In recent months, there have been several cases of young women in live-in relationships who their partners have brutally killed. Reading about young urban women in live-in relationships who have faced such brutality from their partners is tragic and deeply concerning. The loss of life due to such violence is heartbreaking, and its impact on society is immense.
I have wondered why leaving an abusive relationship was difficult for these women. They were all educated, independent, and financially secure; why did they continue to suffer? Why didn’t they come out of abusive relationships? Why didn’t they pay heed to signs of abuse and mistreatment? After all, strict marriage traditions or societal ethics and values systems didn’t bind these women to their partners.
However, these young women’s tragic deaths are a stark reminder that intimate partner violence is a serious issue affecting many educated and financially independent women. Probably, partner violence doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t see the class, religion, education or financial status of women.
Understanding the conditions that make women vulnerable to abuse and violence is crucial in addressing the issue of partner violence. To effectively address these issues, we need to broaden our approach to women’s empowerment. Women’s empowerment is an ongoing and evolving process focussing primarily on economic empowerment, education, and health. While these areas are essential, more is needed to address women’s complex and multifaceted challenges.
One key area of focus currently receiving limited attention is the emotional empowerment of women. Emotional empowerment increases women’s ability to identify, express, and regulate emotions effectively. This involves gaining confidence in one’s emotional intelligence, learning healthy coping strategies, and developing a positive self-image.
Emotional independence is a critical component of emotional empowerment. It involves developing a sense of self-worth and emotional well-being that is not dependent on a man or a romantic relationship. It is important for women to understand that there is a life beyond their relationships with men. While romantic relationships can be an important part of their lives, men should not be their sole focus or purpose. Women must understand that they are complete human beings and deserve respect and dignity, regardless of their relationship status.
Novels and movies portray romantic relationships in a highly idealized and exaggerated way, which can create unrealistic expectations for real-life romance. It’s important to remember that the stories we see in novels and movies provide entertainment and escapism. While they can be enjoyable to read or watch, they are not necessarily accurate reflections of real life or love. However, in real life, if a relationship is consistently causing one or both partners to feel unhappy, disrespected, or unsafe, it may be time to consider ending it. Ending a relationship can be difficult, but it’s essential to prioritize one’s well-being and safety.
If one is in a situation where one feels the need to leave a relationship, it’s important to have a plan. Women should pursue their interests, goals, and passions and develop a sense of independence and self-reliance. This can involve building a supportive network of friends and family, pursuing hobbies, or engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfilment, independent of men. They should engage in practices that can help build emotional resilience and coping skills to help them navigate difficult situations and emotions.
Supporting women to build their emotional capacities will help them better navigate and cope with relationship challenges, including stress, conflict, and setbacks. Building a positive self-image is essential, which involves recognizing and celebrating their strengths and accomplishments. Further, emotionally strong and independent women will build stronger and healthier relationships with others, including their family, friends, and colleagues.
In addition, emotional empowerment is also crucial in preventing and addressing partner violence. Emotionally empowered women are better equipped to recognize and respond to the signs of abuse. They are also more likely to take greater responsibility for their lives and seek resources and support to leave an abusive relationship or set boundaries to protect themselves from further harm.
Finally, we must acknowledge that ending intimate partner violence requires a collective effort. We need
to provide adequate support and resources to survivors. This includes providing safe spaces, access to counselling and legal aid, and creating social awareness campaigns to address the issue of partner violence. We must also hold perpetrators accountable for their actions and educate them and society on healthy relationship dynamics and respect for women’s rights.