What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is the use, or threatened use of physical force, violence, a deadly weapon, sexual assault, or the intentional destruction of property. It is behaviour that has the intent or impact of placing a victim in fear of physical injury, and a pattern of behaviour resulting in emotional and psychological abuse, economic control, and/or interference with personal liberty that is directed towards the following: a current or former spouse, or a person with whom the abuser shares a child in common, or a current or former intimate partner.
Domestic violence is behaviour – emotional, psychological, physical, or sexual abuse – that one person in an intimate relationship uses in order to control the other. It takes many different forms and includes behaviour such as threats, name calling, isolation, withholding of money, actual or threatened physical harm and sexual assault. Most domestic violence is committed against women by their male partners. It also occurs in lesbian and gay relationships and is common in teenage dating relationships.
My husband constantly came home after a long days work, frustrated and irritable. He’d walk in the door, eat his dinner, look up at me, and say, “Marsha, I want to have sex.” My three year old and seven year old children were always in bed and asleep at this time of night, so they could never hear my pleads for Jamie to stop. He’d never listen to me. In the end I just gave up and agreed to have sex with him. When I did not, then he would rape me. This went for 6 months before I built up the courage to leave him.
My partner is over protective. He doesn’t let me visit friends or family, but instead says that I have to stay at home. Once my mother was sick and needed my help, but when my partner discovered that I left the house, he just snapped and completely lost it. He began to shout abusive threats and criticism at me in front of my four-year-old son, and also began to throw anything he could get his hands on at me. After it all happened he would return back to normal, take me to the hospital, and make up some reason as to why I got so hurt, this time saying that I got drunk and fell over. This wasn’t the first time that he had done this to me, and he told me that he would try not to do it again, providing that I stuck to the rules. I knew in his heart that he really did love me, which is why I decided to stay, like every other time he abuses me.
Why don’t women leave from abusive relationships? All too often the question “Why do women stay in violent relationships?” is answered with a victim-blaming attitude. Women victims of abuse often hear that they must like or need such treatment, or they would leave. Others may be told that they are one of the many “women who love too much” or who have “low self esteem”. The truth is that no one enjoys being beaten, no matter what their emotional state or self image.
A woman’s reasons for staying are...