Domestic violence graphic

Saturday, March 5, 2005

* Low self-esteem. She defines herself in terms of who she is to other people, not as an individual.

* Traditional attitudes. She believes in the stereotype that it is her job to make a happy home regardless of his violent behavior.

* Religious and cultural beliefs. Many religious and cultural leaders expect women to endure abuse for the sake of the family. The teachings of the religion or culture may not allow a woman to separate or divorce without consequence from the church, community and culture.

* Guilt. The battered woman blames herself for failing as a wife. She may feel guilty for fighting back and she may believe that she caused the violence.

* Dependent behavior. Because of isolation, economic dependence and the emotional abuse she is suffering she may become dependent on the abuser to fulfill her emotional needs.

* Minimization. The battered woman tends to minimize and deny the amount and intensity of the violence.

* Made to feel responsible for punishment. Battered women believe it is their fault they cannot fix whatever is wrong with the batterer. The batterer reinforces this by telling her he is teaching her a lesson.

* Stress reactions. Battered women suffer from a variety of minor ailments such as fatigue, restlessness, sleep disruption and headaches. They may also complain of depression and anxiety and can be suspicious and secretive. It takes a lot of emotional energy to try to control her environment so that he does not batter her, and this energy takes its toll on her physically through illnesses caused by stress reactions.

* Believes no one can help. Battered women believe that their batterers are all powerful and can fool anybody. Society reinforces what he has been telling her and she believes that ultimately he will win, so why fight it.

* Unrealistic hope/belief system. She may believe she can find the real cause of his violence and stop it. She believes his constant promises of change. She may have been taught that restrictiveness is a sign of caring or that men who really love you must control you.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: