I Battled Myself in the War He Started: My Experience in an Abusive Relationship

Battered Woman Syndrome: What It Is and How to Get Help

I Battled Myself in the War He Started: My Experience in an Abusive Relationship

Serious, long-term domestic abuse can result in a mental disorder called battered woman syndrome. Battered woman syndrome, which is also sometimes called battered wife syndrome, is considered a subcategory of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

With battered woman syndrome, a woman may develop a learned helplessness that causes her to believe she deserves the abuse and that she can’t get away from it. In many cases, it’s why women don’t report their abuse to police or avoid telling friends and family what’s really going on.

Battered woman syndrome is serious, which is why it’s taken into account in homicide cases when women murder their abusive partners.

There are four stages that women who develop battered woman syndrome typically go through:

  1. Denial: The woman is unable to accept that she’s being abused, or she justifies it as “just being that once.”
  2. Guilt: She believes she has caused the abuse.
  3. Enlightenment: In this phase, she realizes that she didn’t deserve the abuse and acknowledges that her partner has an abusive personality.
  4. Responsibility: She accepts that only the abuser holds responsibility. In many cases, this is when she’ll try to escape the relationship.

Some women in abusive relationships never make it past the first 2 or 3 stages, as domestic violence can be fatal.

Battered woman syndrome is caused by sustained and serious domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse typically follows an extremely predictable cycle, as follows:

  • The abuser will win over the new partner, often moving quickly into a relationship with tactics “love-bombing,” grand romantic gestures, and pressuring for commitment early.
  • The abuser will be emotionally or physically abusive. This often starts small, a slap instead of a punch, or punching the wall next to their partner.
  • The abuser will feel guilty, swearing they’ll never do it again, and be overtly romantic to win their partner over.
  • There will be a temporary “honeymoon” period, where the abuser is on their best behavior, luring their partner into thinking that they’re safe and things really will be different.
  • Abuse occurs, starting the cycle all over again.

Women become trapped in abusive relationships for many reasons, which can include:

  • financial dependence on the abuser, which is often manufactured by the abuser
  • wanting to have a complete family unit for their children’s sake
  • being afraid to leave
  • disbelief or denial that the partner is actually abusive
  • severe depression or low self-esteem that makes them think the abuse is their fault
  • believing that if the abuser loves them, it’s okay, and they can change the behavior

As a woman becomes trapped in the cycle of abuse, battered woman syndrome can develop. This syndrome makes it difficult for women to regain control.

Battered woman syndrome results in several distinct symptoms. A woman in an abusive relationship may:

  • think the abuse is her fault
  • hide the abuse from friends and family
  • fear for her life or the lives of her children
  • irrationally believe that the abuser is all-knowing and can see her every movement
  • be afraid and never know what side of their partner they’ll see that day — a loving partner or an abuser

If you’re concerned about a family member or friend, watch for several important symptoms that could signal she’s in an abusive relationship and needs help. These include:

  • withdrawing and making excuses not to see friends or family or do activities they once did (this can be something the abuser is controlling)
  • seeming anxious around their partner or afraid of their partner
  • having frequent bruises or injuries they lie about or can’t explain
  • having limited access to money, credit cards, or a car
  • showing an extreme difference in personality
  • getting frequent calls from a significant other, especially calls that require them to check in or that make them seem anxious
  • having a partner who has a temper, is easily jealous, or very possessive

Pay attention to these signs. You should also watch for clothing that could be hiding bruises, long-sleeve shirts in the summer.

Several serious side effects are associated with battered woman syndrome.

