Saudi Arabia: Jazan battered woman details her ordeal

Abu Dhabi: A battered Saudi young woman, known as Jazan domestic violence victim, has revealed the details of her physical and verbal abuse by her father.

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Ibtihaj told the Ya Hala show on the Rotana Khaleejia TV her father began abusing her at the age of eight, indicating that she was always trying to tell her mother what was happening.

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She said that her father’s strikes were always focused on the head area to hide evidence, as he did on a daily basis, and in the presence of family members including her grandmother.

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Ibtihaj confirmed that no one was interfering to rescue her.

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Lawyer Sheikha Al Balawi said Ibtihaj’s father faces a jail term of between one month and a year, in addition to a fine of not less than 5,000 but not more than 50,000 riyals.

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Domestic violence cases are a public issue in the country with some husbands and brothers beating their wives and sisters, humiliating them, locking them inside rooms, usurping their legitimate rights, taking away salaries and neglecting children, according to court records.

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Serious, long-term domestic abuse can result in a mental disorder called battered woman syndrome. Battered woman syndrome, which is also sometimes called battered wife syndrome, is considered a subcategory of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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With battered woman syndrome, a woman may develop a learned helplessness that causes her to believe she deserves the abuse and that she can’t get away from it. In many cases, it’s why women don’t report their abuse to police or avoid telling friends and family what’s really going on.

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Battered woman syndrome is taken into account in homicide cases when women murder their abusive partners.

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Stages

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There are four stages that women who develop battered woman syndrome typically go through:

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Denial: The woman is unable to accept that she’s being abused, or she justifies it as “just being that once.”

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Guilt: She believes she has caused the abuse.

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Enlightenment: In this phase, she realizes that she didn’t deserve the abuse and acknowledges that her partner has an abusive personality.

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Responsibility: She accepts that only the abuser holds responsibility. In many cases, this is when she’ll try to escape the relationship.

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Some women in abusive relationships never make it past the first 2 or 3 stages, as domestic violence can be fatal.

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