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Domestic Violence - The Reality
With the recent stories of the NFL player Ray Rice abusing his now wife during their engagement and the video of him hitting her, the act of abuse in relationships is now getting the recognition that it's needed for a very a long time. The act of domestic abuse wasn't against the law until the late 1980's and even then it wasn't up to par. Women would leave their abusers and would have to kidnap their own children just to keep them safe because the courts felt it necessary for the men to raise the children since they were the breadwinners and could provide better for the children. Women, therefore, still felt like a criminal instead of a victim. You can look at the history, read stories, and so forth about how women have endured years of abuse at the hands of their husbands. Many of the stories end with the loss of life.
Many think that domestic abuse/violence is only about the physical aspects of the crime. Many don't realize the psychological affects it has on not only the person being abused, but the children who witness it. The children who witness abuse are more likely to become abusers or the abused later in life and the cycle never stops. Abuse isn't only seen within the female community, many men are also abused by their spouses or significant others.
As I stated earlier, domestic violence is more than just the physical abuse endured by the woman or the man. It is also the psychological damage that is done. We can see the physical abuse, we can cover up the physical abuse, but the mental abuse is harder to see, to acknowledge, and to repair. Women and men who face psychological abuse from their partners often experience lower levels of self-esteem, depression, suicidal thoughts and tendencies, have trouble with relationships, and so on.
I am a former abuse victim. My ex husband was verbally, psychologically, and eventually physically abusive to me. I know what it is like to live your life walking on egg shells, how it feels to have no hope, to feel as though there is no way out. I had dealt with the verbal and psychological abuse for years. During that time, the abuse wasn't real physical. Once the physical abuse escalated to the point where I almost lost consciousness and my children saw, that is what gave me the strength to leave. I left with very little money, drove three states away with my children, and was hoping that my family would help me out. I got a restraining order and haven't had much contact with him since.
My mother had her own dealings with domestic violence back before the laws against it were in place. Her ex husband almost killed her on several occasions. He got custody of my sisters claiming that my mother had abandoned them when the fact was that she was scared to go back and had petitioned the court for custody but the judge found for him instead. Eventually he lost custody of them and they ended up in the welfare system. This was back in the early 1970's. There are many other stories like hers and mine.
To all victims of domestic violence: there is a way out and there is hope. You deserve better. Call the national domestic abuse hotline and see what help is in your area. You are not alone, help is out there. The national domestic violence hotline number is 1-800-799-7233.