Short-term side effects that may be seen immediately include:

  • depression
  • lowered self-esteem
  • damaged relationships with friends and family
  • severe anxiety
  • feeling worthless or hopeless
  • feeling they have no control

Research has shown that battered woman syndrome and domestic abuse can result in long-term health consequences that can last for decades. Long-term effects can include:

  • PTSD- symptoms, including flashbacks, dissociative states, and violent outbursts against the abuser
  • health issues caused by stress, such as high blood pressure and associated cardiac problems
  • health issues from the physical abuse, such as damaged joints or arthritis
  • chronic back pain or headaches
  • increased risk of developing diabetes, asthma, depression, and immune dysfunction due to long-term stress

The first step in treating battered woman syndrome is to get the woman to a safe place away from her abuser. She isn’t safe until she does this. Form a safety plan and a getaway plan without the abuser. It’s also good to have a doctor examine any injuries that may have been sustained in the abuse.

A therapist with experience in PTSD or domestic abuse should be consulted. The therapist needs to validate the victim when the victim is detailing the abuse. The therapist should help her to see that it was not her fault. They should facilitate empowerment.

The therapist should also evaluate for other mental health conditions and factors that may have contributed to the woman not recognizing the abusive relationship in the early stages.

Anxiety and depression can result from battered woman syndrome. The therapist will use a combination of anti-anxiety medications, antidepressant medications, and talk therapy to help the woman regain control of her life.

In some cases, the therapist may recommend interpersonal therapy, where they help the woman establish stronger relationships with her support system. These supportive relationships may have been damaged due to isolation caused by the abuse.

If you think you have battered woman syndrome, it’s important to get help right away. Reach out to your support system as soon as possible if you feel comfortable doing so. You can also go to a therapist or call a domestic abuse hotline, whose numbers you can find on the following pages:

The therapist and hotlines can help provide you with resources and information, such as where to find a shelter. They can also help you develop a safety plan to get away from the abuser.

If you believe that you are in immediate physical danger, call 911 and ask the police to come immediately. Domestic abuse can be life-threatening, and women are often murdered by abusive husbands. Don’t take the risk.

How to help others

If you suspect that someone is in an abusive relationship or has battered woman syndrome, it’s important for you to withhold judgement.

Even though the abuser is in the wrong, many people to ask, “Why would she stay? Why would she let this happen?” Many women in these circumstances feel shame or are afraid to admit what’s been happening.

Make it easier for them to do so, and let them know that you’re always there if they need anything.

If possible, help them gain access to resources they don’t have. Help them develop a safety plan to get away from their abusers. If you can, give them access to transportation and information about shelters.

You should never force someone with battered woman syndrome to do something, however. They’re already being controlled by one person. And if you force them to leave before they’re ready, there’s a good chance they’ll go back to the abuser, putting them in even more danger.

Battered woman syndrome is often accompanied by legal issues. Women who press charges against their abusers, for example, need to testify against them in court. Women leaving abusive relationships may also file restraining orders to keep their abusers away from them and their family.

Many states recognize battered woman syndrome as a serious mental health condition. As a result, many of these states have laws that account for violent outbursts from battered women who injure or even kill their abusers. Legally, it can be argued (and won) that these instances were the result of severe mental distress or done in self-defense.

Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/battered-woman-syndrome

Understanding the Dynamics of Abusive Relationships

I Battled Myself in the War He Started: My Experience in an Abusive Relationship

Abusive relationships are fairly simple. They are driven by insecurity, the fear that feeds that insecurity, and an expectation of inconsistency, both real and perceived.

An abuser is morbidly insecure. S/he (yes, potentially she) has little sense of his/her own social value and makes an effort to gain or regain some semblance of that value through domination and control.

The fear that feeds this insecurity has two fronts: fear of not being lovable, and fear of appearing weak. The paradox here is that the abuser is, in fact, weak, which is why s/he abuses in the first place — to maintain a sense of control.

The perceived inconsistency on the part of the abuser by the victim is that the victim is not submitting to the abuser's domination.

The victim is also morbidly insecure, and for surprisingly similar reasons.

S/he also has little sense of his/her own social value, but makes an effort to establish that value by losing him/herself to the demand for submission.

The fear that feeds this insecurity is also about not being lovable or loved, and there is a willingness to accept the inconsistency of the abuser's attention for the sake of being loved.

