Thursday, October 9, 2014

You Do Not Own Human Beings

Throughout our lives our basic human nature is to try and control things. We want to control our diet, our minds, our assets, etc. Sometimes we start to want to control other people. We want some sense of right over another person's free will. We want to tell them how to think, how to act, how to live, what to do, when to do it, etc.

Sadly sometimes we use undesirable methods to try and control others. Things like:
  1. Emotional blackmail
  2. Passive Aggressiveness
  3. Seemingly innocuous verbal statements (similar to "you don't need friends like that")
  4. Using money to control
  5. Increasingly aggressive physical restraining
  6. Coercion
  7. Rape
  8. and finally.....physical abuse 

Abuse is always about control. Not everyone turns into an abuser or even becomes an abuser. We all at some point in time engage in some form of abusive behavior. What makes the difference is whether or not you realize it, stop the behavior and make amends BEFORE it progresses beyond just word choices (step 3).

Unfortunately, even in the most tame mind, we often feel like things need to be extreme to qualify as abuse. From years of desensitization caused by watching movies and TV we begin to think that unless someone has bruises, they're not really being abused. Even then, one bruise is rarely enough to trigger our belief that the person is in danger.

Every living being - humans, animals, pets - has it's own thoughts, ideas, feelings, etc. It is very difficult for us to just let them be who/what they are but we have to. Just as you can't force a cat to snuggle up with you or a dog not to bark, it is wrong to try and force another human being to submit to your will.

No, it's not wrong to gently move a clawing cat from the corner of your sofa. That's not the same thing. It's also not wrong to communicate in a gentle, threat-free manner to another human being your stance on an emotional or controversial issue. But aggressively and repeatedly pushing your views onto others can quickly and easily lead you into an abusive role.

Just as you do not own another human being, you cannot be owned. If someone in your life is becoming increasingly controlling, do not let it go. Try to talk to the person first (if you feel it is safe to do so). If talking doesn't work, seek the help of a counselor. If things still are not getting better or if they begin to get worse when you start to stand up for yourself, then it is essential you try to break away from the situation.

There is NO harm in taking a break from any relationship. A break is not a divorce. It's more like a time out. Work on making yourself stronger and look for ways to encourage the controller to understand how their words and actions affect you. Work on a plan for the future so that the behavior doesn't continue.

If at any point in time the control begins to turn to abuse - GET OUT OF THE RELATIONSHIP! Seek a permanent relief from the situation. Go somewhere that you will be safe and will have (or can easily find) support. Do not try to end the relationship alone. You may have felt safe before the abuse but that does not guarantee your safety once you leave. You are your own first priority. If children are involved, they share that same space, they are first priority as well.

For help if you live in the U.S.

The Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Campaign
Verizon Wireless Hope Line
Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men & Women  or their phone 1-888-7HELPLINE
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence  1-303-839-1852 or 1-303-839-1681
The National Center for Victims of Crime
National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) - TTY 1-800-787-3224
Rape, Abuse and Incest Network (RAINN) 1-800-656-HOPE
Family Violence Prevention Fund 415-252-8900 - TTY:800-595-4889
Safe Horizons Crime Victims HOTLINE: 1-800-621-4673
Safe Horizons Rape and Sexual Assult & Incest HOTLINE: 212-227-3000
Safe Horizons TYY (for all HOTLINES) 1-866-604-5350
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence 1-800-537-2238
Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence 1-800-313-1310
Battered Womens Justice Project 1-800-903-0111, extension 1
Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Child Protection and Custody 1-800-527-3223
National Network to End Domestic Violence
National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women
Sakhi for South Asian Women (NY Based)
Narika (for South Asian women)- 1-800-215-7308
No More

Resources if you live in India 


Punjab Police Amritsar City Women & Child Hotline 
Women's Support Organizations: Punjab

All India and Other Cities:

Save Indian Family Foundation
Sakshi, Delhi91-11-24621743 , 91-9811233595
Women's Rights Initiative  - Delhi +91-11-46805555 -- Mumbai +91-22-43411600
Majlis Bombay  -
Swadhar (Mumbai based)
Swadhar IDWC Pune - 020 2453 3452
Vimochana Main Website (suspended) Alternate Site 
Anweshi based in Kerala 0091-495-2744370 or 2744128
Sachetna (Kolkata) 91-33-24634485
Socio-Legal Aid Research and Training Center - 91-33-2464 6098 / 5430
Swayam (Kolkata) - 033-2803429 
Safe Delhi (focuses on sexual harassment) - 91 11 2669 1219 or91 11 2669 1220
Jagori (see link, this group has multiple initiatives in many cities)


  1. Alexandra MadhavanOctober 9, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    I am really enjoying this series on domestic violence and I think it will help so many people. I know so many girls who face abuse in the relationships and don't even realize it. A big one is financial control - husbands will tell their wives not to work or keep finances secret and give them an allowance, thus limiting what they can do. Another is constantly belittling them. Money is a HUGE one though.

  2. It is so heartbreaking that you and so many women / man go through this time and time again. It is also empowering and inspiring that you were able to get out and use such a public forum to bring awareness to such a horrible situation. I commend you for getting out and for putting these story and resources together so victims know that there are not alone and that there are options available to them. God bless you and also bless and give strength to those that are trying to get out of any type of abuse.

    Millie B