Dr Disha Khanna/ Ramifications of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Sophie Tamas’ Life After Death: The Remains of Spousal Abuse

Dr Disha Khanna

Assistant Professor in English

Lovely Professional University



Domestic violence is a universal trouble and can take place to anyone at any point of time. Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive liaison are the first step to end an obnoxious psycho traumatic journey of eternal troubles. Domestic violence repeatedly escalates from intimidation and verbal abuse to violence. No one should live in trepidation of the person they adore in her life. The current research paper will poke every female to ponder over the situation, “If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner, continually watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow up; probability is pin-pointing to your relationship that is detrimental and abusive”. Through the help of Sophie Tamas’ maiden work Life After Leaving: The Remains of Spousal Abuse, an innovative attempt is made to divulge how women fight to make sense of loss incurred, endeavors to recover from the ramifications of the post traumatic stress disorder, and experience the efflorescence of love and compassion, leading to intense frustration after leaving spousal abuse. Despite of its intricacy, women challenge to file legal separation to dispose of an abusive liaison. The novels of Sophie Tamas, an interdisciplinary intellectual and practitioner, have attained wide identification in the form of articles focusing on the ethical and practical challenges related to conjugal relationships. The current study will incorporate Tamas’ debut novel and eulogize about various ways in which spousal abuse can be curbed lucratively. This research venture will primarily focus on the significance of connubial relationships, though healthy or taxing, still make life highly momentous and reminiscent.


Keywords: Autothenographic, Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS), Nuptial Ties, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Spousal Abuse, Self-Defense


Sophie Tamas, an interdisciplinary scholar and practitioner is a versatile genius in revealing women’s experience of living with, and parting male partner violence within a socio-historical context then reliving it by conducting a painstaking research about her lived experiences. Her dissertation involved autothenographic, arts based and participatory action research with survivors of spousal abuse, exploring the use of theatre to facilitate trauma recovery, deepen understanding of recovery needs, and promote community education. She is even the architect of an online dynamic atlas and trauma scrapbook to document the impact of leaving abuse at (www.postscrap.org), to be launched in early 2015. She has individually undergone through male partner hostility and compiled the dissertation about her traumatic and harrowing saga.

Intimate partner violence takes place in all countries, irrespective of social, economic, religious or cultural group. One of the most widespread forms of violence against women is that performed by a husband or an intimate male partner. Although women can be aggressive in relationships with men, and violence is also sometimes instituted in same-sex partnerships, the overwhelming trouble of partner violence is borne by women at the hands of men. Since time immemorial, women who have been persistently the prey of physical and psychological torture or face the risk of severe injury and death, if at all possible pick to pester the men who misuse and ill-treat them. These subjugated women believe that they must kill or be killed. When abuse occurs repeatedly in the same relationship, and the observable fact is often referred to as ‘‘battering’’. Battered woman syndrome is a corporeal and psychosomatic condition of a woman who has encountered emotional, physical, or sexual abuse from a counterpart leading to Post traumatic stress disorder. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur following the experience of a distressing event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorists’ incidents, grave accidents or physical or sexual battering in adult or childhood. It is calculated as a rational shortcoming that implies a normal individual to perform in an awkward style.


In the current research arena, some of the tribulations associated with traumatic experiences of spousal abuse and harassment will be candidly exposed. The work will endow stern procedures to trounce spousal abuse and render useful tips for a joyful and long lasting wedded life. Regrettably, women who have been the victim of male partner hostility demonstrate symptoms that further victimizes them resulting into battered women with PTSD. This hard-hearted woman who has been the object of this implausible betrayal by her intimate spouse fights back with the countless complexities drawn in her marital life. Such woman often turns out to be the sufferer of vague somatic disorders like severe headache, insomnia and abdominal pain. The only alternative for the batterer woman is to abandon her partner and seek backing in the development of a new self-concept. Generally, women should make sincere endeavors in developing intimate and strong nuptial relationship. Individuals should digest this fact that in order to be pleased and satiated, they must be in synchronization and survive for true and unconditional love.