The pathological need to control on the part of the abuser and the pathological need for attention on the part of the victim is a match made in heaven. We are all just a bunch of neurotic habits that tend to find a fit with our opposite to create a psychosocial balance. Abusive relationships are one of the most extreme cases of this dynamic.

So, what do abusive relationships look ? Well, it's not always about being slapped around.

Abusive relationships come in all forms along with physical abuse — social abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse (we are not referring here to molestation), financial abuse, etc.

Abuse is about a dynamic of extremes, domination and submission. It is about giving and withholding, also in the extreme.

Let's look at social abuse.

Have you ever had a boss who praises you one minute, and makes you wonder if you'll have a job tomorrow the next? Or lets you work yourself to the bone on a project, only to take the credit or give the credit to someone else? That's an abusive dynamic.

Your boss has a need to control you because s/he is threatened by you, or has a sense of insecurity about his/her own ability to motivate or lead. And you have a need for a job — a metaphor for being loved — so you put up with it. You submit.

The abuser is also driven by a more subtle and primitive sense of fear. Because s/he is often limited in his/her social perspective and sees things only from an egocentric perspective (i.e., has not developed a sense of ethnocentric compassion), s/he will lash out when s/he sees no other options.

The victim, on the other hand, tends to be an emotional anorexic. Starving themselves, or allowing themselves to be starved and then gorging on whatever comes their way, only to feel guilty about it later because of a sense of not deserving what they have received. There's a state of mind that drives this neediness — needing, but not having; having, but not wanting; and needing again.

Sometimes for the victim, there is also a sense of familiarity and comfort in an abusive relationship, which is why victims will often return to an abusive relationship or, leaving one, will unconsciously seek out another.

Think about growing up. Was there something that your family did that was unusual (sitting around at night, singing together, or working in a community garden) that you just assumed everyone did, and you were later surprised to find that you were mistaken? It's the same thing — if you are socialized to equate love with pain or withholding, then you will seek out love in that form.

My favorite example of this is the silverware drawer. Think about where the silverware drawer was in the house in which you grew up. Now, think about where it is in your house. Allowing for architectural differences, I suspect about 90 percent of you will find that it's in the same place it was when you grew up. It's a memory map . . . why fix it, if it's not broken?

But what if you don't, or can't, recognize that it's broken? That's where we get ourselves into trouble, and how we come to repeat social and relational patterns.

Abusive relationships are tricky and, just as a fish doesn't know that he's wet, we often don't see the subtle markers for abuse in a relationship, because we are in it. Further, relationships fill our needs, and when our needs are being met, we don't necessarily have an imperative to look at how they are being met.

Here's the thing: It all comes back to us, to our responsibility and accountability. But, in this case, it comes back to responsibility to ourselves and accountability to ourselves.

Instead of just riding the wave, if we choose to mindfully examine the nature of our relationships and make a determination of what is acceptable and not acceptable to us, of what feeds us, rather than bleeds us, then we are living, and loving, authentically and with mindful awareness.

© 2008 Michael J. Formica, All Rights Reserved

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Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/enlightened-living/200807/understanding-the-dynamics-abusive-relationships

PTSD and Domestic Abuse: Husbands Who Bring the War Home

I Battled Myself in the War He Started: My Experience in an Abusive Relationship

“If you don't hear from me in the next 24 hours, call the police,” she whispered, then hung up. My phone read 2:12 am; it was the third call in as many minutes. I tried calling back—no answer. I went back to sleep, angry at Kristi for calling in the middle of the night and scaring me with a single sentence.

The next morning I fired off an email: “I cannot, for the love of God, imagine what you were thinking when you called last night. Please tell me.” Kristi and I had become battle buddies at home while our husbands were serving in Iraq in 2004-05.

We had cried each time a military family member called with word of a soldier's death or suicide; we grieved at funerals and gravesites, marches and memorials.

We wept with and for each another when she or I learned that our husband had been mobilized for another deployment, and again when they finally came home.

Her husband had served three combat tours since 2002. The last one was the shortest yet, a mere 10 months, and Kristi wrote in an email that “he actually came back pretty normal this time!” That was nearly four months ago. When my phone rang in the afternoon early last fall, I saw that it was her, and picked up.

“Mark tried to strangle me last night,” she blurted out. “I called you from the bathroom. I locked myself in with the pets. I didn't want him to hurt my puppy. I'm sorry I called. I was just so scared, and I didn't have anyone else to call. I couldn't call the cops.”

I had gotten other midnight calls from other military wives, cowering in closets and under dining room tables, dialing for a lifeline to someone outside of their domestic war zone. But this was my friend: strong and smart, she had worked at a women's shelter nearly a decade ago. She knew all the warning signs.

And Kristi's husband adored her. He had no history of domestic violence, no pattern of abuse. He had made no attempts to isolate her from friends, family, or finances.

Mark's most recent post-deployment mental health assessment hadn't indicated any issues.

There hadn't been a single red flag before Mark wrapped his hands around Kristi's throat and squeezed, which is what makes veterans' household violence unique.

Abuse by combat veterans tends to have its own distinctive pattern that is un the recurring power-and-control cycle of abuse described in most domestic violence literature. The journal Disabled American Veterans stated that veteran interpersonal violence often involves “only one or two extremely violent and frightening abusive episodes that quickly precipitate treatment seeking.”

“Mark tried to strangle me last night,” my friend blurted out.

The majority of studies of treatment-seeking veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or combat-related mental health issues report that at least 50 percent of those veterans commit wife-battering and family violence.

Male veterans with PTSD are two to three times more ly than veterans without PTSD to engage in intimate partner violence, according to the VA, which also found that the majority of veterans with combat stress commit at least one act of spousal abuse in their first year post-deployment.

“How are you now?” I asked Kristi. “Where is he?”

“I'm okay, but my throat hurts a little. He's gone. I made him leave this morning.

I told him I didn't want to hear from him until he had talked to a counselor or gotten into some kind of treatment.

I said that I didn't feel safe with him, and I couldn't…I wasn't…” she sobbed, hiccupping out words, “I wasn't sure if I ever would again… Goddamn it. Goddamn this war.”

Kristi and I talked a lot over the next days and weeks—mostly she talked, and I listened. She was seeing a civilian counselor, but spent most of her time at home, shell-shocked and alone. She said her counselor just kept telling her to leave her husband, giving her lectures on the typical cycle of domestic abuse, so she tried to find someone who understood the military and veterans.

She called the military chaplain on post, but he never called back. She called the VA, and asked if they had support programs for wives of combat veterans. They didn't.

She called Military One Source, a free counseling assistance program provided by the Department of Defense. But the lady there just started to cry, and told her that she got “these calls all the time. I can't help you.

Unless you authorize a report, I can't authorize assistance.”

Kristi reached out to another military spouse that lived off post and was married to an Iraq war veteran.

She told her what happened, and her friend said that she and her husband had gotten into so many fights, hitting and screaming and throwing things at each other, that she ended up going to the domestic violence shelter.

Staff at the shelter told her that they didn't have programs for wives of veterans, and that her husband made too much money for her to stay there, anyway.

Meanwhile, Mark was staying with friends, or sleeping in his office. After several days of silence, they began talking, but she hasn't seen him since that night, and at times, she's wondered if she even wants to. “I miss him, I do,” she said. “We've already been apart way too much, but I am so angry, and hurt.”

Today, Kristi says that Mark's trying to get help, but it's not easy. He called a domestic violence hotline, and the person he talked to discouraged him from going to the men's group because he doesn't fit the abuser profile.

“It's not he can make a lot of calls about this when he works for 10 hours every day,” Kristi says. “His insurance won't pay for him go to a private therapist at night. They said he can only see someone at the base medical center, and he's not doing that.

He can't really sneak off for three hours in the middle of the day and drive down to the VA, either.”

