“A violence that occurs between partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, or cohabitation – to live together as husband and wife, usually without legal or religious sanction. ” That’s how dictionary. com describes spousal abuse. But to me, spousal abuse is when one person in a marriage sanctified relationship verbally, mentally, emotionally, or physically abuses the other person in the relationship. Many people view domestic violence as only happening to specific races, ethnicities, class, education level or age of the abuser but, surprising to many, it occurs in all social economic, religious, and cultural groups.
And it can be the most damaging thing a man or woman could ever go through. In the US, a woman is beaten or assaulted every 9 seconds. At least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime all around the world. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic abuse annually.
Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup. Every day in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. 92% of women surveyed listed reducing domestic violence and sexual assaults as their top concern. Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US alone – the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.
Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55% and 95% of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help. The costs of intimate partner violence in the US alone exceed $5. 8 billion per year: $4. 1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses amount for nearly $1. 8 billion. Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice more likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent. He always apologized, and sometimes he would even cry because of the bruises he’d made on her arms or legs or her back. He would say that he hated what he’d done, but in the next breath tell her she’d deserved it. That if she’d been more careful, it wouldn’t have happened. That if she’d been paying attention or hadn’t been so stupid, he wouldn’t have lost his temper. ” -Nicholas Sparks, Safe Haven. When people think of abuse, they always seem to ask the question: “Why don’t you just leave? ,” “Why did you stay so long in the first place? ,” “How could you love someone who did something like that to you? But it’s not always that easy. A woman I know very well and am extremely close with was once affected by spousal abuse and she will be the first person to say leaving was not only the hardest thing she’s ever done, but the scariest and most complicated. This woman was beaten numerous times by a husband that “loved her. ” “At first it wasn’t so bad,” she recalls. “He wasn’t always mean. And when he was being nice, I couldn’t even remember the times he was being mean. ” Abuse is a cycle. It can start out being once a year, once a month, and escalate to being numerous times a day.
Abuse works sort of like the cycle of precipitation. When the sun heats up the body of water, it’s like the man getting angry. As the water evaporates and rises into the air, it’s like the yelling, name calling, emotional aspect of abuse is construed. As the water cools and condenses to become droplets, which form clouds, is when the pushing and the shoving and the slight hitting begin. When the water condenses and falls to the ground as rain or snow, is when the beating begins: the punching, the kicking, the mauling. And as the rain collects, is when apologizes and/or crying begins. The worst time was when we beat me so bad I couldn’t open my eyes for a week,” my friends confines to me. “Once he got mad and punched me so hard he cracked my rib. ” “He later got mad and kicked me out of the bed which surfaces the continuation of the breaking of the rib. ” “He would lock my in the basement for hours just because he got mad. ” “He would rip apart my clothes and take a hammer to all the jewelry I owned that wasn’t on my body. ” “He cheated on me. ” “He undermined me, called me names, talked to me so bad I thought I was a monster. I would look in the mirror once a day just to brush my hair and put on my makeup. Now, as you read this I know you’ve asked yourself that universal question: “Why didn’t you just leave? Why’d you let it get so bad? ” But think when you were threatened weekly that he would not only kill you, but your family, and take your kids, leaving would probably be the last thing on your mind. “Why didn’t you call the cops? ” Well, when you wanted nothing more than to pretend that nothing was happening and everything was okay and you were normal just like everyone else, getting law enforcement involved and creating drama was the absolute last thing you wanted.
But she did finally get the courage to leave when she thought of her oldest son, and how he’d be starting school soon. How could you send a child to school with them witnessing his mother getting beaten and him be able to actually lead a normal life? And believe me this not something that just happened out of the blue. It was an extraneous plan to get out without him hurting her, her family, and most importantly, their two sons. The story I’ll never forget though, is months after she left, going back to pick up her son from the father’s supervised visitation, he tried to kill her.
Just thinking of this story sends chills down my spine and brings tears to my eyes. Their son had an event at Sunday school he was dying to go to, and he could only under one condition… She had to go pick him up by herself. Thinking back upon this, she realizes what a stupid decision she made but at the time, she was focused on her the wants of her child. As she arrived at his house, she approached the door, having a gut feeling that something was really wrong but she suffaced the feeling and went inside to get her boy.
Upon departure, the man that had formerly beaten her asked if he could walk her to the car. This was weird because he never asked for permission, but she just shrugged it off and agreed to it, which would prove later to be the worst decision of her life. As she reached over to buckle in her oldest son, she felt the hair on the back of her neck stand up, she knew something horrendous was momentarily about to happen. She turned around to her former husband, the former love of her life, blatantly stabbing her repeatedly in the chest with the sheer intention to murder her.
As she sat there pressing against the steering wheel as hard as she could, her two children screaming bloody murder, this man, who “loved this woman more than that anything on the planet,” jabbed a knife into her chest twelve different times. If it hadn’t been the man’s mother running outside to see what all the commotion was about, this woman probably won’t be here today. The woman is strongest, most courageous, most beautiful woman I know. She is my role model. She was dealt the worst card a life could of been dealt and struggled through it and is now one of the most happy women on the planet.
This woman has been there for me through thick and thin. She is a pinochle of strength. She is the prime example that abuse could most possibly be the worst thing on this planet, but you can get through and even though at the time it make seem like it, it’s not the end of the world. Just remember next you hear a story of abuse and think, “Why didn’t they just leave? ,” think back to this woman story. See her struggles and difficulties. See how hard it was to escape. Next, time don’t just judge the book by the cover. Open it up and read a few pages first. Abuse is an extremely serious thing that shouldn’t be ignored.
I know I sound like one of those commercials telling to call someone, let someone know it’s happening to you. But it’s the truth. The sooner you come out to someone about it, the closer you are to getting the courage to leave once and for all. Remember, it’s not going to be an easy process but, in life, you have to work for the things you truly want and are truly important to you. And remember, you’re not the only one. This happens to women all over the world. You’re not alone, take a stand. By: Chelsea Fenwick 3rd Period * Statistics and facts taken from http://domesticviolencestatistics. org/domestic-violence-statistics/