Tamas’ Life After Leaving (LAL): The Remains of Spousal Abuse, is playful and evocative work, penned down as a play of her life and incorporates fictitious conversations with various authors and researchers in trauma and domestic violence. LAL is the outcome of Tamas’ doctoral dissertation entitled Playing the survivor: How (and if) women recover from spousal abuse. She in LAL uses an attractive and coherent story with five acts unfurling the complications of spousal abuse which is pivotal in the entire saga of Tamas’ life. The current research arena will focus on some of the tribulations associated with traumatic experiences of spousal exploitation and pestering. The work will even provide stringent measures to overcome spousal abuse and render functional guidelines for a contented and long lasting marital life. Unfortunately, women who have bumped into male partner violence display symptoms by and large explained in a comportment that further victimizes them, rather than unraveling the complexities involved in male partner violence resulting into a battered woman. Male partner cruelty entails continual abuse, committed by an intimate partner, a partner whom you have discerned and bothered about over a period of time. A woman who has been the target of this inconceivable betrayal by her intimate partner fights back with the countless complexities drawn in her matrimonial life.

Even if the women takes a strong leap and efforts to strike back or engage in mutual violence, it is by and large the women who is likely to be hurt on physical and emotional grounds. Thus, the battered woman’s last resort is to abandon her partner and hunt for support in the expansion of a new self-concept. Women, by and large earnestly should be busy in mounting strong conjugal relationship, where in the partner as the de facto should be contented in life, and try to construct harmonious relationship for the intense patches of true love.

In LAL, Dr and Mrs Ibn-Tamas’ matrimony was overflowing with intermittent violent episodes followed by periods of virtual calmness. Unfortunately, at the crack of dawn, the couple exchanged blows on which Mrs Ibn-Tamas under a chagrin gunshot her husband.  During the verbal abusive exchange, Dr Ibn-Tamas had been a hard hearted devil, repeatedly battering his pregnant wife, brutally dragging her up to the staircase, and by pointing a gun on her face, he was furiously yelling at her to abandon the residence. Finally, Mrs Ibn-Tamas couldn’t manage herself and fired the fatal shot at her husband. Here even a feminist fails to answer, why a particular man beats his wife? Why men in general use physical force against their partners?

In LAL, the trial bickered that Mrs Ibn-Tamas acted boldly. Petrified of being kicked off from her abode into a bizarre city, she adamantly revolted against her companion’s maltreatment and associations with other counterparts and ensnared him in his official premises. But on grounds of humble petition, the defense required Dr Walker’s testimony to explicate the conception of “wife battering” and render estimation as to whether Mrs Ibn-Tamas behavior matched up with the conduct of other women in her studies.

The defense is of the verdict that Dr Walker’s statement would definitely facilitate the adjudicators in assessing the trustworthiness of Mrs Ibn-Tamas’ allegation of her life in impending danger, and that’s the sole reason she shot her husband in self-protection. The DC Court of Appeals was of the conviction that the trial court blundered in excluding Dr Walker’s testimony. In fact, keeping in consideration the legal protocols, the appellate court repudiated to hold that Dr. Walker’s allegation is diminutive.  The DC Court of Appeals made it crystal clear that the third Dyas point doesn’t demand any kind of recognition of the results depending upon Dr. Walker’s methodology.

Being proven the appropriateness and acceptability, the probative value of the Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS) testimony must also overshadow its detrimental impact. The trial court divulged substantiation of Dr Ibn-Tamas’ former acts of hostility against his wife. The DC Court of Appeals apprehended that admitting Dr Walker’s testimony on Battered Woman Syndrome had only a minimal prejudicial impact and was “highly probative” and unswervingly related to Mrs Ibn-Tamas’ discernment at the time of the assassination, which was fundamental to her claim of self-defense.

The DC court of Appeals remanded the case to the trial court concluding “the defendant is unsuccessful in ascertaining a wide-range acceptance by the expert’s colleagues of the methodology used in the expert’s study of ‘battered women.’”The DC Court of Appeals detained that the trial judge finally had prudence to eliminate Dr Walker’s testimony, on behalf of lack of proof of “manifest error” on part of the trial court, the DC Court of Appeals refused to overturn the trial courts’ ruling.

For the current case in hand, the state offered evidence confirming that the victimized woman is afflicted from battered woman syndrome. The court permitted the state’s specialist to be a witness of the vicious circle of spousal ill-treatment and its repercussions on battered women. The state pressed upon the expert testimony to make the jury comprehend the reason why the injured woman did not cease her liaison with the defendant, why she never bothered to account her battering to the police, why she did not take the bold step of abandoning the scene even after consistent stabbing, and why she abided by with defendant’s demands.