Most family victims of veteran violence don't file reports with the police or their husband's command.

The military is stepping up domestic violence programs and education at military instillations, but the pressure on spouses within the active duty and retired military culture and much of the civilian population to remain silent is especially intense during a time a war. Speaking out about veteran violence at home seems to be perceived as more of a betrayal than the violence itself.

Even so, since 2003, there has been a 75 percent increase in reports of domestic violence in and around Ft. Hood, where the number of soldiers diagnosed with PTSD rose from 310 in 2004 to 2,445 in 2009.

Equally telling is the 2010 Military Family Lifestyle Survey, the second annual poll conducted by Blue Star Families (BSF) of military families with a loved one currently in the service. This year's survey included a ream of questions about returning-veteran violence. I don't think there was a single question on that topic last year.

When I last spoke to Kristi, she said that she had quit praying that she and Mark “would get their old lives back. That's gone.” Now, she just prays that the last deployment was, in fact, the last, and that someday, the war will end for them, too.

About 63,000 soldiers will return from combat tours between July and December. According to military statistics, nearly half of active-duty National Guard members, 38 percent of Army soldiers, and 31 percent of Marines report mental health problems upon return from Middle East deployments.

If just 20 percent of them have post-combat stress, then it can reasonably be projected that roughly half of those veterans will commit at least one act of severe domestic abuse or interpersonal violence in the coming year.

That's approximately 6,300 veterans' wives and kids who are at risk.

President Obama declared that major combat operations in Iraq are over. They may just be starting for thousands of America's military family members.

Names and identifying characteristics have been changed.

Stacy Bannerman is the author of When the War Came Home: The Inside Story of Reservists and the Families They Leave Behind (2006). When her husband was mobilized for his first deployment with the Army National Guard in 2003, Stacy joined Military Families Speak Out.

She is the force behind the Military Family Leave Act of 2009, and the effort to create a Military Family Advisory Council in Oregon. Stacy received the Patriotic Employer Award and the Above & Beyond Award from the Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve. Visit her at www.stacybannerman.

com.

Source: https://www.thedailybeast.com/ptsd-and-domestic-abuse-husbands-who-bring-the-war-home

Emotional Abuse: The Invisible Train Wreck

I Battled Myself in the War He Started: My Experience in an Abusive Relationship

In hindsight, I never felt my relationship with my husband of 22 years was abusive. One would certainly think it would be so easily detected; so easily felt. I would have never believed it could have been part of my life. The abuse crept into my life effortlessly and I subconsciously learned to survive through the horrific dysfunction. I despised it, yet couldn’t give it up.

Un physical abuse, emotional abuse is often more difficult to recover from, as the scars can often be more self-destructive. There are no visible marks and friends and family can barely detect your pain.

In the beginning, I thought my relationship struggles were the typical marital woes everyone faced as newlyweds. I felt determined to work through the battles I constantly faced.

I thought it was that part of my marital journey where I would suffer through and learn to accept my significant other’s faults. I was proud of my ability to survive. The scars on my heart began to thicken and block my ability to love this man.

The mistreatment felt so wrong, but my learned ability to forgive trumped all my instinctive feelings.

The turmoil was relentless. The few people I shared this with were oblivious to any abuse. Their empathy quickly turned to excuses for my husband’s irrational behavior.

They’d never witnessed any of it, so I am wondering if they ever really believed me or maybe thought I exaggerated the truth. The ups and downs became a regular gig in the days and months of my marriage. It never stopped or slowed down.

It was and is a toxic cycle in any abusive relationships. We would have great normal days, but then someone or something would cause a trigger reaction where there would be arguing, threats, and intimidation, then denial, blaming, and saying I caused him to act that way.

There was never an apology, but there was always a guaranteed silent treatment that followed and lasted for days. The communication would just stop. I became invisible, as well as my feelings.

The times I wanted to leave were immeasurable. He was an expert at convincing me I would never make it on my own and that the kids would hate me forever. Self-doubt was inevitable. The abuse became such a profound part of my life, yet I stayed. The level of toxicity increased through the years.

