Saturday, March 15, 2014

Is domestic abuse voluntary?

Here's my WND column for this weekend entitled Do women volunteer for abusive relationships?

A controversial subject, yes, but one I felt needed to be addressed.


  1. That was an intense article.

    I'm so sorry to hear about that young woman in your county.

    I'm so glad your mom overcame the desolation of her childhood.

    Just Me

  2. Amen! Men bear responsibility for the abuse they inflict, but the women they abuse have the responsibility to leave that situation when it turns abusive -- or recognize the signs and never get in that kind of relationship in the first place.

    I have never understood why women stay with abusive men, even when the men have tried to kill the women. I've been dealing with a woman who finally left her husband after a decade and a half of him abusing her, but now she wants to go back. Even after he hurt her severely recently, hurt the kids, and put all of them in a potentially deadly situation, she still wants to go back. Ridiculous.

    In the beginning, I was fighting left and right for her and the kids, bending over backwards trying to get her some help. Now, not so much. It's gotten to the point where I can only surmise that she wants to be in this kind of relationship, because she certainly won't do what's necessary to get out of it. We tried getting her into a shelter and practically had to force her to get even basic medical treatment for her latest injuries, but she wouldn't do anything for herself (and she's certainly old enough to know how -- she just won't do it. Grrrr!). I simply do not understand that kind of thinking. Why choose to be helpless? Why choose to be abused? No matter how much we, the cops, and the family try to help, it's ultimately her responsibility to make the choice and do what needs to be done, but she puts forth no effort at all. Sometimes I just want to scream at her to grow up, grow a spine, and do what's right, but I'm sure that would be a waste of time, too. Her kid ended up bloody and she herself should have been in a hospital after the latest incident, but she wants to go back to the scum that did it. I feel sorry for the kids because they can't help where they are. But the mom has a choice, and she chooses to put herself and her kids in that situation. She refuses to take any responsibility for herself or her kids, and lets the hubby beat her routinely so she doesn't have to think or do anything for herself, because he controls everything, and being a grown-up is just too hard for her. Not kidding (I truly wish I were). This is actually how she thinks. She has, indeed, made victimhood her career. It's pathetic.

    Also, I just can't buy her line that she stays in an abusive relationship "for the children." That's just bull. If the kids are seeing daddy beat the daylights out of mommy all the time, all they're being taught is that it's OK for women to be abused. "He needs me," or "He loves me" is no excuse for anyone to take repeated beatings. And really, how many times do you have to hear "this is the last time" before figuring out there IS no "last time?" All that kind of man needs is a punching bag, and it's sad that so many women are ready and willing to provide them with one.

    If someone wants to hurt me, they had better make sure they do it right the first time, because hell hath no fury like this ticked-off woman, and unlike the woman mentioned above, I won't stand for someone trying to hurt me or mine. I certainly wouldn't stand for anyone trying to hurt ANY child, nor would I allow someone to use their fists on me, again and again. Once is bad enough, but if there's a second time, all bets are off, and there is going to be hell to pay.

    Sorry for the rant, but this is a huge pet peeve of mine. We try so hard and sacrifice so much to help these women, but if they won't do anything to help themselves and continue to go back to the abuse time and time again, why are we supposed to continue to feel sorry for them?

    1. hope the social workers are told about this. the kids need to go to foster care, possibly their grandparents.
      try to influence protection for the kids.

