Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

Hi Chomas,

So how many of you are aware of intimate partner violence?

Intimate partner violence is one of the most common forms of violence against women, but can easily be the most underrated because of how certain parts of society, religions and cultures have normalized the abuse and violence in relationships.

IPV refers to any behavior within an intimate relationship that causes physical, sexual, mental or emotional harm to the other partner in the relationship.

Let me give you a couple of scenarios or example:

  • You are or know of someone who says their boyfriend is very jealous and gets angry when they suspect they could be cheating on them? So, they either use insults, intimidation or slap them to display their anger.
  • He has beaten you up from time to time. After he acts violent, says it was a mistake and when you threaten to leave, he promises to change or get help and that usually doesn’t happen once you take him back!
  • He is quite controlling, monitors and restricts your movement or tends to withhold finances or affection to teach you a lesson
  • You or someone you know did not want to have sex with their partner at a particular time, but the partner insisted and continued without your/their permission. Most women are told that a man has a sexual right to you and your body in a relationship, whether you want to or not!

These are some of the examples of how intimate partner violence happens in relationships and it can have long-term effects psychologically on you or your children, in some instances lead to death where domestic violence or emotional abuse is concerned.

42% of South African girls and women as young as 13 to 24 years old, have been found to already be experiencing IPV in dating and their romantic relationships, which is a big concern.

What are some of the causes and factors that contribute to Intimate Partner Violence?

  • A young woman being involved with an older man, not being able to stand up against ill treatment.
  • Unemployed partners that depend on the male counterpart to provide financially.
  • Low level of education.
  • Acceptance of violence and exposure to other forms of prior abuse, by self or through parents.
  • On-going conflict in a relationship.
  • Men having multiple partners and dominance in those relationships.
  • A woman having higher level of education or better paying employment.
  • Families and society that normalize abuse.
  • Pressure on the female to stay in the relationship to keep a family together.

Why don’t women leave violent partners?

  • Lack of alternatives for financial support.
  • Fear of male partner reaction when leaving or threatening to leave the relationship.
  • Concern for their children’s upbringing.
  • Lack of support from family and friends.
  • Stigma or fear of losing custody of children associated with separation or divorce.
  • Hope that the partner will change.

What are the consequences of Intimate Partner Violence?

  • Mental health problems, such as stress-related conditions; depression; thoughts of suicide and attempted suicide; alcohol abuse; poor self-esteem; post-traumatic stress disorder; self-harm; eating and sleeping disorders.
  • Physical abnormalities, such as fractures; broken bones and teeth; head injuries; back and neck injuries; chronic pain syndrome; irritable bowel syndrome, etc.
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health consequences, such as unintended or unwanted pregnancies; sexual dysfunction; urinary tract infections; sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Violence during pregnancy, leading to miscarriages; stillbirths; low-weight babies; premature labour.
  • Death.

Current research shows that the impact of IPV continues long after the violence has stopped, thus showing that once the symptoms are known, a victim/survivor should find help to leave the relationship…it doesn’t get better, and THE PERSON DOESN’T CHANGE!

What are the best ways to respond to IPV?

  • Approach your nearest clinic. Do this at a clinic where the perpetrator doesn’t know local staff, most perpetrators want to keep tabs on who you talk to and what you’re saying so that they keep their secret and appear good in society. Tell a trusted nurse at the clinic and ask them to take record of evidence, such as bruises, cuts and broken bones. This is usually used as evidence against perpetrators.
  • Build an escape plan. How will you leave safely when he’s not around; who will assist you to leave, when can you go to the police at a convenient time, keep the evidence of the abuse for opening a case and present it to the police; make a plan for the children; don’t warn the perpetrator of this plan, failure to have family that can protect you, then ask for a place of safety from the police.
  • Get mental health counseling.
  • Don’t turn back from the plan, do not go back to the relationship.

Here are some resources to reach out to for IPV or any other GBV (Gender Based Violence):

  • GBVCC (Gender Based Violence Command Centre) – 0800 428 428
  • Please Call Me *120*7867#
  • Skype Line ‘Helpme GBV’ for members of the deaf community
  • SMS ‘Help’ to 31531 for persons with disabilities
  • SADAG (South African Depression and Anxiety Group) – 0800 567 567
  • Domestic Violence Hotline – 0800 150 150
  • Immediate Danger – 10111

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

Improving the relationship with your parents

Have you ever felt like there’s a something missing in your relationship with your parents? That no matter how to try to communicate or not communicate to keep the peace, it always ends up misunderstood by your mom, dad or guardian?

Believe or not, this is common in developing youth.

What is it about this age that makes a young person feel so emotional and misunderstood?

