighbours and family to know that it was going on. There was a sort of a loyalty that protected the abuser. It was also the time when divorce was regarded as a disgrace and the abused suffered in silence for years until something happened that brought what was going on out into the daylight.
Now it is appropriate to report what is happening and to go for assistance, it is no longer anything to hide. The victimised now are able to know that they no longer deserve the inflicted physical and mental injuries heaped on them and that the bully can be brought to justice and dealt with.
In the past so many women, children and even men put up with torment for years which ruined their lives and traumatised them to such an extent that they were unable to cope with life in general.
They were cowed and often bullying continued into their working lives. There was a feeling of vulnerability and worthlessness. It was almost as though they felt that they kept on deserving the treatment they had received as children.
The survivors were relieved to be able to leave the tyrants behind when they left home but unfortunately the spouses still got abused for many years because they were unable to leave for financial, social and support reasons. They did not have relatives who would have supported them and the children had gone and were not likely to ever return to the family home.
Family members were pleased to get away and to make a fresh start and leave unhappy childhood memories behind for the moment, but when their lives were stabilized and they were in a settled situation home and work wise. the events of the past, triggered off by some other incident, often caught up with them.
In order to cope, some of the former abused found themselves getting solace in alcohol and drugs to deaden the pain that had returned to haunt them, to the detriment of their wives and families, even if they did not carry on the abuse. They needed some kind of help and support but were often too proud to do anything about it. They felt it was weakness to give in. Families broke up over this.
Other survivors felt that they had to do something more constructive and they sought legal advice and went to have counselling.
Unfortunately often the law is slow as so many other court cases get preference, so justice in dealing with the offender is slow. It is frustrating for the people who want some action, but some members of the family will not want action taken, others for various reasons do not want to know, they have buried the memories deep inside.
Unfortunately those unresolved conflicts will ruin their relationships with other people, they will not always be trusting and sometimes rather aggressive, to protect their fragile inner self. Disagreement breaks up relationships which may take years to finally mend,.
People in these situations have a right to feel angry, a right to feel sad, a right to know that they can get justice. They also have a need to be able to lay the ghosts of the past to rest and to be able to move on and remake their lives. They are entitled to whatever assistance is available to help them heal.
There are many forms of healing and whatever they choose has to be right for them and they still need to feel that they play an active and not a passive part in that healing. Once that has been accomplished, they can then walk free and tall, knowing that the darkness of the past has left them.
This also applies to people who have in the past been abused by caregivers who have taken advantage of their helplessness when people in authority who could have exercised more supervision, either did not know or ignored what was going on.
One man recently wrote a book about events in his childhood. It was horrifying reading, as not only had he been physically abused by his parents, but he had been sent for his holidays to two people who had sexually molested him. His parents were in denial but his sister supported him.
He had dealt with it in the only way he knew how, he was finally back with his own family when he knew how to leave his traumatic childhood behind, and was able to be a loving and supportive father.
This is certainly not the way for everyone as most people do not want their family history made public, for various reasons as other family members can be hurt by those revelations. Most just want issues dealt with privately out of sight of the public eye.