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.
Why Women Stay
Why do women stay in abusive relationships? Why don't they leave? It is so hard for someone who has not lived through it to understand. Not having been abused, friends or family members have no idea what it is like to feel totally worthless, ashamed. They have not been kicked, punched, slapped, humiliated, or degraded. Only one who has been abused can understand...it is not always easy to leave.
Fear: This is the number one reason that women stay in abusive relationships. They feel their abuser may become more violent--even fatal---stalking them if they leave. And this is not an unfounded fear. In fact, women are most at risk after they have left an abusive relationship. I know what these women are feeling. I was one of them. I will never forget always having to look over my shoulder...always being fearful that he would show up. The woman may fear being alone, that she cannot survive without someone to take care of her. She may fear that she will lose her children or that others will blame her.
Lack of Resources: This is another biggie. One of the major components of the abusers control is to sever the victim from family ties and friendship. The victim may also have tried to hide signs of the abuse from the outside world. Either way, the victim lacks a support system and is isolated from family and society in general and feel they have no place to turn.
Financial Resources: In most abusive relationships, the abuser controls everything...including the finances. The victim, particularly those with children, has no means of support.
Children: It is not easy being a single parent, and for most women, navigating the court system for custody. Children may be pressuring to stay with their dad. And, if she does get the children, there are childcare issues to consider. Who will take care of the children if she goes to work...and she will have to work.
Promises of Reform: The abuser promises that it will never happen again, and the victim believes this is true. She believes that over time, she can change him.
Love: Most of us enter into a relationship because we love someone, and that feeling does not simply disappear easily, and after a battering, the abuser is often very penitent, and usually between violent episodes there are periods of calm where the abuser can appear charming, nurturing, and caring. The victim, whose self-esteem is at its lowest, perceives this to be the end of the violence. The victim is confused about difference in being loved and being controlled by their partner.
The above are just some of the reasons that victims do not leave. Other reasons include religious beliefs that reinforce commitment to marriage, sex role conditioning, and feelings of guilt. The victim believes that she is at fault.