Why Can’t Abused Women Leave Their Abusers?

by
Sameera Ehteram
“One in three women may suffer from abuse and violence in her lifetime. This is an appalling human rights violation, yet it remains one of the invisible and under-recognized pandemics of our time.”

Abused Women

 “One in three women may suffer from abuse and violence in her lifetime. This is an appalling human rights violation, yet it remains one of the invisible and under-recognized pandemics of our time.”  Violence against women is an appalling human rights violation. But it is not inevitable. We can put a stop to this.”
– Nicole Kidman

Millions of women around the world are victims of domestic violence. Amazingly, they are not just the downtrodden, dependent on their male counterpart kind as well. It’s women like Rihanna, Nigella Lawson and a score of other celebrities as well as educated, well to do, apparently ‘privileged’ women who face the same fate. Nothing could be easier than walking out the door, right?

Just recently, Nigella Lawson got almost choked by her husband inbroad daylight and with witnesses present. Yet she is still with him. Rihanna gets assaulted by Chris Brown and can’t stay away from him.

Why?

Someone speaks to us in a loud voice and we get mad. We cannot even imagine someone, bullying us, being rude to us or hitting us and getting away with it. Then why is it that so many women stay in abusive relationships and even go back to the abusers time and time again?

There can be many reasons for sticking with their abusers.

They may not have a place to go or may not be able to afford leaving. In most of the cases, the abusers in their lives are the main providers.  

But what about women like Nigella Lawsonand Rihannathen?

Well, thinking long and hard, and reading many, many cases, it boils down to the following:

  • She doesn’t want to put her friends and family in peril. Batterers tend to go looking for them to their near and dear ones. They are violent individuals. They are dangerous. The women never want to endanger their loved ones.
  • Batterers tend to be very controlling individuals.They often restrict their partner's social contacts and even give the women limited or no access to money, keeping them dependent on themselves.
  • Emotional Attachment!  Abuser or not, this is the man she loves, or has loved.  Ending an intimate relationship is very tricky. Many are forced to stay because they fear to give up all they have invested in like their relationship, kids, social status, etc.

“Domestic violence causes far more pain than the visible marks of bruises and scars. It is devastating to be abused by someone that you love and think loves you in return. It is estimated that approximately 3 million incidents of domestic violence are reported each year in the United States.”
Dianne Feinstein

  • The victims keep hoping things will change. Indeed in many cases, this is the only thought that keeps them going. False hope it may be, but it’s their only hope and they do not want to let it go! Not to forget that many abusers become remorseful after inflicting violence. They apologize profusely; promise un ending love and that they will change.

Abused Women

  • She is isolated. Batterers are mostly jealous and over controlling people. One of the best courses of action by the abusers is to isolate the victims from their support system. They have very controlled live, hardly getting to meet and see people without ‘permission’ and even that with damning consequences.
  • Lack of belief in self.One of the first things battered women lose is self worth and confidence. They believe or are made to believe the assault is somehow their fault. They provoke the abuser. They start believing that and fearing that no one will believe their partners abuse or beat them.

Abused Women

We see battered women sticking with their abusers, going back to them again and again. We say they have no self esteem.  Yes, it has been battered out of them. We call them weak. They are not. We call them addicted to the treatment, they are not.

Whatever the case maybe, yes, it makes perfect sense not to allow anyone to degrade or hurt us and even more sense not to take any such treatment from any one. But walking out on a relationship is just not as easily done. There are emotions, fears and psyches involved.

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