  3. I personally think it's a self-esteem issue and/or lack of a good father in the home. My mother, one of seven, lost her dad when she was a few years old. My grandmother never remarried, so the children all grew and supported her all her life until she died at 98 years of age. So her and her youngest brother were raised without a father. From grandmas stories, grandpa was very physically abusive, so his death was just as well. My mother quit grade school to also help with food, etc. at 14 she was a maid, housecleaner, etc. She met my dad at around 20 and ended up marrying him. He was an alcoholic and beat her often. Since I'm the 6th of eight, I don't remember her black eyes, bruises, etc. She told me a few times that she didn't speak english and could not have supported us alone, and was just scared. Going to maybe third grade didn't help either. She endured abuse for many years until the older ones were old enough to defend her. My dad came from a very dysfunctional home where he was made boss and women were not valued. His mother was the lover to my grandpa that was married with at least six children. So, my paternal grandma had seven sons with a married man that was probably abusive too. Don't know that story. She was 15 when she had the first one. It's a vicious cycle. Fast forward a generation and I'm happily married woman that chose to marry a good Christian man. I DECIDED that I was not going to be anyones punching bag. I'm better than that. I'm a child of the most High God. Most of those women are weak minded and just think so low of themselves. It's sad, but it does take two. Blessings to you and your family Patrice. :)

  4. Reasons:

    1) They're scared. They DIDN'T see the signs-- or didn't hear their gut instinct speaking-- when they got into the relationship, and now they're scared he'll kill them if they try to leave. It happens.

    2) They're scared. They got themselves into it, they made their bed and now they must lie in it. Maybe they even asked for help to get out, only to hear just that. They can't leave. Else they'll be judged, condemned, and shunned. It happens. Especially among "Christians" (in quotes because I find it a rather Pharisaic response).

    3) They're scared. They didn't have any skills, or they've been out of the workplace for as long as they've been in the relationship, or he didn't start hitting them until after the baby came. Now they're scared that, if they leave, they'll end up on welfare (or worse).

    4) They're scared. They're fat, they're ugly, they're not very smart, they have some disability-- some reason that they believe him when he says that no one else could ever love them. They believe that, if they leave, they'll live and die alone-- and they're tempered such that they believe that's a fate worse than being beaten.

    5) They're stupid (or emotional, which in my opinion generally amounts to the same thing). Even though he beat them, he has some redeeming qualities (most people do). They're not just making excuses when they say, "But I love him." Love doesn't come out of a faucet that you can turn off and on, and you can love something and still have it be terribly bad for you, and nobody ever bothered to tell them that (especially the first part).

    Leaving HURTS. If they're not prepared for that, and they can't find someone with enough empathy to help them get through the first few months of miserable pain, they'll probably give in and go back.

    Notice I didn't say, "sympathy." Sympathy, or pity, or whatever you call it when you say, "Oh, you poor THING!!"...

    ...that's completely freakin' useless. To anyone, at any time.

  5. I came to the site through "before it's news" It appears that they have made your site one that they are posting almost every day. I hope it brings more folks to your wonderful site!

  6. A beautiful teen-aged girl in our school was dating a popular football player. He started beating her. According to her he just hit her "a time or two"--enough to leave noticeable bruises. She continued to date him. Two other players cornered him and hit him "a time or two" and told him what would happen to him if he continued his violent behavior. They said if he went to the police that they had friends who would "remind" him to behave if they weren't around. The couple continued dating and later married. She remains healthy and unbeaten. Sometimes a violent boy needs to understand that the victim has friends to defend her. For a woman the police can handle the problem. Incarceration is what he needs.

  7. It sucks being one of the many children those women have with those men, especially being the oldest. :(

    1. Yes Emma, I can totally agree with you. I was the oldest child from a home where both my mother and I were abused on a fairly regular basis. My mother stayed because she was afraid that she would not be able to financially support three children. I continued the cycle by marrying an abusive man. Did I see that he was abusive before marriage ? Even after all these years, the only thing I did notice was he probably drank to much ( something my dad also did ). After 4 yrs of marriage and three children , I had had enough and saw an attorney to file for divorce, this attorney gave me some really good advice. I was told to hold off on filing, go back to school and pursue a career that could support me and the children, keep records of all of our financial dealings in a safe place and then file for divorce. You see I had unknowingly married into a very well "connected family " as in " the God Father ". I knew that he had the means of making good his threat of not living to see our children grow up if I ever left. It took me 6 more years , but I finished Nursing School and by this time I really did not care if he killed me, I had to get out no matter the risks. To make a very long story short, I did leave, went through hell on earth and have never regretted or looked back on that decision .Today I am married to a good Christian man and live a quiet life in rural America .

