Domestic violence is an issue that cannot be reported in the absolute, because many of the cases go unreported. We’ve heard the stories time and again: children who recount how their drunken fathers used to beat their mothers in plain sight for the littlest of things. Sometimes, it doesn’t even have to come from stories—you hear it yourself from the muffled cries of your neighbor while you hear furniture being thrown around. You tell yourself, if I were in that situation I’d leave but the reality is that it is not easy.
Domestic violence happens mostly to women in the hands of their male partners. Many women do not leave even as they’re suffering physical abuse from the men who supposedly love them—for most it is easier said than done. Here are some of the most common reasons why women choose to stay with their abusive partners:
- In some cases, it’s because they are thinking of the children and their need to uphold the “normal” family life for their sake. They cover up bruises and act as if everything is normal in the presence of the children.
- Some have financial dependency on their partners—they feel like they have nowhere to go and no other option outside of their union. This is especially true if the woman has no job and property, or if she does not have family that she can run to.
- They feel like their partners are going to change if they stick around long enough—that they would realize over time that what they’re doing is wrong. In most cases, when the woman threatens to leave, the man would get down on his knees in tears and swear that they would not hurt them again—only to have the process start over again.
- They have been conditioned to think that they deserve what they are getting—some men have the ability to make the women think that the abuse that they’re getting is their own fault. Because of this, the women stay to try and make up for their “shortcomings”.
- They have been conditioned to think that they are worthless and are lucky to even be getting the man’s attention—some men will be verbally abusive to bring a woman’s self-esteem down so low that she will not think that there is anything better out there for her. For them, the abusive situation is made out to be the best thing that they will ever get.
- She feels like she has to take care of the man—she sees his abusive nature as something of a sickness that only she could cure him of.
There are many other reasons why a woman would choose to stay. However, staying can many times be the defining factor between surviving and death. How many times have we watched crime programs that started out with verbal abuse and minor injuries, only to end up with a woman having lost her life?
Children are also smarter than we think. If your reason for not leaving is that you feel like you’re disrupting your children’s lives, you probably don’t think that they know what’s going on. But in most cases, the children do know—and they are going to be more scarred by this than by having parents who are separated.
Women will have different breaking points, and it may take years of abuse before somebody decides that they have had enough. But the thing is that no physical abuse is EVER ok. Ideally, the first time a man lays a hand on you with the thought of physically and seriously harming you—you should leave.
If you feel like you don’t have other options or nowhere to turn to, that’s not true. There are numerous domestic abuse support groups that you can contact if you need support. There are also children and women’s shelters that you can take solace in when you decide you’ve had enough of the abusive situation.