I became very depressed during our last years together as a couple. At one low point, I developed shingles. I felt trapped and unable to see how diminished my self-respect had become.

I lost my ability to be combative in arguments, because I’d have rather kept the peace than trigger an emotional outburst.

The joy and happiness in my life was trapped underneath the misery. I worried more about my kids’ and my husband’s lives than my own well being. It was pathetic, but it became my normal.

Truthfully, I did not even know what emotional and financial abuse was, or that it was considered domestic violence until I finally broke down and secretly went to a local women’s abuse center for counseling. Knowledge became power for me. I began to research and read up on the issues.

They all resonated with me. I learned the best way to handle an abuser and how to leave an unhealthy marriage.

My husband’s goal was to gain control and power over me through all the belittling, financial control, and manipulation. His behavior had become unpredictable and troublesome.

The more I pulled away from his grip on me, the tighter he held on. I had to carefully plan my escape. The last few months we were together, I had to act I would try to work on our relationship.

I pretended to care, when deep down I hated him, and I hated myself for allowing this man to tear apart my soul.

I began regular therapy, which gave me instant perspective. Every time I left the sessions, I felt more powerful. Just having an outsider view my marriage, who acknowledged my disheveled marital unraveling and allowed my doubts and fears to slowly dissipate.

It was if when I was inside the confines of his delusional world, I couldn’t think straight or function as the strong woman I once was. His constant barrage of hurtful words kept me fenced in on the emotional merry-go-round. My therapist explained once that this vicious and toxic cycle was what we needed in each other as partners.

He needed to be in control of my life, and I became accustomed to forgiving his bad behavior.

It took me an excruciating year of facing my fears to realize I had to leave or I would never make it out. I was afraid I would become seriously ill from internalizing the abuse for all those years.

The strong fist of domestic violence would end up costing me my life, my soul and my being! It wasn’t up to me to help him see his evil ways or making him better. That was his karma.

He had to help himself, and I knew I had to jump off the merry-go-round no matter how difficult it would be.

I blindsided him and left while he was away one day. With the support of family, my therapist, an attorney, and friends, I am starting a new life. It was the scariest decision I had ever made, but I now consider it to be an exciting new beginning for me. A new chapter has begun. I now write my own future and that is the power of self.

Emotional and financial abuse is real, and is as destructive to a human being as physical abuse. Here are some sane and loving directions for anyone who may be on the same park ride as I once was:

  • Get an attorney. If you can’t afford one, there are pro bono attorneys available.
  • If you love your home and find it too difficult to leave, or if the abuser refuses to exit and makes more money that you, you have to have to walk out the door. Make a plan, find a place if even temporary. It’s just a material item. Your sanity is far more important than any replaceable structure.
  • Do research information about emotional abuse. Call women’s centers in your area for free counseling and support. Knowledge is power. They can even help you with housing, finding free attorneys and filing a PFA if your situation warrants that.
  • Do not engage in any conversations with the abuser, especially after you leave. It’s their tool for getting you back on that detrimental ride of abuse. I blocked my abuser immediately from my cell phone and emails. My boundaries were not strong enough to guard off the hurtful words I wanted to leave behind. It has to be an abrupt cut off of all communication. If you have kids, the abuser can communicate through attorneys.
  • Learn how to love yourself. Involve yourself in a great support group or with others who have gone through similar situations. Most importantly, don’t look back; you are not going that way. Get therapy and work on YOU.

Source: https://womenforone.com/emotional-abuse-the-invisible-train-wreck/

Through the eyes of a domestic violence victim

I Battled Myself in the War He Started: My Experience in an Abusive Relationship

ANONYMOUS

I remember when my plea for help went largely unheard when I first started attempting to leave my abusive relationship.

I had spoken with friends and family in search for relief, only to find most of them judgmental and skeptical.

