“I wonder why we take from our women
Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
I think it’s time to kill for our women
Time to heal our women, be real to our women
And if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies
That will hate the ladies that make the babies”
-Tupac, Keep Ya Head Up, 1993
The inspiration for this post came from meeting an unfortunate woman today whose story made my blood boil. It reminded me my own abuse experience and the experiences of so many women I’ve met. It is my duty to create awareness so that others don’t have to experience what we have gone through..
Anyone who comes from vulnerable circumstances (ie: broken, unstable or neglectful families, trauma and/or exploitation) is, unfortunately, at risk for exploitation. Almost all prostitutes come from difficult circumstances. These circumstances are the prime “push” factor that push us towards sex work. And sadly, these life experiences can also make us targets for predators. For me, I was lucky that I developed ‘thick skin’ from a young age and learnt to be resilient to indecent men. I previously had long term relationships with kind and caring men, and therefore I felt I had a good sense of judgement on others. But unfortunately, I was not immune and ended up in an abusive relationship which broke off early last year. In the aftermath, I asked many questions about how I allowed such a hostile person into my life. What made me overlook all the red flags? I had such strict standards for myself, how did I allow myself to settle for such horrible treatment? I realized that I was vulnerable, and I was exploited for it. I mistakenly thought that I was not vulnerable because I was strong minded and my own boss. The truth is: women are less safe when their only defender is themselves. In fact, anyone is less safe when they are left to fend for themselves, because humans by nature are meant to be social. An animal wandering off alone in the woods is at more risk of being attacked than one who wanders with their flock. The purpose of this post is to create awareness, which can help other women protect themselves and be more vigilant about who they let into their lives.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a feminist. I would never endorse the idea that ALL men are bad. Good men do exist indeed. But women need to be warned about the increasing phenomenon of certain men who’s intent is to harm and exploit women. For instance, there are popular men groups on the internet that discuss tactics of using women for the sole purpose of sex. In an age of internet anonymity and the breakdown of strong communities, it is easier for predators to exploit the vulnerable and not face any backlash.
Who is a Coward?
To exploit or harm another person is severe enough, but to harm or exploit a person in a vulnerable position makes one an utmost COWARD. A vulnerable person is one who has weak or little support from family and the wider society, and/or they are too young or physically weak to defend themselves. Vulnerability doe NOT mean one is weak-minded or submissive. I consider myself very strong and resilient, yet I was vulnerable in the sense that I only had myself to rely on for everything.
Cowardly abusers exploit for the very fact that their victims have no protectors. In other words, this kind of abuser likely won‘t dare to harm a woman who has a strong kin, because a strong kin would mean a Father, Uncles and Brothers would take justice if anyone tried to harm their womenfolk. In my experience, my abuser harmed me because he knew he would face no backlash from any male family members or any community. He wouldn’t do the same to a woman with a strong family backing, because he would be worried about ruining his public image. A great way to determine ones true character is to see how they treat others behind closed doors — a lot of people who appear “nice” in public can behave indecently in private (where they can’t get caught).
As my blog has highlighted in recent posts, I was in an abusive relationship. Even after an abusive relationship ends, the psychological effects of abuse linger. The following website quotes the experience of the aftermath of abuse:
“Even after leaving the relationship, women described experiencing panic attacks, had flashbacks or nightmares, self-harmed, and suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome. This could make it difficult to socialise or trust other people.”
-Read more: (http://www.healthtalk.org/peoples-experiences/domestic-violence-abuse/womens-experiences-domestic-violence-and-abuse/impact-domestic-violence-and-abuse-womens-mental-health#ixzz5mxgxhcbU )
After my experience, I came to realize that what happened to me is becoming common. Indeed there are people who simply make mistakes, feel remorse and actively change. But in some cases, including my own, there are people who can destroy or attempt to destroy the well being of others and have absolutely zero guilt or remorse.
Since my experience, I have crossed paths with other women whom also were exploited and abused by partners. As I came to know their stories, I realized that these women and myself lacked awareness of what healthy love meant. Our crime was having an open heart. I fear for any woman to experience what these women and I experienced, so it is my duty to warn others. I have seen suicide and lives ruined from abuse and exploitation that happens in the name of fraudulent love.
