Family violence has short and long-term physical, emotional, psychological, financial and other effects on women. Every woman is different, and the individual and the cumulative impact of each act of violence depends on many complex factors. 

Women who experience family violence are often unable to act on their own choices because of physical restraint, fear and intimidation and, they live in persistent fear of further violation. They are frequently silenced and unable to express their point of view or experience.  Women often make their partners’ needs and feelings the constant focus of their attention as a survival strategy, which may result in an inability to attend to their own and their children’s health and well-being. Following are words that women have used to describe the effects of living with family violence: 

Numb…Indecisive…Suspicious…No appetite…Insomnia…Stress-related illness…Palpitations…Nervous all the time… Used alcohol to deaden the pain…Drugs…Smoked a lot…Bald patches…Self-mutilation…Asthma…Eat all the time…Didn’t care what I looked like…Overate and put on so much weight…Rundown…No opinions…Tried to fix everything…Forget what I’m talking about…Frightened of the dark…Just go along with everything…No interest in sex…Push everyone away…Can’t cope with anything…Angry all the time…Guilt…Lonely…Abandoned and betrayed…No confidence…Just stay home…Stopped going out…Lost my friends…Gave up study…Daydream all the time…Cleaned compulsively…Tried suicide…Tried to kill my partner…I don’t know who I am anymore… 

Doubts I sit alone here at night

Doubts I sit alone here at night
The children fast asleep
And hope that all the decisions
I’ve made are all right

I’ve taken them from their father
Which they won’t forget
But why should I feel the guilt because they
Don’t understand
Yet everything daddy does is ‘just grand’.

I try to make them happy

But they just don’t want to know
Christopher just wants his daddy
And no matter how I try
He just seems to cry and cry

I can’t go back ——I won’t go back
I’ve taken enough mental torture
The decision I’ve made is right
It’s really been the hardest break
In time they’ll know, it was for their sake!

Eilish Bolana

Learned Helplessness

They say
These clever scientist folks,
That there is such a thing
As learned helplessness;
Cage a rat
Subject it
To repeated trauma
Until it is so tired of fighting
It will lie in the corner
And take the pain

Not leaving
Even when the door is opened

I know this to be true
This has been me
In the corner
With imploring eyes
For you to shut the door
And stop confronting me

With impossible choices

Unknown Author

Women's Support Contact: Melape Wallace
 07 346 2096