AFRICANGLOBE – Every day women throughout the world find themselves in abusive relationships. What makes us so susceptible to abuse? Many people believe that if we witnessed abuse as children or experienced abuse then we are more likely to end up in an abusive relationship. However, this is not always the case.
I have seen women who were self-confident, smart and high in spirits get in a relationship that at first seemed normal and healthy only to end up with their lives shattered. In no time these women go from confident to being withdrawn and afraid.
Abusive men use numerous tactics to break the women who love them and they often stop at nothing to accomplish this task. As women, we do not have to put up with abuse, but getting out of an abusive relationship isn’t as easy as most outsiders assume.
Abuse comes in different forms: mental, emotional, verbal, physical.
Chances are if you are experiencing one of these, then eventually you will experience them all! In my experience the abuse always escalates. I have never seen it decline or stop.
Men often abuse for several reasons: They are insecure in their relationships, they have no control in other aspects of their lives, they are trying to make up for their shortcomings, and because they like the sense of power. Some of these men may have witnessed abuse as children and are simply mimicking what they have seen. The majority of abusive men do not feel that they have a problem and if asked about the abuse they deny it.
Women, when you are with a man day in and day out and he is calling you a “b*tch” or a “h*0” or he tells you that you are worthless, ugly, too skinny or too fat, you do not have to put up with it. If he degrades you on a daily basis and suddenly you begin to believe everything he’s been saying, at that moment he has you right where he wants you – under his control.
There’s a saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” If only words didn’t hurt us! Harsh words cause damage that can take a lifetime to heal. It has taken me years to realize that I am worthy and that nothing that was told to me during my abusive relationship was true. You will never heal if you remain in the relationship. You have to break free and have no contact with your abuser, never again.
Verbal abuse affects us mentally and emotionally, but too often the abuse doesn’t stop there. In most situations the abuse escalates and becomes physical. Once the physical abuse begins it is more difficult to walk away from the relationship. We fear for our lives never knowing when the abuser will cross a line from beating us to actually killing us. When we fight back, the beatings are much more severe.
Many women have grabbed a knife or a gun in an attempt to defend themselves and have killed their abusers, only to find themselves charged with murder. Where is the justice? Some states do not have self-defense laws so even if the abuse has been documented these women are still in the wrong.
Most of these women end up pleading down to a lesser charge of manslaughter and serving time in prison, all because they were protecting themselves. Sometimes in these relationships it is kill or be killed. I do not condone murder, nor am I trying to justify it, but at the same time I realize how bad abusive relationships can be.
Abuse doesn’t affect only the women, but any children in the household as well. Children see their moms being beaten and it terrifies them. Some children will try to stop the beating that is in progress only to find themselves being hit in the process.
These children eventually grow up, and they think that abuse is normal. Girls often grow into women who end up being abused, while boys grow into abusive men. Still, there are a few who grow up and realize that abuse is wrong, but that happens with less than half of these children. We must end this cycle!
I have found myself on the receiving end of a man’s fist and I am fortunate that he didn’t kill me or me him. I look back and recall the numerous times he pulled his .45 and with precision aimed at my head. I think about the day in January 2008 when he pinned me to the floor and began punching me in the face, the first blow drawing blood.
Back then I, like so many women, wished for death. I wanted to get out of the relationship, but every time I would get up the courage to leave he would begin to cry, to beg and tell me how sorry he was and how he couldn’t live without me.
Then my resolve would fade and I would stay. My family begged me to come home and forget about him, but the hold he had on me was more powerful than their love. Today I wonder how I could have been so weak and so needy.
Ladies, if you are in an abusive relationship, I’m here to tell you that there is hope. Whatever lies your man has been feeding you, they are just that … LIES! No one has the right to disrespect you, to hit you or to threaten you. You do not have to put up with it and you don’t have to be afraid. Women, you do not need a man to define who you are. You can make it on your own!
Take a few minutes and evaluate your self-worth. I will tell you what it took me too long to see: You are beautiful, you are intelligent, you are deserving of happiness, you are capable of supporting yourself and your children, you deserve to be treated like a queen, you deserve to be truly loved, you are strong, you are a survivor. Most of all, you are worthy!
If you are being abused, tell someone – a family member or friend. You don’t have to be ashamed. There are support groups you can contact, and family members are often willing to help. You can be single and have a happy and complete life.
Spend time finding out who you are as a person and learn to love yourself. Until you do, you can never truly love someone else. Respect yourself and show these men that you will not accept abuse when you are deserving of so much more.
There are many good men, real men, who will love you for you and never hit you. So stand up and be strong, take control of your life, move forward, and once you are free from the prison of abuse, you will see how much better your life is.
One woman at a time, we will win the war on abuse. Never lose hope and never give up. You are not alone. As women, we will succeed.
By: Amy Buckley