Today, my heart broke again and I was fuming with anger after I met a woman who has recently been separated from an abusive partner. I went to the masjid (an Islamic place of worship) and I reunited with Samia, a woman I hadn’t seen in nearly 6 years. In those 6 years, she had two beautiful children. The last time I saw her, she was optimistic, fresh-faced, hard-working at a great job and freshly converted to Islam. She is now divorced, on welfare, and emotionally destroyed from an abusive, garbage-excuse-of-a-human husband. Her eyes were swollen (likely from endless tears). I recognized those lost, sullen, terrified eyes that reminded me of the heart-broken women I met when I used to work in a brothel. When she told me her story, I realized her ex-husband was very similar to my abusive ex. A narcissistic abuser — used the same tactics of lovebombing, devaluation, psychological manipulation, and discard. And then she told me her story: she grew up in a broken home, an absent Father and emotionally absent family. As result, she grew up with a big heart yearning for love. She was exploited for her vulnerability. Her story is one that I see time and time again —- a vulnerable woman who just wants to be loved and feel secure (and sadly, she attracted a predator who exploited her loving heart).
Why is it that vulnerable women (or vulnerable people, in general) crave for love and belonging? That is because it’s a core basic need of the human condition. According to the renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow, a human must have their basic needs (see the diagram above) met before they can pursue their full-potential. After our physiological needs for food, water and sleep, a human needs to feel they belong to a group and feel loved and secure. When the basic need of wholesome love and belonging is not met, depression and despair is inevitable. As a result, many will resort to drugs and other vices to cope with this despair.
The good news is that difficult circumstances and experiences can be healed and mended. It takes a lot of patience, however. What’s crucial to improving ones life is getting support from wholesome people and gaining a sense of belonging. There is a beautiful metaphor that says we humans are all tulip buds, and we just need the right conditions to bloom (ie: enough water and sunlight). If one comes from difficult circumstances, then have hope that your outcomes can change as long as you fill your life with wholesome things that can make you bloom.
Don’t Ignore the Red Flags
*Understand that “normal” individuals can be sociopaths (lack empathy) and be abusive behind closed doors: These days, modern day villains are not the scary-looking characters we see in fairy tales. They are often “normal” individuals found in everyday life. I would recommended one to always have their guard up and not to be trusting so easily. It takes a LONG time to really know someones character.
*Understand the Importance of Social Credentials: When meeting random people, it is crucial to obtain social references on that person. This is especially important when meeting random people that have no connection to ones own family or friend circle. In other words, its important that a person has people in the community that can vouch for that persons credibility. I ignored this when I was with my abusive ex. When I met my ex, I realized I knew no one else to speak on his behalf. He had no close friends at all. His acquaintances were always random people. He also changed jobs every year and therefore he had no consistency in anything. Those factors, alone, were red flags that I should have paid more attention too. The lesson to be learnt here is to make sure that anyone in your life has other friends or community members that can act as their social reference.
*Understand what healthy love is, and that love is about action (not words): A person claiming to love you without showing it in their actions is a major red flag. Words are meaningless without action. There is a great film about a woman who was exploited by a so-called lover, which highlights the covert, manipulative ways men use ‘love’ to get sex from a woman. The film is called Wajma, An Afghan Love Story (Film is here on Youtube).
*Stay away from shallow people who objectify others and yourself: One of the most dehumanizing feelings is when someone looks at you as an object (where your mind is completely irrelevant). There are hurtful individuals out there who evaluate women in the most dehumanizing ways — whom are convinced a woman’s worth is based on her sexual organs and appearance. Even more sad is that many women with low self-esteem are pandering to these dehumanizing trends. My abusive ex tried really hard to break down my self-esteem by picking at my flaws. Despite I know my worth is much more than the external, I almost started to believe my inner qualities mattered less. When my abuser couldn’t crush my self-esteem, he then tried to crush my soul by manipulating my heart and emotions. Abusers are competitive, shallow and envious, which is yet another major red flag I ignored.
*Speak out and Don’t be Silent: Silence allows predators to thrive. Do whatever you can to ensure that an exploitative/abusive person cannot put others at risk. Call the police, inform members in the community — anything!
If you are a man who wants to help, then speak out against men who exploit women in overt and covert ways. Be an older, protective brother to women who don’t have the protection of brothers. Creeps are actually ruining things for decent men. How? When a woman is harmed by a predator, she is more likely to be guarded towards most men. She might be susceptible to feminist propaganda that will teach her to mistrust ALL men (and that’s not the answer). We need more wholesome unity, not disunity between men and women.
Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship:
Tupac’s Keep ya Head Up (1993), a power song in support of vulnerable women from difficult circumstances. Tupac represented a time when Hip Hop was about unity and positive growth. Whereas now, mainstream hip hop has been hijacked and is about destroying humanity, glamorizing evil and promoting sociopathy.
To my Dear Readers: What is your advice to young women and men? What is your experience with an abuser? What are some RED FLAGS for you? Please share your thoughts.