Abuse and violence against women come in many forms.
Women who live with abuse may:
- feel shameful and may want to keep the abuse secret
- feel like they are crazy and that there is something wrong within themselves
- feel powerless to change or improve their situation
- fear of reprisal from the abuser
- doubt their own judgement or wonder if they are to blame
- find they are unable to express an opinion in front of their partner
- have to ask permission to spend money, see friends, and feel afraid of the response
- feel increasingly depressed, trapped, and powerless
There are many barriers to leaving an abusive relationship, including:
- lack of affordable housing
- no one will believe her about the abuse
- fear of losing their children
- false belief that they will loose everything if they leave the home
- knowledge that the law gives them little protection
- false belief that they are responsible for the abuse
- fear of poverty without his income
- fear of continued violence against themselves or other family members
- he’s not abusive all the time
- false belief that things will get better after the birth of a child
- he says he’s sorry and won’t do it again
- false belief that he’s a good father despite the children hearing or witnessing his abuse
- still love their partner
- partner’s threats of suicide if she leaves
- that she can change him
- that if she just does what she’s told, everything will be alright
- isolation from family and friends
Who is to blame for the violence?
There is no place for violence in any relationship at any time. It is never justified.
Abusers often blame other people or things for their violence, such their children, frustration, work pressures, or their own upbringing. Many abusers say their partner provokes them to be violent.
No one can cause another person to be violent.
Your partner makes choices about how to respond to you or to his own frustrations. Violence can only make matters worse, since it always hurts you and creates a climate of fear and mistrust.
Drugs and alcohol do not cause people to be violent.
While some people are abusive only after they have been drinking, this does not mean the alcohol causes the violence. It just makes it easier to avoid taking responsibility for the violence. In other words, the drinking gives a convenient excuse to say, ‘It wasn’t me. It was the alcohol.’ When someone over-drinks and is violent, there are two problems to take responsibility for – drinking and violence.
We all have a right to:
- not to be abused
- to freedom from fear of abuse
- to request and expect assistance from the police and social agencies
- to leave an abusive environment
- to privacy
- to legally prosecute my abusing spouse
- not to be perfect