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Old 05-16-2003, 02:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Are You An Abused Woman?


I'll try, but it's not easy." Chapter 12 from No Visible Wounds

A Woman's Pain in Acknowledging Abuse

The poet Goethe, wrote, "None are more helplessly enslaved than those who falsely believe that they are free." Though he may have been referring to Dr. Fautus in his bondage to the devil, his word apply equally well to many women in bondage to their abusers. While Faust lives a full and happy life, forgetful of the price his bargain will exact upon his death, the abused woman lives restriced, rationalizing her pain each day while she lives.

Hospital emergency rooms are accustomed to treating women who claim accidental injury instead of batteing: their bleeding cuts are due to broken glass, their body bruises to falling downstairs, their broken noses to running into a door. I used to see a woman on my block, who appeared regularly with a black eye, which she attributed to her two-yar-old's having kicked her while she changed his clothes. She stuck to her story until her husband was arrested for murdering a youn woman in a drug trafficking deal, at which time she admitted to the police that she had suffered years of abuse.

If it takes a catastrophe for a woman with black eyes or cuts and bruises to face up to the fact of abuse, imagine how much more difficult it is for women with invisible wounds to admit abuse even to themselves. There is no one to validate the nonphysical battering they take in the form of words and manipulation and covert actions, no one to say, "oh, you poor thing. Why do you stand it?"

The nonphysically abused woman most often doesn't put a label on what her man does to her. She knows how dumb and helpless and hopeless he makesher feel, but instead of recognizing her mistreatment as abuse, she questions herself, not him. As Dr. Joanna Landau puts it, "If the man doesn't drink, hit her or fool around with women, and if he provides, she figures he must be a bargain." The woman, therefore, arrives at one of two conclusions.

On the one hand she may convince herself that her expectations are unreasonable in thinking he should treat her with more respect, grant her equal rights, share the finances, or let her be with her friends and family more. She comes to the conclusion that she wants too much, that she doesn't understand marriage. She thinks she will learn. On the other hand, she may simply refuse to see what her husband does to her. Most of us are accustomed to using denial in painful situations - to avoid accepting a negative prognosis when a loved one is seriously ill, to refuse to believe a child is into drugs, to brugh aside fear when a task cannot be avoided. So a woman finds it less difficult to deny her husband's abuse than to acknowledge it and deal with it.


Next....turning away from the truth...

Several factors aid and abet a woman in her refusal to face the fact of abuse:

The Woman's Role as Peacemaker

First is a woman's basic instinct to make things right. Underneath the stereotpe of compliance that has been drawn of women lies the nature of her role as caregiver; since the best care can be given only in peaceful surroundings, she has long backed away from conflict. Even the lioness that has made the kill for her family's meal gives no challenge to her mate as he stalks in for first pickings but stands back and waits until he has had his fill. Men are fighters; women are appeasers. How often we have heard people say, "If women ran the world, we couldn't send their sons and husbands to be killed as Churchhill and Roosevelt did, and maybe it is true that Neville Chamberlain, disparagingly called "the old lady," they would acquiesce to keep peace.

Given her pacifying nature, therefore, the battered woman exerts great energy to fulfill her role. She may do it with a conscious effort to avoid confrontation by acceding to her husband's demands or with unconscious rationalizations to shift the problem away from him onto herself or with the mechanism of denial by subconsciously looking the other way. Whichever device she uses works-at least for awhile. For one woman it may work for 18 months; for another, 15 years; for Irene it worked for 42 years; and for a friend of mine it is still working after 51.

Other People's Opinions

A second factor in the difficulty of facing abuse is the opinions of other people.

Since an abuser is a master at manipulation and deception, he is well able to convince the outside world that he is what one judge who was wise enough to see through hi act in a divorce case sarcastically called "Mr. Perfect." While battering his wfe at home, he can turn on the charm for other women with flattery and can outshine other men with his wit and consideration. Mr Perfect creates a persona that fools them all.

Therefore, other men and women, instead of validating the abused woman's feelings, help her deny them. When they repeatedly tell her what a wonderful man her husband is and what fun and how thoughtful, she begins to doubt herself, wondering whether she is inventing her hurts and fears. Eventually ashe erases the picture she has painted of her husband as an abuser, replacing it with the image everyone else tells her exists. He must b a pretty good husband after all, she decides.

One woman hadn't reached that point whem in desperation she told her friend, "You know, you're crazy. And is an out-and-out son of a bitch. He may not beat me, but he controls every move I make and treats me like his slave, his imbecile slave at that." Her friend looked stunned as she concluded, "I'm miserable and don't know what to do."

