After reading a previous blog that asked the question, “why do women stay in abusive relationships?” I was motivated to find out a little more. I read over the section on Battering and Physical Abuse from our chapter 10 readings and I was blown away at what I read. Even though there is no doubt mental and physical abuse occurring between two men or even two women, I wanted to focus my blog post on the abuse in a heterosexual relationship.
Too often I have heard stories of a woman being involved in an abusive relationship. Each and every time I hear of these situations I find myself asking the same question, why doesn’t she leave? The text offers several reasons why a woman may stay in these relationships or sadly, return to the same abusive partner 5 to 7 times before leaving for good. A common trend in a lot of the reasons given was tied to shame. Sadly, the woman may stay in the relationship because they feel as if somehow the abuse is their fault (similar to rape victims). Low self-esteem may perpetuate the cycle of abuse as well. An abused woman may feel a lack of self-esteem once the abuse begins and in turn, drive her back to her abuser. Worrying what people may think if they ever spoke out about the abuse also causes many women to keep the abuse private. Hiding the abuse leads to the woman feeling more and more isolated, driving down her self-esteem and keeping her from getting the proper support she needs to get out of the situation. Again, the text elaborates quite a bit more on these reasons but I just felt the need to draw attention to the main theme.
As I’m writing this blog I realize that all along I’ve been asking the wrong question. The question should never have been, “why doesn’t she leave?”, instead I (we) should be asking, why are they being abused to begin with? I really think we as a society need to take a step back and look at how an abuser is shaped and molded by the world around him. In lecture we watched a really good Youtube clip about this called, “ToughGuise”, that helped shed light on many of the issues working to perpetuate this cycle of abuse.