Millions of women are physically, sexually, or emotionally abused every year by someone they know and love – their husband or partner. It happens to women of all ages, races, religions and income levels.
Domestic violence includes:
- Denying freedom
- Withholding money
Does you partner:
- Threaten to hurt or kill you, your children or your pets?
- Say it’s your fault if he or she hits you…then promises it will not happen again (but it does)?
- Put you down in public or keeps you from contacting family or friends?
- Throw you down, push, hit, choke, kick or slap you?
- Force you to have sex when you don’t want to?
- Take your money or refuse to give you money?
- Threaten to commit suicide?
- Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?
If you have checked even one of the above, you may be in an abusive relationship. If you need to talk, call us at (242) 328-0922.
Why Women Stay in Abusive Relationships
Many women stay in abusive relationships because they feel they have no choice. They are afraid that they will not be able to support themselves or their children. They are afraid that friends or family will think that they have failed. There are several reason why women choose to stay with someone who is abusing them.
Some of these reasons might be:
- of leaving and fear of staying
- of reprisal
- for her life
- Financial dependence
- finding work to support herself and family
- few or out dated job skills
- unaware of legal rights
- lack of support
- Physical illness
- coping with situation drains energy
- Emotional dependence
- she may still love her partner, especially in the “honeymoon period”
- Social Pressures
- may feel she is responsible for the success or failure of marriage
- may have been pressured by parents, community, church to try and hold on
- Low self-esteem
- feels responsible for abuse
- that she caused it
- Cycle of Abuse
- may feel that family violence is normal, especially if she was physically abused as a child or witnessed her mother being beaten
- lack of alternative housing may force a woman to stay
- Extended family members may not be willing or able to accommodate her and her children
Staying in an abusive relationship may result in serious injury or even death. Women should NEVER be beaten.
Cycle of Violence
There is a recognizable pattern to the behaviour of the perpetrator of domestic violence, which can be helpful to the victim so he/she can see the signs of impending violence.
Some of them include:
- Apologies: “I’m sorry”- “It will never happen again”, giving flowers and gifts. Denial of incident and minimizing the hurt
- Duration: Shortest of stages lasting from 5 minutes or 5 days. Abuse ranges from pushing, shoving, kicking, punching, to the use of weapons
- Irritability: Woman can sense irritability and feels she can and must resolve situation. and withdraws from partner. Partner senses her withdrawal. Tension increases. Sometimes woman may ignite situation to get it over with
Leaving an abusive relationship
It can be very difficult to decide to leave an abusive relationship. Call your local Crisis Centre for support, the counsellors there can assist with a safety plan.
When you have decided to leave, pack a bag and leave it with a friend or neighbour. Make sure that you pack extra clothes and, if you have a child or children, pack a favourite toy. Keep an extra set of house and car keys outside of the house in case you have to leave in a hurry.
Important papers that you should take with you are:
- Birth certificates
- Any medication and health insurance papers
- Cheque and/or savings books
- Pay slips
- Any court papers
Again, it is important to plan cautiously. This can be the most dangerous time for a woman in an abusive relationship. Please call us at 328-0922 if you would like advice on leaving your abusive partner.
Family Violence and the Impact on Children
- Violent behaviour is learned and children who witness violence in the home often become either perpetrators or victims of violence in adulthood
- Children who witness family violence tend not to perform as well as their peers in school, at sports and social interaction
- A large percentage of young offenders charged with crimes against people have been exposed to domestic violence as children
- Children who have witnessed domestic violence have a much greater chance of having behavioural problems
- Children from violent homes may blame themselves, may have sleep problems, nightmares, stomach and head aches
- Girls may become withdrawn and passive, boys aggressive and bullying.