When I did talk to police, I told one officer my ex had threatened to destroy me if I ever revealed what was going on within our relationship. The officer told me he saw I had plenty of opportunities to leave the relationship, but chose to stay. He said people would question my decisions, and may not believe any abuse actually happened.

When I finally mustered the courage to come forward to ask for support during the early stages of my departure, I was shut down by many of the people I depended on to help pull me what had become a dangerous and volatile situation. Only a few people were supportive of my experiences.

If it had been that bad, I should have left earlier. I shouldn’t have made him angry. If I had been a better girlfriend, he wouldn’t have been so upset with me.   

The abuse had started right on time, right when it was too late to cut ties and back out. I was in love for the first time and unwilling to give up the relationship over what seemed a few disagreements. I didn’t see the red flags for what they were. At first, I thought of them as compromises. My partner wasn’t perfect, but he gave me plenty of reasons to love him. 

He told me I needed to be more open with him and that I shouldn’t be so selfish as to ignore his needs as a man. I had the responsibility to manage his volatility and his emotions. He told me if I couldn’t handle him at his worst, I didn’t deserve him at his best.

Of course, I was young and in love. I believed him.

When compromises became demands and his frustrations manifested as physical violence and verbal threats, I found myself paralyzed and confused, unable to extract myself from the situation. Inhibited by my own lingering feelings towards him and by my fear of his reaction, I held onto the scraps of the relationship in hope that the storm would pass.

He seized control of my connections to the outside world by demanding access to my , emails, and phone records. He made me account for every minute I spent away from him, asking who I had been with and where I had been. He required me to check in constantly as proof that I wasn’t doing anything around his back.

When I finally found a rare opportunity to start planning my escape, I found it hard to find someone who would be willing to listen and believe my story. I sought validation from those closest to me and found only a few people willing to support me. Instead I was asked, “Well, why didn’t you just leave? If you were truly scared, you could’ve just walked away.”

My experience isn’t unique. Many battered women seek solace with their loved ones just after they separate themselves from their partners, only to be turned away or judged for their actions.

Society urges women to break the silence, to come forward with their battle scars, black eyes and bruises. But, when these women find a safe moment to speak up and ask for help, they are met with mistrust. The burden of the proof falls upon them to demonstrate their position as the victim.

Speaking up, in most cases, isn’t enough.

When I came forward with the abuse, I found myself exposed to the public through the legal proceedings and confronted with disbelief. My motivations were questioned and my story was twisted. I was held accountable for the abuse as if I caused it. I remain anonymous in this column to keep  the publicizing my experience from being used against me again.

Several celebrity women highlight societal skepticism towards victims of domestic violence. In the reason of popular thought: two sides exist to a story. She must have done something to provoke him. A man wouldn’t hit a woman for no reason.  

The high profile altercation between the pop singers Chris Brown and Rihanna in 2009 exemplifies the public mistrust of domestic violence victims. When the news of the assault first broke over the internet, many online bloggers came to the aid of Chris Brown, making suggests that Rihanna’s behavior must’ve been to blame, according to a critique on MTV.

wise when the adult film actress Christy Mack was attacked by her boyfriend Jonathan Kopenhaver, she experienced harsh backlash. Despite the gruesome nature of her injuries, the internet responded by shifting the blame on her. By the nature of her work in the sex industry, she somehow deserved the abuse.

One in four women will experience domestic violence within their lifetime and nearly 1.3 million women per year are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. With the injury rate at astronomical levels, the truth is clear. By and far, the violence these women speak about is real.

As a society we turn a blind and disbelieving eye on a significant population within community. By failing to answer a cry for help, we marginalize those in need and we enable violence within our culture. We point fingers and distract ourselves from the real problem.

I would to think that by coming forward here with my story, I am liberated. But each day, I remain constantly concerned for my safety and I know many others live in the same fear.

At the end of the day, it’s not about excuses.

Source: https://dailyevergreen.com/2652/opinion/through-the-eyes-of-a-domestic-violence-victim/?print=true

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