Domestic Violence

What is domestic violence and who are its victims? Giving a proper definition of the term ‘Domestic Violence’, the Australian Medical Association asserted that “Domestic violence is an abuse of power. It is the domination, coercion, intimidation, and victimization of one person by another by physical, sexual, or emotional means within intimate relationships.”

While Domestic violence is common across the world amongst men and women. It has been widely reported that women are the major victims of domestic violence cases, where according to the UN, 35% of women globally have experienced one form of domestic violence.

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The damages of domestic violence are often devastating and lifelong, ranging from mental imbalance, inferiority complex, physical bruises, and even death.

With the Pain and risk associated with domestic violence, many women still live with their abusers. This is why our Correspondent piqued an interest to find out why a woman who should be allowed to exercise her rights to life, continue to stay with her abuser,

After speaking with some victims of abuse (married and unmarried), and those not abused, we identified the following five main reasons women continued to stay in abusive relationships/marriage.

Children: 

” I don’t want my child to be a product of a broken marriage, neither do I want another woman raising my children.”. A good percentage of respondents gave the above reason as to why they aren’t so eager to leave their abusive spouses. 

The fear of uncertainty, in the minds of these victims that their kids would be exposed to the violence of their partners or even worse treatment from their spouse’s new partner. 

We know that it is risky to remain in an abusive relationship for this reason because the possibility of losing one’s life as a result of the violence is high. When this happens, the same children you fought hard to protect will be left exposed to all they feared.

Societal stigmatization: 

“People will say I left my husband”, “people will blame it on my parents, they will say I was not well trained”.

The society we live in has always pressured women to remain in their marriages irrespective of what they are going through. It is believed that the woman has to make the marriage work and as such must endure whatever marriage throws at her.

This is another reason the victims gave as to why they stay in a marriage characterized by violence.

Meanwhile, if we don’t stop seeing marriage as a lifelong contract that can’t be broken, and where divorced women are scorned for their choices, we will have more women continue to endure violence at the hands of their spouses.

Financial Constraint:

Many women don’t have the financial capability to take care of themselves and their children if they decide to leave an abusive marriage/relationship. So they rather deal with their partner’s excesses.

Optimism:

These are those that hope for a better future with their spouses. They are somehow optimistic that their abusive partner would change.

This optimism comes from either self-belief or their faith or words from their religious leaders and even at times, family.

They are told that people change and given time, their abuser would too, that there’s nothing God can’t do.

While working on this project, a victim who falls under this category said she spent years hoping that her ex-husband would change and stop from beating her, so that they could build their home together but unfortunately, her desires never came through.

While this has been the case of several women in violent relationships, very often than not does the expected change ever happen.

That’s why it is advised for women who in face of abuse decide to stay to always know the saying ‘A leopard doesn’t change its stripes.’

While it may be impossible to fully know someone during courtship, it is advised for women to note the tendencies of their partners to be abusive and take proper precautions.

Also, Victims should report their abusers to the appropriate authorities and the government on its part should ensure abusers are punished to deter people from committing such offenses.

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