Before the expert testimony on BWS becomes pertinent, the state must ascertain that the sufferer is a decrepit woman and the testimony will aid the panel of judges in comprehending her deportment. Furthermore, the court dogged the confirmation of the defendant’s previous cruelty of the casualty was permissible in two different ways. Firstly, the substantiation was appropriate and the material was subject to the tenet against former evidences of misdeeds. Secondly, the probative worth of the proof prevailed over its detrimental impact.  Former felony evidences of the state were supported the expert’s testimony and offered adequate substantiation of an obnoxious relationship to prove the applicability of the expert’s Battered Woman Syndrome.

Battered women, the now victims of PTSD, engages in measures to relieve themselves of the setback. At the onset, they get in empathy with the police to approach a battered woman’s haven for seeking solace on grounds of legal counseling. The next step incorporates with parting of the eternal alliance and in quest of dissolution, compelling the battered to hold back his brutal behavior by her or with the aid of others; and thus fighting the abuser. The woman should start by narrating her saddening story of the abuse to a friend, loved one, health care provider or other close contact.

The very thought of divorcing and living independently can jolt any woman in a paralyzed state of mind. The status of a married female in the society renders pride and encourages her to be a wife and a mother to be a woman. But a woman been subjugated for years loses self-confidence and self-esteem. Thus, the prospect of living on independent grounds terrifies such a shattered woman. Parting and staying away from an obnoxious marriage is one of the hardest things happened in a life of any Battered woman, who is been under the trap of PTSD.

Tamas has implemented the autothenographic style in stressing upon the PTSD in LAL and flagS down the liability on the women. Women’s difficulty of separating the self from others is due to women’s potential for material connection to life. The cause of this material connection to life is a much disputed one.  Due to the reasons such as childrearing, children protection, and financial security needs, women have been obligated to swallow their anger, endure cycles of violence, and hunt for ways for improvement. Women price intimacy and are apprehensive of separation. However, these women participants’ designate that the complete resurgence is unfeasible and their psychological trauma can never be eliminated. Unfortunately, leaving an abusive relationship does not of itself always guarantee safety. Violence can sometimes prolong and may even soar after a woman leaves her partner.


Unlike men, women are not estranged, prior to being coupled epistemologically or morally. Women do not struggle for intimacy; it is something which they innately possess.

Men only revive this potential for association later on in life. Women in these situations do not

fear of legal separation from an abusive spouse. In fact, in numerous cases these women have endeavored to flee only to be brought back again and punished even more for having attempted escape. Men are reciprocally socialized to demonstrate power especially over women- to be the protector, to make decisions without their backing, and to analyze them as a piece of commodity. Women since their inception till death are busy in performing their three tiered roles of getting   into wedlock, followed by nurturing of children and performing the hum drum household tasks. Ultimately, women are meant to be docile, soft, and to get hyper even in any terse situation is not their cup of tea. Thus, women in alliance with men are nothing more than a puppet at the hands of brutal men. But on equal grounds, man should work to his last breath to retain the smile on his wife’s countenance.

Constantly, women are obsessed with these unanswered questions like- Why do women have to take the liability for male violence? What should males do for their conjugal abusive behaviors? Do they require any society intervention programs or psychological therapy for mental recovery? How to avert spousal abuse?

Women- the puppet of men’s hand possess no independent authorized stance. Be it physical or economic grounds, battered women are not the equals of their spouse. Women in abusive associations are ostracized for years. These battered women frantically long for freedom in life and the possibility for “safe connection in nuptial relationship. Numerous reasons like trepidation, isolation and love forces them to prove the fact that leaving is insecure for many, and difficult for most. It is a commonly accepted belief that escaping domestic violence leads to poverty. Economic dependency on the batterer is the primary reason women do not leave. Low self-esteem is a second emotional response that may impact leaving or staying.


Women are likewise deserving of self-esteem and respect, yet this insurgency cannot set in motion until we decline disrespectful comments, criticism, and justifications of violence against women. Women must put down their love, family, and economic security to fight back for their endurance, safety, children, freedom, and personal dignity. We live in a fickle society that flip-flops between judging a woman: for not being able to make her marriage work; for staying and putting up with being abused; for not shielding her children; for insisting that the children’s father see his children under unsupervised conditions; for making too big of a deal about his infidelity and/or use of profanity; his flippant outlook toward your principles and beliefs; and for making my experience of male partner violence public knowledge. Women are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

