Thought for today:
"During my career as a Probation Officer, it astounded me to see so many women stay in an abused relationship with a man, even when they knew in their heart of hearts that remaining with him risked life and limb. The most common reasons I heard for the woman staying and not moving out included, 'I love him' or 'He's the father of my children' or 'He promised he will never hit me again.' On the other side of the coin, the most common response of the abuser as to why he behaved such was, 'She got me so angry' or 'She asked for it!' or 'She made me do it!'
While all marriages are supposed to be sacred, sadly not all are safe. Just because a woman isn't being physically punched, slapped or kicked doesn't mean that they are not in an abusive relationship. Verbal and psychological abuse goes unrecognised because they leave no visible scars. Abusers come from all walks of life and can be found in any home. They are widespread across the social class structure and can be business tycoons, lawyers, doctors, vicars and aristocrats as well as miners, factory workers, shelf fillers and the unemployed.
Hence, all abusers do not look like ogres to their neighbours. I have known ministers who would have been better described as 'monsters' and accountants who found it simpler to hit out before count to ten. Abusers often come across as nice, even charming, people when they interact with the general public, but behind closed doors, they use cutting words to exert control over those closest to them. I have found the emotions of anger and guilt most used within abusive situations to control and manipulate, and the visibly verbal threat to be the forerunner to the physical abuse that followed.
If the abused person stays in the abused situation, though the day may come when she decides to leave, unfortunately her children will never be able to leave behind the violence they witnessed growing up when they become adults. Many studies show that children of battered relationships demonstrate significant behavioural and emotional problems themselves and many go on to become batterers and battered in their future relationships. While I have known the woman to be the abuser and the man the abused, the ratio of such frequency is far less common to experience.
The one thing that all battered wives and partners should know is that, like bullying, if left unchecked, it will not stop and will increase in both frequency and intensity!
The anatomy of an abusive relationship is often formed by a skewed notion of 'love' in which the abused person is led to believe that she is receiving love as well as punishment from the abuser (He does this because he really cares about me!)
There is a recognised cycle of violence that takes place in all abusive relationships which has three main stages: The honeymoon stage, the tension building stage and the battering stage.
The honeymoon stage is where the first signs of things to come emerge. The woman senses tension being built and one day she is hit. This is immediately followed by words of profuse apology, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I will never do this again. I hate that this happened. I’ll make it up to you,' but then the cycle starts over again. It is common for the second physical assault to come within six months after the first. During this period, an imbalance of power emerges between the man and the woman, which is systematically reinforced and strengthened at every opportunity and produces a state of 'traumatic bonding.'
At this stage, the woman being abused never knows whether she will be hugged or hit by the man and this uncertainty creates a psychological tendency to stay involved in the relationship instead of getting out. By the time that the abuser has exerted total control over every aspect of her daily life, the woman is often too fearful to try and leave. She knows that her partner will perceive such running away as a sign of rejection and betrayal, and punish her as a consequence.
Getting out of an abusive relationship involves much more than packing one's case and finding a safe place to go. Before the abused person dare go, they first have to find the courage to make the move and this is far from easy. Whether or not a 'Safe House' is secured or other means employed, 'courage' is the requirement necessary to promote the act of leaving and 'self-respect' is needed to sustain it.
'But where do I find the courage?' I was most frequently asked. My reply was always the same. 'Courage is rooted in the soil of 'self respect' and cannot grow from any other seed. Until you learn to respect yourself, you will not start caring about yourself and what others do to you. Until the time comes that you start caring what others do to you and how they treat you, you will never find the courage within you to say, 'Stop' or 'That's it, I've had enough' and 'I want out!'
Sometimes my advice was taken, resulting in a much improved situation where the woman left and started to move on with her life, but so often it wasn't. There were some occasions where the woman got up the courage to leave, but then went back for reasons known only to her. I even had one man who saw his mother repeatedly physically and sexually abused as a child and in adult life he became a wife beater and eventually murdered his wife by burning her.
Despite the horrific imagery of abuse women posted here, the effects of such brutality should never be hidden from public gaze. The whole of my working experience reinforces the true importance of having 'self respect', without which, life will beat up on you in so many unattractive, unhealthy and unhappy ways!" William Forde: September 18th, 2015..