The advice that I gave was to best of knowledge as for obvious reasons she did not want anyone else in the college to know of her predicament in fear that her family would find out and of what they might do. I informed of that she must report what has happened to either the police or seek refuge with a woman’s organisation such as the southall Black sisters who are a specialist charity who help women fleeing from violence within the home. I also told her that she inform someone that she could trust to help flee.
I emphasised that it absolutely paramount that she protect herself from this man that is quite clearly capable of doing anything. Admittedly the girl was frightened of my advice as it meant going against everything that she had been taught but I insisted that she had to do for her own safety. She was therefore very reluctant to take my advice and assisted that everything would be ok if she did as she was told. It was very frustrating for me to listen to her saying this and part of me did not understand why anyone would want to stay in an abusive relationship. But she had her reasons and I had to respect them.
It was so frustrating that she was going back to a man that was dangerous and that there was nothing I could do about it. After a few session of counselling she became convinced that the only way for her seek solace was to run away and to seek refuge with the Southall Black Sisters. She had been too scared about going to the police as had heard to many negative stories about them not helping and not understanding her predicament. It was for obviously important for her to seek help with people that would understand her predicament and with people that were of the same ethnicity.
Research conducted by Dr Robin Goodwin of the university of Bristol and Dr Duncan Cramer of Loughborough University  on marriage counselling services believes from studying a group of Hindu-Gujarati couples in Leicester found that the vast majority would want to talk too a counsellor from their own ethnic group. Often when abused women seek help they feel more comfortable talking to those that are of the same ethnicity as cultural practices and family practices are understood. My client eventually left her abusive partner after confiding in a friend who helped her makes her escape.
I received a card from her later that year which thanked me for my kindness and she informed that she was back at college finishing her A-levels and was hoping to go on to university; that touched my heart and has truly inspired me to enter this profession. It was such a joy and sense of achievement to see what a difference talking to someone can make and the positive impact it can have upon someone’s life. If I was to anything differently now I would have been more persistent that she had sought help earlier as the situation could have had dire consequences.
In retrospect I wish that I had done that. I believe the reason that I respected her wishes was that I being Asian know only too well of the drawbacks associated with separating from ones spouse. This particular situation was evidently worsened by the violence. In addition it is a difficult predicament for anyone counsellor to be in as on one hand you have to respect the client’s decision as after all it their life and on the other you have to care for their safety.
The concepts that I used to make sense of the situation of the client not escaping from the marriage involved looking at the effect that cultural practices had on the relationship the client was in. These had a negative impact on the relationship as they made the client feel bad for trying to escape an abusive relationship, as she was the one that was ending the relationship. Pressure from the family did not help either, as they despite knowing that truth both her in-laws and maternal mother had wanted the marriage to continue.
All these acted as barriers for the client and where the reasons why she stayed in the abusive relationship for so long. The concepts or ideas that I could of used to make sense of the client not wanting to seek help was to look at the barriers that being Asian have on the girl obtaining help. All kind of services can have an negative impact for not understanding Asian practices, as they do not have knowledge of them. This can act as a real deterrent in an Asian women wanting to flee from a violent relationship.
This is why organisations such as Asian women’s groups play such an important role to help women get the appropriate help that they require. Voluntary groups such as these have helped recognise the inadequacy and ineffectiveness of service provision to ethnic minorities communities. I would therefore conclude that this experience that I gained was although a highly distressing has been valuable as it has me provided me with more understanding to the underlying reasons as to why women feel obliged to stay in abusive relationship.
I have learnt something valuable and will retain what was found when I again come across a similar situation. I would like to see in the future that counsellors and social workers alike are given cultural training, as everyone needs to be trained and informed of the different cultural practices of different ethnic minorities so that the situations that they face can be fully understood. For although I am an Asian I believe that I still needed to have more cultural training to understand what other ethnic minorities cultural practices are.
For I could only relate to the client on the basis of my own traditions, which are, based on Hindu-Punjabi traditions that are somewhat different to those of a Muslim. Further training is essential if we are to succeed in helping people facing abuse.
Bibliography R. Goodwin  Social Support and marital well being in Asian community Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Social Work section.