It was just a slap. He apologized and said he'd never do it again. But he did do it again and the next time he hurt her. He was contrite. She was confused. In the years after the first slap, the violence escalated. She
was hospitalized twice. But she didn't leave. She loved him. He said he loved her. And he was always so sorry afterwards. It's important to understand why she stayed and what she can do to break the cycle of battering.
Of Love And Violence
Most of us have a need to see only the good in people, especially the people we love. When the 'love' signal is mixed with the "violence' signal, it's very difficult to see the violence for what it is. This is especially true if the violence has gone on for long periods of time, or if there is a long period between violent episodes.
Guilt And Blame Set In
We understand that, for every effect, there is a cause. Battered women often feel, or are made to feel, that they are to blame for their battering. It is very difficult for them to place the responsibility where it belongs-on the batterer. Some people have said that a battered woman is very much like a prisoner of war because she is often dependent on her batterer emotionally and physically.
A batterer is often verbally as well
as physically abusive. He may tell his victim that she is worthless and that he is the only one who will ever love her. At the same time, he tells her that she doesn't deserve his love. The batterer might also try to isolate his victim from the friendship of others, from participating in social activities or from holding a job. He
wants total control. And one way he gets it is by beating down his victim's sense of self.
Economics Play A Role
Many women feel that they would not be able to make it on their own if they left the batterer, or if the batterer were jailed. A woman may worry that, without a mate, she won't be able to support herself or her children. These are very real concerns and must be addressed by any intervention.
Leaving The Batterer
A battered woman needs to talk to people who can help. Friends and relatives can be supportive and helpful, sometimes providing emotional stamina, which the victim does not have, for herself. Community service agencies, especially battered women's shelters and women's advocacy groups, can help the battered woman leave her battering relationship and turn her life and the lives of her children around.