  8. Most so called domestic violence is a two way street of mutual aggression. Of course one party always completely denies having any part of the aggressive behavior because "It doesn't count" don't ya know.

    1. My mom always said that women who stay with an abusive spouse/boyfriend, etc. have worse issues than the person doing the abusing, and I have to agree.

    2. Really? Really? You don't know what you are talking about.

  9. It's not just women who do it - I know a guy who married a manipulative abusive woman even after many problems and against the advice of many friends (including me). 2 years later he has moved in and out of her house several times, been in jail on trumped up charges from her, and he still won't leave her.

  10. Great article Patrice...however, not all abusers fit the mold...and not all abusees fit that mold either...

    My parents have been married 50+ yrs and while there was a period I remember of verbal and possibly emotional abuse there was no physical abuse

    I did marry into two abusive relationships...the first was verbal/emotional and got physical...that's where I drew the line..the second, it was a lot harder to get out of, and it was never physical...

    My current partner meets a lot of the 'markers' your post mentions...

    BUT we are a lot older...coming from similar situations...I feel we are a lot wiser...

    I no longer let anyone else make decisions for me...that was done when I left #2...I do what I want when I want...I do consult him, but ultimately it is my decision...I could go on...

    I guess my main message here is, a lot of it has to do with age and wisdom...I was young, dumb, thought I was in love, tried to keep it together for the kids, and so on...

    But girl, I hit 40 and I had had enough of it! It was time to do what I had to, and live my OWN life! And I can honestly say I am in the best place in my life right now, 10+ years later! I may be a minority, but again I say age and learning make all the difference!

  11. My niece met the man of her dreams, they dated for two years, he was clean cut, dressed nicely, worked hard, and treated her like a queen, until after they were married, then the abuse started. She divorced him and met another man, they dated for two years, then married, but he scared the daylights out of me, he had a shaved head, earring in his ears, nose, and many tattoos, none too attractive either, he has never threatened her, beat her, or abused her physically or verbally and treats her and her daughter with the utmost respect. He is even the peace keeper between my niece and her ex-husband. Taught me never to judge a book by the cover.

  12. It's a toxic relationship that often creates an emotional positive feedback loop for all involved. I doubt I'm all that odd in hearing from one person in a relationship "If he/she just didn't do BLANK our lives would be perfect. While physical abuse gets they most attention, mental abuse happens a lot as well and many men have no one to turn to in as it is seen as being weak.
    I'm not sure what the solution is but it is not a simple one. I think it may ned a return to some old values and incoperate some new one as well.

    I had people that tried to bully me as a child. I simply ignored them in general and was willing to fight to the death when that ignoring was not enough. Perhaps ther will always be some people that will accept being someone's punching bag in life in order not to be alone. I hate it but unless a person is willing to demand some self-respect of walk away from a toxic relationship these actions will continue.

  13. There are many mentally ill people out there. Many will when under stress react badly. Statistically there ae ablout as many men and women with these problems. You can focus in on the men who commit domestic violence but studies have shown 56% of domestic violence is committed by women and something like 70% of murders of children is committed by the mother. The legal system focuses on domestic violence committed by men and if you were to get all your information from that and the MSM you would never know how equally the violence is distributed among both genders.

  14. While everyone blames the man for being abusive, it is my experience that the woman is (generally) also abusive, if not physically, then mentally.

    Wuite often, she pokes and prods the man, helping him to get angrier and angrier.

    I'm not a mean guy, but I saw this in a family where I was dating a woman. Her sisters and mother generally prodded the men into anger and eventually, violence.

