WHY WOMEN STAY IN VIOLENT RELATIONSHIPS
So many times I was asked, “Why would you stay in a violent relationship?” It seems like such a simple solution, you just leave. However this question is often answered by the victim being blamed for the abuse occurring to begin with. Victims of abuse and battering often hear statements like: “you must like it or you would leave.” or “you’re just one of many women who love too much.” or “you must need to be treated badly.” or “you must really have low self-esteem.” But the truth is that no one wants to be or enjoys being abused or battered. Their emotional state or self-image does not cause them to want to be in a violent relationship.
I have actually personally lost numerous relationships with family members, friends and colleagues due to the fact that they had no ability to comprehend what was really happening.
A woman’s reasons for staying in a violent relationship are more far more complex than most people can understand. In some ways it’s like asking an addict why they can’t kick their habit. It’s a vicious cycle of love, trust, lies, abuse, attempt to believe again, and blame that becomes all of who you are. Making statements about the strength of the victims character does not explain why she stays. Outsiders need to remember it can be dangerous for a woman to leave her abuser. More times than not more problems can be caused for the woman if her abuser is in control of all of the economic and social status of their relationship. Leaving her abuser could mean she will have to live in fear for her life, her families safety, the loss of custody of her children or loss of financial support. She may even be afraid of harassment at work and with her family members. I know my abuser used my mother and my grandma behind my back for months because they couldn’t believe such a charming man could be mean or deserve their “troubled” daughter/grand-daughter leaving him. Especially when the women tend not to speak to anyone about the abuse they are suffering. I remember my Mum asking me over and over again, “Are you sure? How could you not say anything?”
There is not a list, or a certain type who will be abused or battered, it just like anything else in this world can happen to anyone and most of the time they are trapped before they even know what has happened. There is documentation on what generally happens once the violence begins. Abused and battered women will experience embarrassment, isolation and shame. She may not leave the violent relationship immediately because of the following reasons:
• She realistically fears that the violence will escalate and may become fatal if she tries to leave.
• She may not have the much-needed support of her family and friends if she leaves.
• She knows how difficult it will be to be a single parent with reduced financial support.
• She may still be experiencing good times, love and hope mixed in with the manipulation, intimidation and fear.
• She may not know where to get help or have access to a safe place and support.
Some women may believe that getting a divorce is not a viable alternative. Many women have been taught and believe that a single parent family is unacceptable and that a violent father is better than no father. Many women have been taught that they are responsible for making their marriage work. Many women believe that a failed marriage means that they have failed as a woman. Many women were taught that their identity and worth is dependent on her getting and keeping a man in her life. I am the first family on my husband’s side to file for divorce, before me no one had ever stood up for themselves. They even brag about how my ex father in law stalked my ex mother in law and she had to be moved five times before they finally eloped.
A lot of the time the abuser will begin to isolate by being jealous or possessive which may cause a woman to lose touch with her family and friends. She may have even isolated herself to hide the signs of being abused or battered from the outside world. Isolation may have contributed to her sense that there is nowhere for her turn. A woman may rationalize the violent behavior by blaming alcohol or drug abuse, problems at work, stress, unemployment or anything else that comes to mind. I wasn’t allowed to go to Target by myself let alone drive to my mothers in the Valley. I had to be supervised at all times, and every moment was accounted for.
A woman is rarely abused or battered all of the time. There may be periods of non-violence, which help create the illusion of hope that there is change, that things will be better. During the non-violent phase her abuser may fulfill her dreams of romantic love, be drawn into believing her abuser is basically a good man who has just had a bad day or even worse she did something so wrong she was the cause of the abuse to begin with. She may believe that she should hold on to her “good man”, reinforcing her decision to stay in the relationship. Something to remember is that until an abused woman is really ready to admit that there needs to be a change, and has the resources mapped out to do it the likely hood is that she will continue living in her cycle of abuse.
Until you as a woman prepare, get smart, make a plan, and realize there is help out there for people going through what you are going through it’s not going to get better. You will have to take the first step, the most terrifying one you will have to make, to move towards change. Believe that your life can be different and that you and your children deserve so much more.
Every time I came home I would wait outside to listen to what was happening inside. I could tell by his voice or the slamming of cupboards or doors what I was in for. I am so thankful that these days I don’t have to duck, flinch, scream or run hiding in fear when my partner gets frustrated, angry or go through any other emotion other than happiness. In fact it’s been pointed out that I am the one that is so conditioned to hide, run or dismiss. Better yet I have become the noneffective communicator….. Who would have ever thought after 10 plus years of marriage and four years of extensive counseling I would be the one still scared and unable to communicate in a positive, effective way. Reminder to self: Not every time a person lifts a hand they want to strike and anger isn’t always a negative as long as it’s expressed in a positive, loving way. I will never hide or shrink away again. I was born a fighter, lost my youth fighting and will gain my future by holding strong and fighting for what I believe in. My name is Taylor Lauren Black, I am a mother of three beautiful son’s and am loved by some amazing people. I might have had to start my life all over again this year, literally lost all but a picture or two, but the lessons that I have learned are priceless. As Paul likes to say they are just simply objects, the things that matter in this world are the people we love and trust. Trent, Mason, Maddox, Paul, Leslie, Anthony, Ashley, Savannah, Nathan, Aiden and Lucy I am so glad I have met all of you. Our family might be meshed, and full of crazy but we are simply that, family. Every day you build me up, give me strength, help my children and love us unconditionally. There is nothing better than that!
The overall population tends to define domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc are types of physical abuse. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.
Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.
Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship with his or her children.
Economic Abuse: Is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.
Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include – but are not limited to – causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.
Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused, but also has a substantial effect on family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses, and the community at large. Children, who grow up witnessing domestic violence, are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life – therefore, increasing their risk of becoming society’s next generation of victims and abusers.
My sister Leslie and I are working in getting the truth out there, everyday we both learn something new about Domestic Violence, the laws and touching stories from others who have experienced horrific, scary things just like we have have experienced and want to share. Please always let us know if there is anything we can do to help expose the injustice of what we as survivors still have to endure especially regarding our children we would appreciate it. Remember, NEVER GIVE UP. Our children will remember how hard we have fought for them..
Battering is also called domestic violence. It is a pattern of abusive actions, either verbal, physical, emotional, sexual or psychological, designed for one person to keep control over another. Most often this behavior manifests as men against women; however, there are women who abuse their male partners as well. Abuse is not acceptable on any level, no matter how infrequently the behavior occurs.
In contested custody cases with a former abuser the court is 70% likely to order the children to live with the abuser. We are not supposed to talk about it, but we are speaking out. We will no longer be silenced.
Clare Murphy creates a new power and control wheel to extend the usefulness of the Duluth Wheel. Many women who experience psychological abuse and power and control are never physically hit by their partners.
Abusers pick and choose whom to abuse. They don’t insult, threaten, or assault everyone in their life who gives them grief. Usually, they save their abuse for the people closest to them, the ones they claim to love. Abusers are able to control themselves, think about what happens when a person of authority comes across their path. Amazing how charming and manipulative they can be when just a moment before there was a rage that was indescribable.