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Tina’s Story: Confronting Domestic Violence

11 Nov 2018

5 October 2018 – In conjunction with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, IMU Psychology Club organised Tina’s Story: Confronting Domestic Violence, a domestic violence stage play and talk. This event was held on 5 October 2018, from 12:45 pm to 2:30 pm at IMU’s auditorium and saw around 90 participants. Tina’s Story: Confronting Domestic Violence consisted of a stage play presented by a group of talented psychology students and a domestic violence talk conducted by Women’s Aid Organization (WOA). It was an honour to welcome Jaskirath Kaur Sohanpal, Community Engagement Officer at WAO and Sunthari, a domestic violence survivor, speaker and volunteer at WOA as guest speakers of the day. The objective of this event was to raise awareness on the types of domestic violence, the cycle and psychological trauma of abuse, the healing process, signs of abuse, the legal and help services offered by Women’s Aid Organization. Also, to shed light on rising stigma with regards to victims seeking mental help and the reality of domestic violence victims. Highlights

Tina’s Story: Confronting Domestic Violence – Stage Play
Tina’s Story was presented by a group of very talented IMU psychology students from batch PS217. The script of this play was inspired by and based on a true story of a domestic violence survivor who shared her story anonymously. Tina’s story was a 25-minute stage play about a woman’s pursuit of freedom after being sexually abused by her uncle during childhood and whilst facing constant physical and emotional abuse by her husband. This play excellently portrayed many aspects such as different types of abuse, the cycle of abuse, psychological trauma of abuse, self-harm, stigma, help seeking and finally, the healing process. It was orchestrated beautifully with many realistic, emotional and sentimental elements that undoubtedly gave some participants a heartfelt and tear jerking experience.
A Survivor’s Story
Another highlight of the day was the speech delivered by survivor and former domestic violence victim of 20 years, Sunthari. She shared that she stayed on with her abusive husband for the sake of her children, hoping that one day he will change his ways. “They never change, and neither is it your job to change them” said Sunthari as she emphasized on the fact that abuse is an unbreakable cycle that continues on despite the amount of patience, kindness and tolerance that a victim may have for her perpetrator. Sunthari shared the story of her agony and how she was violently beaten by her husband, restricted from getting an education or a job and verbally abused. In her speech, she also spoke of learned helplessness and how a woman loses basic rights as well as her own voice due to abuse. “Over the years of being beaten and pushed to the floor, I had come to learn that the floor was the safest place to be. I learned to never get up, resist or fight” she added. However, she claimed to have followed a small inner voice that told her to keep fighting. Despite being in a household with an abusive husband, she managed to get a First Class Honours degree in counselling and secured herself a job. “He hated to see me study or go to work, he would stalk me and I have been beaten even at my university” she explained. Sunthari also spoke about her leap of faith which was to call the WAO Helpline and how that one particular step helped her to finally leave her abusive husband in order to save the lives of her children as well as her own. Sunthari is now a counsellor, teacher, motivational speaker and an active volunteer at WAO, a person truly passionate about empowering abuse victims all over the country. Her story left the audience awestruck. Sunthari ended her speech by assuring everyone that domestic violence can be stopped if proper actions were taken courageously.
Domestic Violence Talk by WAO
Jaskirath Kaur, Community Engagement Officer from WAO talked about various interventions and help services offered by WAO such as the WAO Helpline and WAO community workshops. She also presented 4 important ways future healthcare professionals can directly help victims: Provide immediate support by referring to help without delay, identify signs of abuse, follow standard operating procedures suggested by WAO and finally, refer to promotional posters and recommendations that are directed towards resources of help. Jaskirath ended her segment by providing information of help resources that are accessible to abuse victims such as the WOA Helpline number, WAO address and other channels that can be utilised to seek help.

Finally, a closing speech by event president, Kiranjeet Kaur. “You cannot label abuse, it does not have a face” she quoted, to let everyone know that violence can happen to everyone and that its severity should never be undermined.

This awe inspiring event ended with an engaging Question and Answer session. Participants asked insightful questions and greatly benefited from the speakers’ informative answers. Tina’s Story: Confronting Domestic Violence was an event filled with heart touching stories, undeniable awareness and deep-seated empowerment.

It was indeed a privilege and an honour for IMU Psychology Club to work together with Women’s Aid Organization (WAO) on such an impactful event as we aspire to further strengthen our relationship in the hopes of raising awareness within the society about domestic violence.

Written by Juanita Megan, Public Relation Representative, IMU Psychology Club.

In the News Ending Domestic Violence (New Straits Times, 13 November 2018)

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