    For many women, the attention they recieve from abusive men is part of what they crave. If they do't get it, they'll do something to gain his attention. and they will generally keep at him until he grows angry.

    For some men, this anger leads to violence. But in a day or two, she will do whatever she needs to do to make him angry and violent again.

    I have come to the3 conclusion that it is a control thing for some women...They are able to manipulate and verbally emasculate their men in this manner.

    This may be a part of why they go back as well.

    I left 5 years ago.

  15. At this point in my life, I can't believe I ever tolerated being physically and mentally abused more than 30 years ago. I am fortunate that I removed myself from that situation, met a wonderful man and moved on with my wonderful life. Yes, I believe women are victims and after so long, feel as if they have no choice. The comments from people who say "if a man were to...slap, hit, spit", whatever, "I would......." On the outside I thought I was strong like that also, but when you are in that circumstance, mind sets change. Sorry for the ramble, can be a sore subject

  16. Your mom had the strength and vision to get out of that cycle. Not all of them do.
    My mother didn't (she would've ended up paying my father alimony on her piddly librarian salary that supported our entire family - his death was a blessing, after 38 years of marriage, because they weren't quitters). When you grow up with that being all you know with little to no healthy relationships around to learn from and little to no self-respect (i.e. you don't deserve a good relationship), it becomes your normal. :( So my sister and I of course gravitated towards 'men' who belittled us and all that, because, well, that's what we thought marriage was all about. Luckily I managed to escape that situation, and ended up with an amazing computer nerd (those are the ones to look for!). But some aren't so lucky.

    Not to mention, it can feel scary when you're out there alone (and single). Sometimes it's just easier to deal with the enemy you know vs. the enemy you don't.

  17. Many abused women, myself included, keep silent about what has happened to them because they know they will be blamed or judged. Several responses here show the wisdom of being silent. "Tell someone" they say. But how do you trust people such as I see in these comments? I was going to tell my story after reading the article, but after reading the responses, I will do what I always do: Shut up.

  18. As another poster points out around half of all domestic abuse is inflicted by women. This is true but it is also true to say that it is not acceptable that either party indulge in it, particularly when you have children.
    Recently I lost a long time friend.
    Phil was a gentle soul who spent most his life being abused by his wife who had stabbed him on three occasions, the last being fatal. He suffered injuries from hot irons, scalding water, as well as being beaten with fists and quite a few times a fireplace poker.
    He used to take refuge in our holiday cottage when things got too bad bringing the children with him before they grew up.
    The police were involved, often, yet he refused to bring charges. He would always say he loved her and she didn't mean to do what she did or that it was his fault.
    Despite our best efforts and even that of his children, we never convinced him to leave her.
    She was charged with murder and that's precisely what it was murder slowly stretched out over twenty two years.

  19. Sometimes, I think it is that the abuser starts out showering the woman with attention that she has never had. That attention feels good, but eventually it results in losing the friends you had before that relationship... he does things that make them uncomfortable (that you don't know about) so they stop coming around, and/or he just sucks up all your time and attention, until the only other "friends" you have are people who are his friends first. You know who they'll side with later. Then the emotional/psychological abuse starts, and you have no one to talk to, no one who will tell you this isn't right and it isn't your fault. Then the abuse turns physical, and you have no one to turn to but strangers in a DV shelter - who wants to admit to a stranger that they have so totally misjudged the worth of their SO? If they cannot admit they were wrong, even to themselves, then their SO must be right, and they deserve the abuse. So why leave? Especially since you have nowhere to go/no one to go to anyway. You try to excuse it... He had a bad day. He's not like that when he isn't drinking (and he isn't always drunk). I made him mad. Whatever. It's the devil you know, and the thought that the only person who ever paid you any attention was an abusive jackass, and that must be the best you can do.
    I got out and did infinitely better.

    here's another way - my grandmother grew up in a home where her father repeatedly picked up her mother by the throat and tried to slam her through a plaster and chicken wire wall when he was drunk, which was often. She got married at 16 to get out of that house. My grandfather slapped her once and she told him if he ever did it again, she'd cleave his skull with an ax in his sleep. She wasn't kidding. I wouldn't call their 65 year marriage happy by any means, but he never tried to hit her again.

