Violence and M.E.
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women and having CFIDS/ME
makes you an ideal victim for those who are prepetrators of this form of
violence. Over 5.3 million women are abused annually and well over 1,000 are
killed each year by an intimate partner. Most of these victims are female.
Domestic violence occurs at every level of society.
Having any chronic illness can make someone a passive victim who is at high
risk of not having the strength to stand up for themselves when they're in a
relationship with a bully who is abusing their them. How, after all, can one
protest when one can barely make it out of bed? To make it worse, there is
still such ignorance about CFIDS/ME that the victim feels they may not be
believed. The more a patient is dependent upon another, the more they are found
to be at the mercy of behavior that begins with threats or psychological abuse
and builds to aggression. sexual abuse and other violence. It is not true that
bad relationships result in domestic violence. This misconception is a
dangerous one that minimizes the seriousness of the problem. It is the violent
individual that is the sole source and cause of the violence and should be held
responsible. Domestic violence is not any less lethal or any less serious than
street crimes or any other violence. Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive
and abusive control that one person exercises over another whether it is
physical, sexual, psychological or economic.
The isolation created by CFIDS/ME only contributes to the fertile ground
for the perpetrator of domestic violence and the control by the carer often
begins with disbelief of the illness, criticism of how one dresses, acts or
speaks and other acts to gain control. Accusations that one is using their
illness not to work or to avoid other responsibilities is common until what
remains of the patient's self esteem is worn away and the patient continues to
be punished for a disease they have have no control over. Unfortunately, these
abusive people seek out the weakened person. You've already been victimized by
a disease. Don't be a silent victim again!
Many of our members have been abused and there is no easy solution to this
problem. One member recently wrote, "Due to the help of women's support groups,
counseling and a knowledgeable lawyer, I got away from him, alive!" She had to
take the first step of ending the secrecy. If you are in this situation, make a
copy of telephone numbers and keep it in a place where you can access it when
you may be unable to think clearly. If you feel that your own life or any other
family member is under threat, do not hesitate to call 911.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is staffed at all times and provides
shelter, legal help and counseling. Crisis counseling is provided by many
groups including the National Organization for Victim Assistance. Violence in
the home is in epidemic proportions and is considered torture. Secrecy only
worsens the situation and encourages more abusive behavior. Begin by confiding
in someone. It may feel beyond your control because you have CFIDS/ME but taking
action could result, eventually, in not only saving your life but with you
feeling a bit better.
Nationaal Domestic Violence Hotline:
1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224
National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA))