Feminist Icon Mayaa SH Speaks On The Cycle Of Abuse and Battered Woman Syndrome

Feminist Icon Mayaa SH  Speaks On The Cycle Of Abuse and Battered Woman Syndrome

Eminent feminist, women's rights activist, poetess, authoress and social scientist Mayaa SH breathes her life into the unheard voices of women across the country .Mayaa SH has  placed gender in systems and structures which abled gender imbalance.


A developmental feminist and authoress, Mayaa SH has embraced feminism in the course of her journey across her vivid interactions with the women of this country .She has always said that feminism is not a war between men and women but a war against the ideology of patriarchy, ie a clash of two ideologies.Her work explored how patriarchy had fostered discrimination against women from historical times, rather than innate differences between men and women.


We’ve never seen someone break down activism, feminism, and patriarchy in a way that is both serious and laced with witty humour at the same time. Here are some of our favourite snippets from the conversation with Mayaa SH on the cycle of abuse  :


Sometimes it can be difficult to see abuse from inside a relationship. The cycle of abuse is a four-stage pattern used to describe the way abuse often occurs. The stages—tension, incident, reconciliation, and calm—repeat themselves over and over again in abusive relationships that follow this pattern.Many violent relationships follow a common pattern or cycle. The entire cycle may happen in one day or it may take weeks or months.The cycle involves Four stages of


  • (1)Building Tension
  • (2)An incident of Abuse
  • (3)Reconciliation
  • (4)Calm


Abusive partners often lash out in response to external stressors. Anything can fuel tension: family issues, trouble at work, physical illness, fatigue.


Frustration and dissatisfaction intensify over time, often prompting feelings of powerlessness, injustice, anger, and paranoia.Abuse might involve: Insults or name-calling, threats of harm or property destruction,attempts to control your behavior,

sexual or physical violence,emotional manipulation etc.This is may be related to external stressors like financial difficulties, interpersonal challenges at work or other environments, or health challenges.the tension from the first stage in the cycle of abuse starts to break. This may culminate in one or more abusive incidents.The Tension stage is the abusive partner’s attempt to overtly regain a sense of power and control.This may include intimidation,

threats of violence,

breaking of things in the home etc .After the incident of abuse, tension gradually begins to fade. In an attempt to move past the abuse, the abuser often uses kindness, gifts, and loving gestures to usher in a “honeymoon” stage.During this phase, the abusive partner may seem genuinely ashamed of their behavior and committed to reform. Because the victim cares about them in maximum cases, the victim may feel inclined to believe what they’re saying and give them another chance.It’s possible that the abusive partner starts doing things that may seem romantic, supportive, and loving during the reconciliation stage.To maintain peace and harmony, both parties generally have to come up with some sort of explanation or justification for the abuse.During the calm phase, the victim's partner may continue to be attentive; however, you might notice a shift from them being apologetic to now excusing their actions.The abusive partner might apologize while blaming others,

point to outside factors to justify their behavior,

minimize the abuse or deny it happened and

accuse the other partner(usually the actual victim) of provoking them.


There are various signs that a person has been emotionally abused by a parent, partner, or someone else close to oneself and these are in the following form :


  • (1)Gaslighting.
  • (2)Isolating the victim from loved ones.
  • (3)Insulting language.
  • (4)Yelling.
  • (5)Shifting the blame.
  • (6)Extreme jealousy.
  • (7)Unpredictable anger.


The Types of Abuse may include :Physical Abuse. Physical abuse is the use of physical force or mistreatment of one person by another which may or may not result in actual physical injury,Sexual violence and abuse,Psychological / Emotional Abuse, Financial Abuse,Institutional Abuse,Neglect,Domestic violence and Exploitation.


Abusive behaviors may escalate from cycle to cycle, although this isn’t always the case.


Even though it doesn’t happen in all cases of abuse, abusive behaviors in relationships may go through cycles, which can make them additionally painful and confusing.


Speaking with a trusted friend or family member can help the victim see  and verify the patterns of behavior that may indicate abuse. It may also help the victim find a safe space where to go to when the victim is in the tension and incident stages.


Wife battering refers to violent acts—psychological, sexual and/or physical assault—by an assailant against his wife and/or partner made with the intent of controlling the partner by inducing fear and pain.Psychological abuse involves the regular and deliberate use of a range of words and non-physical actions used with the purpose to manipulate, hurt, weaken or frighten a person mentally and emotionally; and/or distort, confuse or influence a person's thoughts and actions within their everyday lives, changing their sense .Battered woman’s syndrome is the psychological effects of living with intimate partner violence . A battered woman’s syndrome is not a mental illness, but the result of what happens when the victim lives day in and day out with trauma. The physical, sexual, and psychological abuse happens in cycles.The tension builds, then there is an outburst of violence, followed by the abuser apologizing and promising to do better. And then the cycle starts all over again.People who find themselves in an abusive relationship often do not feel safe or happy. However, they may feel unable to leave for many reasons. These include fear and a belief that they are the cause of the abuse.


Abuse can affect people of any gender, sex, age, social class, or education.the unique pattern of behavior and emotions that can develop when a person experiences abuse and as they try to find ways to survive the situation.The patterns of behavior that result from abuse often resemble those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The battered woman syndrome as a subtype of PTSD.


The impact of abuse on a person’s well-being can be severe. For this reason, it is important to understand that help is available and to seek help if possible.



About The Author


With a long history of service and advocacy for abused women and their children and over the years, Mayaa SH has evolved as a developmental feminist in response to changing needs, focusing on client-based services that are both trauma-informed and trauma-sensitive. She has counselled several girls and women across the country with no fees as her social responsibility towards uplifting women to rekindle hope and find a purpose in life .Mayaa SH is universally described as an unflagging feminist and one of the most original voices to have emerged in the course of the modern feminist women’s movement , who has had the ability to rip through ideas of patriarchy with rapier sharp wit or laughter.Mayaa SH is not only set out to be a feminist activist. In Pune she also post graduated  into Industrial Economics as one of her degrees to  study the consequences of economic change in societies. In words of Mayaa "I increasingly found that amongst the condemned, women were left far behind,” she said in one of her interviews . Referring to people plagued with the evils of casteism “Amongst the poorer, women were more economically exploited section of the society.Amongst the excluded, women were more excluded. So even though I was not meant to be aligned to the field of women empowerment and feminism ,I slowly became one without even knowing the word ‘feminist’ at that time.”Amongst the most famous ideology of "Vichaar"(reflect) in which Mayaa has insisted on the power of self belief and inner reflection first to reinvent and rediscover one's purpose in life ,here is an excerpt :


"To fight any sort of violence, I must reflect.

To end my suffering, I must reflect.

To challenge the doctrine of patriarchal  norms, I must reflect.

To demolish all the structural norms of orthodox thinking , I must  reflect.

Because I’m a girl, I must reflect.

To mould a faith I can trust, I must reflect."

I must reflect to Awake from the deep slumber of bondage of mindset ,Rise and Keep Moving Forward as Sky is not the Limit and the Will to Succeed Invigorates Strength to Combat Fear in Life .Mayaa SH who has lived by the slogan of "Vichaar" decodes the concept of Feminism .An activist, poet and author, she has spent most of her adult life raising voice against injustice and patriarchy and building a strong foundation of solidarity with women across borders.The unflagging feminist and communicator par excellence, Mayaa SH has left a unique imprint on the women’s movement across India. Her feminism is a nurturing one; even those who thought differently were touched by it.Mayas SH is committed to ending domestic violence. Using a self-help, empowerment approach, she has provided a shelter for adults and children, counseling, advocacy, and a 24-hour hotline for people affected by domestic violence free of cost with attending calls even at 2 am . Mayaa's vision is dedicated for social change through education, service collaboration, and institutional advocacy.Mayaa believes that all people have a right to violence-free lives. She believes that abusive acts are acts of power and control that the victim does not provoke, enjoy or deserve. This  is in holding perpetrators of abuse accountable for their actions.Thus,  all people have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Mayaa SH believes  that victims of abuse can regain control of their lives through appropriate support services, information and referral to community services.Mayaa is an avid motivator and mentor who believes in "Rebuilding Lives, Renewing Hope",thereby,

empowering adults and their children with the skills they need to live a life that is free of fear and to move forward on their healing journey