Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Interview with Brinda Jayaraman

"The reason for violent behaviour is a need to hold power and exert control; more often than not, this need is born out of low self-esteem. Domestic violence is no different," explains Brinda Jayaraman, psychological counsellor. "Many men feel belittled by their wives for real or imaginary reasons, or might want to show that they are in control. This might be because the wife earns more than her husband, she might be perceived as a winner in her field, or might have more friends than he does. Any of this may trigger a self-esteem issue, and some men resort to violence," she says. Violence, as Brinda explains, can be emotional, financial or physical.

Brinda Jayaraman started offering her services in Psychological Counseling from 1995 and ever since has been committed to creating awareness about positive mental health. In 1996, she established Anchor Self-Help Access (ASHA), an agency that offers comprehensive mental health services in areas of proactive parenting, anger management, marital conflict and addiction. Explaining how she deals with victims of domestic violence, in the context of a marital conflict, she says, "The first thing we do is to tell them they have two options: they can either leave, or they can live with their husbands and accept their personality. If they choose the latter, we then tell them how they can equip themselves to deal with situations."

Brinda explains that communication is key in most cases. "We train them -- both parties -- to communicate with 'I messages'. They need to stop being aggressive with each other, stop provoking each other, and start telling each other how they feel, and what their perception of a situation is. That does not mean that the victim has to give in. They need to have assertive communication, they need to build up their self esteem -- but there is a difference between being assertive and being aggressive," she says.

"Initially, violence in a household starts from one person. But over time, it becomes a tit-for-tat situation. Violent behaviour becomes the norm. And this is more detrimental when there are children. Many times, children start to believe that behaving aggressively and violently is a way for them to get what they want," explains Brinda.

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