The Pros and Cons of Domestic Violence
“Just leave him.” That’s a response I see on social media, to stories about domestic violence. It seems simple, doesn’t it? Just leave him. Everything seems simple for those who have never experienced true hardship and difficulties in life. ‘Get a job’. ‘Get over it’. ‘Just leave him’.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), with every minute that ticks by, an average of almost 20 people are physically abused by their intimate partner. That includes both men and women. One of three women, and one of four men on average are a victim of domestic violence by an intimate partner at some point during their life (NCADV). One of five women (1/5), and one of seven (1/7) men find themselves the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner (NCADV).
Why does a victim stay with an abuser?More than 20,000 people call domestic violence hotlines in the U.S., every single day (NCADV). Wouldn’t it be easier to move away, than stay? Especially when the abuser owns a gun. The risk of homicide increases by 500% in homes where a gun is present (NCADV). Wouldn’t you just pack up and leave?
More than 20,000 people call domestic violence hotlines in the U.S., every single day (NCADV). Wouldn’t it be easier to move away, than stay? Especially when the abuser owns a gun. The risk of homicide increases by 500% in homes where a gun is present (NCADV). Wouldn’t you just pack up and leave?
We have barely scratched the surface of this topic, and we already have numerous ‘cons’, yet zero ‘pros’. This column appears to have a bias towards the cons of domestic violence, but I wasn’t able to find a ‘National Coalition FOR Domestic Violence’ in order to tell their side of the story. Clearly, there is no possible way to rationalize and accept violence as being an acceptable norm in society. So I ask again, why does a victim remain in an abusive relationship? The reasons are many, and the situations are complicated.
Some victims confess to staying with an abuser because they put greater importance on providing children with a two-parent family over their own safety. They believe, in the long run, this is best for the children. I believe the opposite is true as children are traumatized by witnessing the violence at home and are led to believe that this is normal behavior for married couples.
Others might stay because they feel like they have no options, lacking the financial means to move away and be able to afford their own home plus the cost of living. They fear being homeless if they leave. There are a great many resources available for victims; unfortunately, the victim is not always aware of the help available. In some areas, the shelters are over-crowded and aren’t able to take in another family in need. This is an example of where we as a society need to step up and ensure that there will always be a safe escape for a spouse with or without children, who fears for their life.
In one study where men were asked what instigated the homicide, the most common answer was that the wife threatened to leave, or did leave. Victims are held captive, not only for fear of their own life but for the safety of friends and family against whom their partner has threatened violence if they leave. Unfortunately, their fear is justified, as studies show 20% of homicide victims are friends, family, a person who tried to intervene, or law enforcement.
No human soul should have to live in fear, trapped in a home where domestic violence lurks in the shadows. It’s up to all of us to try to improve on this situation so families now and future generations are less likely to suffer.
If you are concerned that a friend or family member is a victim of violence, research the options in your community and try to find a safe way to discuss the situation with them. We need to have conversations with children and make it very clear that violence is unacceptable, no matter what the situation. Children learn by what they live. Teach them to resolve conflict with conversation and compromise, patience and persistence. We must set the example for the norms in society, what is right, and what is wrong.
– Separation Anxiety –
He works the job, he pays the bills
Provides the things I need
This relationship I Fear might kill
And if he doesn’t get his fill
From the dinner that he sees
I know tonight my blood will spill
He reminds me every day and night
That he works so hard, for me
His violence gives me a fright
It’s time for me to take a stand
To save the kids and me
I need to come up with a plan
Get out of town, get out of state
From him I must now flee
With alcohol he’ll medicate
And that’s when I’ll finally be Free
– It’s Too Late Now –
He charmed me with his Laugh and Smile
But that was long ago
Now he’s knocked me to the ground
Another Beating, I Don’t Deserve This
He promised in his wedding vow
Now I’m bruised and start to cry
My friends no longer come around
Another Beating, Do I Deserve This?
He took me to the hospital
With a broken arm and broken rib
He’ll kill me if I make a sound
Another Beating, I Guess I Earned This
His anger now he can’t control
This will be my final day
The thought of this is so profound
A Final Beating, I Didn’t Deserve This
The two poems above were originally published in the author’s book, Empathy Globally: Painful Portraits of People, in Poetry
They are republished here with his permission.
Photo credit: Flickr/Sambandaraksa