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Domestic 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. 

Useful contacts:
Nationaal Domestic Violence Hotline:
   1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224

National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA))

The National CFIDS Foundation * 103 Aletha Rd, Needham Ma 02492 * (781) 449-3535 Fax (781) 449-8606