Reflecting on the latest awareness campaign #thisisabuse by DFWAC, some of its causes and how to cope.
“So, you finally got pregnant after so many years of marriage!”, he said in a demeaning tone. And I was mortified. I had only met him twice before, yet this man had the audacity to openly comment on a very personal decision that I took with my husband. I was surprised that he even calculated how long I’ve been married for.
I never saw this comment coming, but the bitterness it left in me started a domino effect of other hurtful memories.
“Not married yet?” asked a curious auntie at a wedding when I was only 25.
“Any babies on the way?” asked a colleague one week after I returned to work from my honeymoon.
“You should get pregnant fast otherwise your husband will start looking elsewhere”, said another spiteful divorcee.
And the prize for silliest comment went to an acquaintance who curiously asked: “Since you’re getting married in your 30’s, is the groom old or divorced?”. Incredible!
Such people angered me for openly commenting on a personal situation with no prior knowledge or consideration. What gave them the right to pass insensitive comments about other people’s private matters?
The times when I chose to discuss this issue, I was often told to develop a thick skin and laugh it off. But something in me always knew that this behavior was wrong, and I hated that society was normalizing it.
However, over the years, I came to a realization and understanding. This was a form of abuse that does not leave bruises on the body, but its wounds run deeper and leave psychological damages. This is why I am so touched by the latest campaign titled #thisisabuse by the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC) which sheds light on this behavior.
Let’s call this what it really is: emotional abuse.
For too long, society has normalized this behavior and still does. Some verbal abusers seem to be oblivious to the consequences of their toxic Tongue-Fu. But regardless of the societal condonation or personal oblivion, this is abuse. We must call it what it is, and challenge ourselves to rise above it. As individuals, we must look deep inside our souls to see through what might make us throw daggers of harsh words at others. Could this be a mechanism that we use to mask our deeply rooted insecurities? Do we do this because we want to distract others from noticing our own shortcomings?
Recently, I watched an interview with Dr. Sumayah AlNasser (a life and awareness coach) who spoke about this topic. According to Dr. AlNasser, this form of abuse is linked to manners and it is saddening that civilized societies allow the conscious abusers to prey on the weak and to pass any comment or question without considering the consequences. She recommended that when faced with such situations, it is best to immediately put an end to it by answering back: “What’s it to you?” This reply will eventually stop the abuser from such behavior.
Thank you DFWAC for shedding light on this issue. It’s time for society to hold these abusers morally responsible for their actions. It’s time for them to realize that it’s not okay to pass hurtful comments that have crossed that fine line of privacy. It’s also time for those affected to answer back: “What’s it to you?”
For more posts by DFWAC on #ThisIsAbuse campaign, click below.
Shurooq, an Emarati from Dubai, has been on a journey of self-discovery ever since she shifted career from Science to humanitarian where she found joy. Her interests include traveling and foreign films. Shurooq’s column is influenced by those distinctive moments that give a deeper perspective on life.
Latest posts by Shurooq AlBanna (@Shuroooq) (see all)
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