Pune’s youth open up about instances when protectors turned oppressors. It’s time we shed light on episodes of parental abuse to gauge its long-term impact.
Riddhi Gaikwad, a 35-year-old accountant confesses to running away from home at 22.
“My father and I used to have occasional ego clashes because we are very much the same. One time, I tried to politely talk to him about a new ill-advised investment he was making. He was irate and repeatedly hit me on my head with his balled fist. I never saw it coming and was left reeling.
“I know, it might not have been my place to broach the subject. So, was his reaction understandable? Perhaps. But acceptable? NO!”, she cries refusing to condone the abuse.
Mihika Naik (23), is indignant while sharing a similar episode.
“My father is 5’11 and I’m 4’9 in height. I was 20 at the time (of abuse) and it wasn’t the first time this happened. I didn’t feel safe at home anymore. The worst part wasn’t my father’s actions though. It was the lack of support from my family members. My grandparents and not even my mother stopped him.
“Why? Was it because he’s a man or merely because he is the primary provider?” she questions angrily, reminding us of the importance of staunch familial support.
Abuse victims however, are not limited to the fairer sex.
Manish S. K reveals that his childhood was riddled with emotional abuse.
“My father has always been the hen-pecked husband and I’m ashamed to say I’ve seen my mother slap him on occasion.
“It just makes me lose my trust in marriage. There are no guarantees and I don’t want to be on the receiving end of emotional blackmail and abuse at home. I’m happily choosing bachelorhood forever rather than risking having an abusive partner.
Indeed, studies indicate childhood parental abuse negatively impacts one’s ability to form meaningful romantic relationships in adulthood. Low self-esteem and an inability to trust seems to be a common denominator.
Niti Kalra confirms this saying, “My dad has always had rage issues. I was kicked and brutally hit while I was covering more than once. I cannot understand how a parent can do this to their daughter. Anyway, I took up a job in Kolkata and left home.
Sadly, the menace did not end there for Niti. “I moved in with my boyfriend who sympathised with me, but later turned out to be verbally and physically abusive.
I dealt with the abuse for a while hoping he would change, but returned home after a couple of years. “Initially my father was apologetic, but recently he was angered and hit me again. Now I don’t know what to think. Why do all the men in my life want to oppress and hit me?
What did I do to deserve this? How am I ever supposed to trust another man!
“I am seeing someone at present and things were never better. But I can’t shake the feeling that he’ll do the same to me”, she cries anxiously.
Clinically termed as Childhood emotional maltreatment, the impact of such abuse can be deep-seated and manifest in several ways.
CEM victims are at risk for overeating, depression and an inability to handle stress in addition to substance abuse. It has never been more important to rethink your parenting strategies for there is a fine line between sternly disciplining your children and scarring them for life.
#all respondent names have been changed to protect their privacy
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