  20. My friend married a man who hit her...and she knew before they were married that he had an anger problem...but her dad was an alcoholic and she never knew how he would behave. She told me that "at least I knew what to expect with my husband". I'm happy to say that they got counseling and I believe that helped quite a bit.

    My dad was not physically abusive to me (although I found out much later that he was abusive to one of my brothers) but he was very dominant and very verbal. He could cut you to pieces with his mouth - and when he was angry he was so intense that it was often frightening. My first marriage was to a man who was manipulative and emotionally abusive. I was an unattractive girl (so I thought), relatively young and also very romantic. I stayed in it for 10 years because I honestly didn't think I had a choice. (Thank goodness no children.) I also didn't know how to go about leaving. After I got some counseling and realized that he couldn't treat me that way unless I allowed him to, the lights went on. I filed for divorce. My second husband is a man of incredible personal integrity and gentleness, who treats me well and is a wonderful father to our two children. We have been married now for almost 20 years. I look back on myself all those years ago and wonder why it took me so long to wake up. Actually I think growing up with my dad made the first relationship feel sort of normal. One of my sisters married a very dominant man. He doesn't abuse her, but she is definitely subservient. I think she just thinks that "it feels normal".

    There was a study done comparing people suffering from clinical depression with people who were not. (A friend of mine did the study as part of her degree in clinical psychiatry.) Her hypothesis was that people who were depressed were not able to function well on certain tests that measured the ability of the brain to solve problems. It was actually true - apparently part of the brain that deals with seeing connections between things and solving problems sort of shuts down. Hence the prevalence of people not being able to take steps to get themselves out of certain situations, when the steps look perfectly obvious to others outside. Maybe that's why some people go back into abusive relationships, they honestly can't see any way out and also are hoping that somehow it will change.

  21. “I’m quite serious when I say I don’t understand why women stay with abusers.”
    To be frank, I do not understand either. Neither do I understand how Jesus could have walked to Jerusalem. That is to say, in short, love remains a mystery to me. Some days love is grand consolation; other days love is the instrument of your torture. While I know little, I am sure there is grace involved somehow in these women’s and men’s lives. May we look upon them and know we are seeing the face of the Christ and at the same time jump to help them bear their cross.

  22. I think your article was good and there are many women who are lying to themselves about how bad their situation is. However, i also feel like the abuser stereotype was a little generic and one-size fits all. Abusers aren't all tattooed skin heads. Some women do get blind sided and try to stick it out because they've already walked down the aisle, possibly had a child, even. I think women need to look at their situations honestly and say, "If i had a sister or friend in this position, what would i advise them to do?" And then do it.If a man has anger issues, he needs help. If a woman has anger issues, she needs help. One thing i've noticed as one with anger problems, it can be hard to get the help you need. There are a million resources for people trying to leave abusers, but few for people trying to not be abusers. Just a thought. It's not meant to imply that all abusers are just misunderstood and crying out for help, but i think there are some people who could benefit from more support. The support also needs to come from someone other than their spouse, however, because a spouse can't be as objective as someone outside the situation.

  23. Sad to say that the above view of the signs are a bit flawed. Domestic abuse (by male or female abusers) may be more common in guys who look like the ones described above, but what about the Judges, Drs, Lawyers, etc who commit domestic abuse? Not as easy to spot, especially if your family thinks you've made a great choice in partners.
    Mom always raised us that "If your man beats you, well, he as to sleep sometime." I've known more and a couple of relationships where the abuse was mutual.
    That said, we need to raise girls (and sons!) who have enough self-respect to recognize the signs and get away when an abuser starts isolating them from their friends and family.