BWS is a form of expert testimony which in actual fact could speak to both subjective and objective components of provocation. The intention is to notify about the subjectivity of these women as well as seeking a public acknowledgement that a killing in cases of domestic abuse must be practically excused. There is a gradual escalation of tension which is manifested by unpleasant behavior on the part of the batterer and which sometimes escalates to minor acts of physical abuse.?” Although relations are tense, the batterer does not express his dissatisfaction in any extreme or explosive act of violence. Meanwhile, the woman attempts to placate her partner by doing what she thinks might please him as well as adopting general anger reduction techniques which best fit her partner’s mood swings. The batterer shows kindness and remorse, often promising a better future without violence. The woman wants to believe her partner and, early in the relationship at least, derives a sense of hope from this behavior. Despite the abuse, which only gradually becomes a feature of the relationship, the respite between battering cycles reminds the woman of the man with whom she fell in love and the importance of his connection with children, family and friends. The abuser’s contradictory behavior sets up an inner conflict in the woman between the cost of remaining and the benefits of leaving. While living in a battering relationship, therefore, women concern themselves more with the task of controlling their partner’s violence. They learn either to suppress their anger or find other indirect ways of expression and had more severe PTSD symptoms, which impeded their subsequent psychological adjustment. The battered woman lives in this state of numbness, which, for a while, coincides with the suppression of emotion and keeps her in the relationship in a state of passive acceptance. It is only when the cost of remaining in the relationship greatly outweighs the benefits, that the woman can transform passive acceptance into positive action.

The victim needs to act smart enough. They should pack an emergency bag that incorporates stuff she will entail when she leaves, such as extra clothes and keys, and should leave the bag in a secure place. She should always keep important personal papers, money, prescription and medications handy so that she can take them away on a short notice. It is fundamental for helping professionals to practice compassion for the women they assist to begin a societal shift toward eliminating stigma.


After analyzing Tamas’ LAL, one should try to hunt for measures that can help in resolving violent and disturbing marital relationships. The couple should uphold high opinion for each other’s confidentiality by being sensitively supportive, otherwise even the steadiest and passionate associations; inevitably break up. One should strive to look for measures that can be of assistance in resolving violent and disturbing marital relationships. The partner should listen to what the person is not saying as well as to what he or she is saying. A mistake at the spouse’s end is reciprocal. One should treat their spouse’s mistakes, as you would want them to treat your mistakes. The partner should be acquainted of the fact that in spite of the committed mistake, you still hold respect for the person. The participation and support of the partner should not diminish in times of victory or in times of difficulty. The couple should bear the audacity to humbly acknowledge the difference that each other make in their life. Showering gratitude and encouragement by language and action will strengthen the bonds of any relationship. By turning these skills into lifelong habits, a couple is able to construct healthy, strong and mutually gratifying relationship. Men should pay homage to the deeds been performed by women since their inception till death. Women work tirelessly performing their multifarious subject roles, yet they are not been endowed with the respect as is due for them.


Men should comprehend the bitter truth that the job and workload of women is endless. Women are never been placated with any bed of roses and it is not as easy as ABC to be a woman. Multitude is of the conviction that the centripetal loci in marriage is to stay in tuned for wedlock till life, with the primary industry of nurturing children together, and sustain the sacred sanctity of matrimony. When a man plunges into a promising relationship with his bride, he commits to the responsibilities of loving, honoring and cherishing her. Respecting either of the individual in a nuptial is and will be the first duty of a couple. Men should bless their wife with intense love, honor and cherish her with the basic amenities of a married life. On the other hand, females need not create fuss over trivial matters and exaggerate the faults of their male counterpart.

Spousal abuse is a predicament entrenched in several societies around the world. Despite over 20 years of activism in the field of violence against women, remarkably few interventions have been rigorously evaluated. We live in a male-supremacist society. Under it, women are sexually colonized, are treated as sexual and reproductive chattel. Women are even subjected to a female sexual slavery that is at the core of patriarchy’s heart of darkness. Under it, women are subjected to epidemic level of male violence, male sexual violence and abuse. Stringent steps should be taken to shun away violence from the married life of couples. Couples should make efforts to comprehend each other and feel connected.


Relationships make life meaningful, whether they’re good or bad. Each partner should be well acquainted with his/ her roles and responsibilities. In the developed world, women’s crisis centers and battered women’s shelters have been the cornerstone of programs for victims of domestic violence. Such centers generally provide support groups and individual counseling, job training, programs for children, assistance in dealing with social services and with legal matters, and referrals for treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. This type of cases are only a tip of iceberg for drawing the concentration of the administrative agencies and women social activist that we have to go far- fetched to protect the women in society, and to save themselves or to escape from such excruciating milieu.



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