Reasons why men abuse and batter women and why the women don't leave the relationship
Domestic violence, abuse and battering should
not, and does not, need to happen.
There are many theories that attempt to explain why some men use violence against their partners. Some of those theories include the following: chemical dependency, economic hardship, family dysfunction, lack of spirituality, poor communication skills, provocation by women and stress. While these issues can be associated with the abuse and battering of women, they are not the causes. If the associated factors are removed the violence of men against women will not come to an end. The abuser begins using violence as an effective method for gaining and keeping his control over someone else. He continues the abuse and battering for the same reasons. It is sad to say but the abuser usually does not suffer any adverse consequences because of his behavior.
History shows us that violence against women has not been treated as a “real” crime. Lack of severe consequences such as economic penalties and incarceration for the men guilty of abuse and battering makes this apparent. Men who are known abusers and batterers are rarely ostracized. Most abusers and batterers are accepted by the people in their communities regardless of how they treat their partners. Usually no one can tell by looking at them that they are abusers and batterers because they come from all backgrounds, groups and personality profiles. But there are some characteristics that fit the profile of abusers and batterers such as:
The question, “Why do women stay in a violent relationship?” is often answered by the victim being blamed. 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.
A woman’s reasons for staying in a violent relationship are more complex. Making statements about her strength of character does not explain why she stays. It can be dangerous for a woman to leave her abuser. 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 could mean she will live in fear for her life, the loss of custody of her children or loss of financial support. She may even be afraid of harassment at work.
While there is no profile for the “typical woman” who will be abused or battered, 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:
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 dependant on her getting and keeping a man in her life.
Being isolated by a jealous or possessive abuser 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.
A woman is rarely abused or battered all of the time. There may be periods of non-violence. During the non-violent phase her abuser may fulfill her dreams of romantic love. She may be lulled into believing her abuser is basically a good man. She may believe that she should hold on to her “good man”, reinforcing her decision to stay in the relationship. She may believe that her abuser is basically good until he lets off steam because something bad happened to him.
Do you see yourself using any of the above rationalizations? If you do, do you really want to live the rest of your life in fear of the next violent outburst? The violent circle won’t change. Make plans to get out and stay out. Do it now before you end up dead.
PREDICTING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
AN IMPORTANT CHECKLIST AND
WORKPLACE GUIDELINES AND
GETTING LEGAL HELP
RESOURCE AND HELP LINKS
BACK to DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Sherry Romero December 2001.
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