In my line of work, I am often asked: “How do you cope?”. My answer is: “With empathy.”
Handing GBV (Gender based violence) survivors is both an art and a science. GBV is an umbrella term used for all acts of violence occurring on the basis of gender and contrary to popular belief the victims are not only women.
Jamila came to me a couple of weeks ago her in-laws had not only been abusing her physically but were sexually harassing her.
Once she knew that my examining her would result in the involvement of the police, she refused all medical help and counseling. She is not a survivor yet, but a victim! A victim is a person who considers him/herselfhelpless and unable to take control (even to a minimal extent) of the situation.
It is my job to help victims come forward take charge and become survivors. My cases do not make for a happy Sunday read because I deal with the darkest aspects of human nature and any attempt to help is not easy given our legal and cultural complexities.
Violence Against women (VAW) is something that I am yet to come to terms with. Being fortunate enough to have family and friend who do not believe in violence, I have tried to understand what motivates someone to hurt another person who is usually physically weaker. In my view it, comes down to a desperate need to control, and experience has taught me that the propensity to violence start at a young age.
Children who are abused physically are more likely to resort to violence in their adult life. This sets up a vicious cycle.
Violence begest violence. We need to break the chain.
By Dr Summaiya Syed-Tariq. The writer is a certified UNFPA trainer for handing GBV survivors and works at the police surgeon office, Karachi.