Just a heads up about this post: My post will be talking only about women abuse because I believe this subject alone is very long and my text would be too exhausting if I included child and elder abuse as well. However, I do know that are children and elder abuse (which are extremely important to us) and I have read about those too!
In Brazil, one of three women has suffered some kind of violence in 2016. Every hour, over 500 women are submitted to physical aggression. Most of these women do not report the aggression. Studies estimate that around 52% of the victims remain in silence and only 11% search for authorities help. In most cases, the aggressor is a close person (over 60% of the time). (Exame, 2016).
Brazil also holds alarming numbers in terms of sexual harassment. About 40% of all women over 16 years of age have suffered it, by disrespectful talking from men or physical attempts. This means, over 20 million Brazilian women being harassed per year. These numbers are only estimated data. In real life, they are probably even worst (Exame, 2016).
Yes, I have suffered abuse in my life, and I am only 23 years old. I am pretty sure that most of my women colleagues at uni have been abused in some way (physically and/or verbally) during their lives as well. In my opinion, there are two saddest things about this: 1) most people think it is normal. It is normal to go out on the street and a guy calls you names or tells you “”””compliments”””. It is normal to be in at least one abusive relationship during your life. It is normal to have sexual intimacy with your boyfriend/husband even when you do not want to do so, but just because he has insisted. 2) Most men think (and sadly most of them also say it out loud) that women are “playing the victim”. “Girls enjoy when guys call them ‘hot’ or ‘pretty’ on the streets”. “Your boyfriend treats you like you are nothing because you let him do it”. “If you do not want to be raped, do not go out wearing short clothes”. That is what we hear every time we say anything about women abuse.
During our last semester of uni, at UFMG, we have a clinical placement at small health centres located in neighbourhoods of our city. We have friends that have graduated recently, so they have passed for a few of these centres. All of them report have treated women that were living under abuse – sexual, emotional and psychological. Even though we are living this reality in our own lives in an “easier” level, we will also be in touch with people that are living with the hardest that it can get in terms of abuse. Therefore, it is extremely important that we learn how to recognise this type of situation, what can we do to help our patients, how to be empathetic with those who are living under these circumstances.
The hardest part, in my opinion, handling with women that are being abused is to understand that we cannot get them out of the situation. We can always listen, advise, encourage them to look for legal protection… But we cannot get them out. This has to be their decision, and they need to take the control at some point. So, once again, we need to understand our limitations.
Our Semanal reading was very helpful for me to know better how to approach those women that are living under abuse that I will be treating (or not) in the future. Even though what we can do on this cases may be seen little, it actually may be highly helpful for our patients. Knowing what we SHOULD NEVER say is also fundamental, once we absolutely do not want to make a bad situation even worse.
Exame (2017). Os números da violência contra mulheres no Brasil. Exame.com. Retrieved in 29/04/17, from http://exame.abril.com.br/brasil/os-numeros-da-violencia-contra-mulheres-no-brasil/
Post by Danielle Aquino Silva.