Remember that you’re going through a lot of changes, here are some:

  • You’re building your self-identity and your guardian might not necessarily agree with who you’re developing into
  • Your mental capacity is growing, which means your thinking about certain issues might start changing and you might start questioning things that you initially just did or followed
  • Your emotions are affected by what you think and therefor what you’re feeling, which might make you more emotional than usual, making you seem angry, argumentative or disobedient
  • Your body is developing and the changes may cause you to want more privacy for example, and if that privacy is not respected, you might be upset and seem to be unreasonable because not so long ago, you didn’t need such space…might even make it look like you’re hiding something or do not trust them
  • Your social development is also a concern for guardians because you might lean towards being with your friends or other external people more often than usual, which in their perspective exposes you to wrong decision making or even danger

All these changes can be very confusing for the family, especially your parent or guardian because they still regard you as their child. Keeping up with developments is hard because they also start feeling pushed away and isolated from your space…to a point where they might feel that they are losing you.

Parents do tend to base their advise and nurturing of their children on their life experiences and it also comes from a place of fear because they are constantly trying to protect you from the world and that may seem to a young person like a violation of space or even disregard of their feelings. This ofcourse only applies to healthy parents, which means that in this example, there is no sexual or other kind of physical or mental abuse on their children.

How does a young person then improve their relationship with their parents?

  • Try to improve communication by not only speaking when you’re upset but by also stating when your guardian is right and making light conversations. Don’t always communicate only when there’s serios issues to discuss. Remember that adults may find it hard having difficult conversations too.
  • Ask your guardian to do activities with you, example, take a walk together; wash dishes together while talking about your day or theirs; ask to help them out with their chores and make it fun (you might know what makes them smile); watch a tv program you can both watch.
  • When given instructions on chores, try to do them before the set time because this might help you to avoid making them upset when they find that the chore they’ve asked you to do hasn’t been done and you can avoid them having to remind you about it…builds trust from on their side when they see this independence
  • When you feel emotional or upset, try to calm down before you speak to them, to avoid it getting out of control because they might be upset too
  • Remember that some guardians have also gone through abuse or painful childhoods and never healed from it, that could also cause them to be emotionally vulnerable when dealing with you

Note that this does not in any way mean that it is your responsibility alone to make this relationship work, it takes both parties to make it work. However, it is important to remember that you have a part to play and that like any other relationship, both parties need to have mutual respect; consideration and empathy (we can only imagine what someone else is going through, even if we don’t know how difficult or easy it could be to them).

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me on Facebook Message,  Instagram message Twitter DM, or WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)

Why am I obsessed with this person?

Being young and in love can be exciting, just a rollercoaster of emotions so it’s not surprising to find yourself completely consumed by thoughts of your partner. Whether it’s your first crush or a long-term partner, the intensity of emotions can sometimes border on obsession. But why does this happen? And more importantly, how can you ensure your relationships stay healthy and balanced?

 

The Science Behind Obsession

When you’re in love with someone, your brain releases a flood of chemicals. These chemicals create a euphoric(joyful) feeling, making you feel like you’re on cloud nine whenever you’re with your partner. This rush of excitement can easily tip over into obsession if not kept in check.

 

Why Obsession Isn’t Healthy

Obsession in relationships can lead to a few problems. It might cause you to neglect other areas of your life, like schoolwork, friendships, or personal hobbies. Constantly thinking about your partner can also create unrealistic expectations and put unnecessary pressure on the relationship. Plus, if the other person doesn’t reciprocate your level of intensity, it can lead to feelings of rejection and heartache.

 

Cultivating Healthy Relationships

So, how can you ensure your relationships stay healthy and balanced? Here are a few tips:

 

Maintain Independence:  While it’s natural to want to spend a lot of time with your partner, it’s important to maintain your individuality. Make sure you’re still pursuing your own interests and spending time with friends and family outside of your relationship.

 

Communication is Key: Open and honest communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your feelings or your partner’s behavior, don’t be afraid to talk about it. Addressing issues early can prevent them from becoming bigger problems down the road.

 

Set Boundaries: Creating boundaries is important for maintaining a healthy balance in your relationship. Make sure both you and your partner are comfortable with the amount of time you spend together and the level of intimacy you share. Respect each other’s personal space and individuality.

 

Focus on Self-Growth: Instead of pouring all your energy into your relationship, take some time to focus on your own personal growth and development. Pursue your passions, set goals for yourself, and work on becoming the best version of yourself.

 

Seek Support if Needed: If you find that you’re struggling to break free from obsessive thoughts or behaviors, don’t hesitate to seek support from a trusted adult, such as a parent, teacher, or counselor. They can offer guidance and support to help you navigate your feelings in a healthy way.

 

Obsession in relationships is a common experience, especially during your teenage years. But it’s important to recognize when these feelings are becoming unhealthy and take steps to cultivate a balanced and fulfilling relationship.

 

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, an  Instagram message, a  Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)

Let’s Talk About: Home remedies for terminating pregnancy.

Hey Chomas,

So, I’ve been getting a lot of questions around home remedies for terminating pregnancy (Abortion), especially on “does coke and disprin work for abortion”?

This is only one of the home remedies that young women have used to get rid of pregnancy and your Choma is here to get real with you about that!

Well… disprin for one is an aspirin, an over-the-counter medication which is usually taken for mild to moderate pain such as headaches, nerve pain and to also treat fever associated with colds and flu.

