A Tribute to Womanhood
Welcome to "I Am Woman"...a tribute to all those women who had the courage and perseverance to stand up and fight for their rights. Thanks to those who came before us we enjoy a freedom unknown to women not too long ago. But, sadly, in many parts of the world, women continue to be repressed. In fact, even in this country there are women living today under the threat of violence...completely controlled by a violent spouse. Some may make it; others won't. Hopefully, one day ALL women will be free. May that day come soon.
Common Myths About Domestic Violence
Most domestic violence incidents are caused by alcohol or drug abuse...Abusers may often use this as an excuse, but it is not true. There are many people with alcohol/drug problems who are not violent...just as there are many batterers who have never used alcohol and drugs.
Domestic violence is often triggered by stress; ie, loss of a job, marital issues...Again not true. Daily life is full of stress and frustrations, but most people don't become violent over it. Violence is, in fact, a learned and chosen response to stress...real or imagined. Some people take their frustrations out on themselves with drug or alcohol use, but some choose to take it out on others with verbal or physical abuse.
Most domestic violence occurs in lower class or minority communities...The fact is, domestic violence occurs at all levels of society...regardless of social, economic, racial, or cultural backgrounds. Anyone can be victim.
Some people deserve to be hit...This one really irks me. NO ONE deserves to be beaten, battered, or threatened in any way. Period. In fact, putting the blame on the victim is a way to manipulate. 'You made me jealous." "You made me mad". My ex-husband used this one on me. "If you were this...or if you were that...or if you did this...then I wouldn't have to be this way. It's all your fault." This is only a way of shifting the burden. The only person responsible for the abuse is the abuser.
I wanted to share a little story here. Although I became a certified victim's advocate, I ended up running a group for batterers...the total opposite of what I took the course for. Well, one man in my group stands out. His story and his 'she deserved it' attitude makes my hair stand up on end. He was a wealthy banker, and his wife had a good job with a publishing company. One day she asked him for a divorce. That night he took a barbell and beat her face so badly that he knocked teeth out and she had over 150 stitches in her face. He did this with the children standing in the doorway watching and crying.
Well, when this case went before the judge, not only was he found guilty, but this case set precedence in New York State for the wife was given everything he had in a settlement. He went to prison and when he got out, he was mandated to attend my domestic violence group...and what did he say? He was angry that she got all his money, that she shouldn't have asked him for a divorce; she must have been cheating. There was no remorse for what he had done.
When a couple is having a domestic violence problem, it is just that they have a bad relationship. Poor communication is the problem...In no way do bad relationships result in or cause domestic violence. This is a common and dangerous misconception which encourages the parties involved--especially the victim--to minimize the seriousness of the problem while they focus their energies on improving the relationship...hoping that will stop the violence. It also allows the abuser to take the blame of self and place it on the bad relationship and the victim. There are many bad relationships out there where neither partner becomes violent.
If it were that bad, she would just leave...There are many reasons why women may not leave...children, financial, a place to stay. This one is important. Most people just don't understand. I stayed in an abusive relationship for thirteen years because I was made to believe that there was no place for me to go and that no one would ever want me. More on this misconception in the future.