A person who’s pregnant is not advised to take anything more than a necessary panado, as it is risky to the pregnant woman and her baby.

What does a home remedy like disprin do to a pregnant woman, her fetus or unborn baby?

It induces the pregnancy…inducing means using a strategy to start a process of labour. So, that will basically cause the fetus or baby to ‘escape the womb’. Inducing labour is only supposed to be done by a health professional (doctor) as there is a risk to the unborn baby or mother or if at due time of labour, the baby needs to come out to stop it from losing its life. These safe strategies conducted by a doctor are proven methods which ensure that the mother and baby remain safe.

So, what is this big risk about inducing pregnancy with things like disprin?

It will not only induce the pregnancy but will cause a life threat to the pregnant mother. What will happen is that you can experience what is called a partial miscarriage or incomplete abortion, which means some fetal tissue will still be left in the womb of the woman (also known as kobo in Sesotho)…this can be fatal, meaning cause death, for the woman because of the unusual bleeding or high infection due to the fetal tissue. This can only be treated medically.

A high dosage of disprin may also cause liver or kidney disorders, even affect the gastrointestinal tract (a pathway where food enters and solid waste is released). In short Chomas, disprin and coke are NOT safe pregnancy termination methods.

Tip: Rather rely on contraceptives to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Use methods such as PrEP to prevent HIV and make sure you learn about your sexual health, so that you keep your body healthy and make better life choices.

Still got questions, feel free to send me a message.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, an  Instagram message, a  Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)

Relationship Trauma: When Love Leaves Scars

Realizing that you’re in a toxic relationship can be hard to notice in the beginning but by the time you see that you might have not been in the best space, ending the relationship is just one step into the healing process. Toxic relationships can be traumatic which can provoke feelings of anger and shame.

Do you think you might be experiencing relationship trauma, here are a few things to look out for.

Flashbacks

When you start having flashbacks of certain events of the past relationship, these are intrusive thoughts related to the traumatic situation. They can be stressful and cause you to feel as if you’re reliving the event.

Avoidant

You may experience intense fear in the relationship where you become avoidant of your own wants and needs.

Guilt and shame

You might feel feelings of guilt and shame which can make you feel isolated from others. This might make it a bit difficult to form meaningful relationships which can lead to trust issues.

Nightmares

You may struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep. You may also experience

 frightening or disturbing dreams related to the relationship.

When you have been in a traumatic relationship you may find it difficult to establish meaningful relationships. They may seem complicated because of your previous situation, and you may find yourself having trust issues.

Even though it might be a journey, remember that healing is possible through self-care, support, and professional help. You deserve to be in a healthy relationship that empowers you, so don’t blame yourself for the abuse, Choma. Remember, that you can always get immediate assistance and counselling from the Tears Foundation, by dialling *134*7355#.

Remember if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

Restoring Your Power In Love

Healthy relationships provide a balance of power, where both partners are able to contribute differently and equally. However, in some relationships, there’s an imbalance of power, where one person is not given the opportunity to contribute equally to even the most important decisions affecting the relationship. If you find yourself feeling powerless in your relationship, here’s how you can reclaim your power.

Be honest

It’s important to do an audit of your relationships. This doesn’t suggest being harsh on your partner, but rather thinking about the relationship from its inception to the present. Consider the most important decisions and who typically makes them. If you don’t participate in decision-making in your relationships, consider why and how it affects you.

Define boundaries

After you’ve audited your relationship, consider whether boundaries were crossed and how you felt as a result. For example, if you believe your partner does not take your values or worries seriously, or they disregard your need for space, you should make a note of it so that you may address it. You might first put out your boundaries and needs so that you are clear on them.

Communicate boundaries

You’ll need to communicate your personal boundaries to your partner once you’ve defined them. Have a conversation with them in which you communicate your worries and establish new relationship limits that include your personal ones. Feel free to emphasise why these boundaries should be followed and what would happen if they are not.

Invest in yourself

Choma, the most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself. That is why, before attempting to impress others, you must invest time, effort, and energy in your own well-being, goals, and health. Investing in yourself means prioritizing your schooling, work, aspirations, and happiness over any romantic connection. Before putting effort into your partner or the relationship, take the time to understand who you are and what your dreams are. It’s self-love, not selfishness.

Time to let go

If you’ve spoken to your partner and taken the steps above to try and reclaim your power, but your partner isn’t willing to respect your needs, it may be time to consider whether staying in the relationship is worth it. Letting go of a relationship doesn’t mean you’ve failed; it just means you love yourself enough to let go of things that don’t bring you happiness.

Remember if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

Tips: How To Have A Healthy Friendship In School

Let’s discuss wholesome friendships! We want to have the resources we need to succeed as we mature and advance from one grade to the next, including a supportive social environment. Creating healthy friendships is as important as taking care of a plant because of the drama at school, changing hormones, and conflicting expectations. Here are a few tips for creating a strong friendship:

Find fertile soil.

A friend should be someone you actively seek out in order to enhance your life. In this area, you and your friend will be supporting one another.

Add sunlight.