"You want to know what to do?" her friend answered, trying to hide her impatience. "Forget it. He's a nice guy, and you're lucky to have him. Go home and stop being crazy." The woman did go home, and she convinced herself for three yeatrs that she wasn't crazy...until she was.

Irene found herself in the same kind of situation wth Sam. His secretaries, she says, raved about him at office parties because he never ordered but asked them to do things; the lower-echelon executives who reported to him and his other business associates treated him like a father figure; and the CEO told her more than once that Sam was the smartest man in the company and the most honest because he didn't cheat on expense accounts.

How could such an exemplary person be mistreating me? Irene wondered. Sam is a great guy. Everyone says so. Amid this positive feedback, Irene came to the conclusion that she was imaging Sam's oppressive behavior, that she couldn't possibly be right because whe didn't know then what she has since discovered: that it is possible for a man like Sam, who is gentle and considerate in the work world, to have problems and needs that make him a tyrannical controller in the home world. Robert Louis Stevenson didn't create Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from thin air.

When Irene and I discuss Sam and her marriage now, when she relived it for me over a period of weeks a I listened, taping her words, she often wept. "I don't think I'll ever stop bein sad over learnng this lesson too late to help him and help me and help us," she sighed.

The Need for Denial

A third factor contributing to the difficulty of facing abuse is probably the most common of all: the woman doesn't want to face it.
A person who determines to deny reality can find a wide assortment of ways to do it, most of which we see-and use-every day. For instance, despite conclusive evidence that smoking causes disease, smokers deny statistics and continue to light up; despite the fact that no mortal escapes the sagging, wrinkling, and graying of old age, men and women pour millions into cosmetics, face-lifts, and hair dyes to convince themselves otherwise; despite warnings that pollution will be our earth's undoing, we say, "That doesn't mean me" and go on emitting toxic waste.

All women want a good marriage. Those who have one feel safe in picking at insignificant nuisances because the basic relationship is sound enough to weather them. However, a woman whose marriage is abusive may consider the pains and problems of a confrontation too risky, feeling the whole relationship would blow apart as if with a car bomb, leaving them with nothing but wounds to bind up and nurse. These women want to be in a good marriage, and by changing their perception of reality they can put themselves in the marriage they want. The human mind is frequently a magic wand.

A woman in the middle of a second divorce after seven years with a nonphysically abusive husband attributed her refusal to acknowledge abuse years earlier to the hope of avoiding the devastation she had felt after a divorce from her previous husband. "Once was a failure, but two divorces! Then I'd really be a loser," she exclaimed and stayed on for 5 more years of abuse.

Even one failed marriage poses questions that shake a woman's self-confidence about her judgment and wifely skills, and espeically in the midst of abuse does she lay blame on herself rather than on her mate. Therefore, to hang on to self-confidnce and let go of blame, she looks at her marriage through glasses that are not only rose-colored but also so fogged over as to dim its outlines altogether.

The surest way to clear her vision is to provide information that will break through the fog of her wishful thinking and light her relationship with the glare of reality. Although books, movies, and newspaper headlines are making it more and more difficult to ignore physical abuse with its photogenic injuries, nonphysical abuse tends to remain as invisible as the wounds it inflicts. Even women caught in abusive relationships for years-10, 30, or 50-can't identify them as abusive.

In the Introduction to this book I reprinted a list of 19 behaviors used byabusive men, comiled by the Battered Women's Task Force of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. I think it is worthwhile to present the list again to let women-and men-see specifically what actions are abusive and to know that these actions are abusive and to know that these actions are offenses not only against women but also against the law and warrant cour-ordered protection. Again, note that only one of them is physical. Just the other day I saw a judge-a woman judge-lean across her desk in court, look in the eye a man who had threatened and harassed his wife until she was afraid to enter their home, and aske him, "Are you aware that I can put you in jail if you do this again?"
"Yes, your honor," the man answered, somewhat chastened.
"Don't forget it," warned the judge.
A;though I am encouraged by the seriousness with which this judge and others I have seen take some cases of abuse, I am less than encouraged by their lack of follow-through: in all my time at the Family Court, I have never seen a judge send a man to jail for nonphysically abusing a woman.

Men's behavir may be considered nonphysically abusive if they do one or more of the following:

1 Hit, punch, slap, shove or bite you.

2 Threathen to hurt you or your children

3 Threaten to hurt friends or family members

4 Have sudden outbursts of anger or rage

5 Behave in an overprotective manner

6 Become jealous without reason

7 Prevent you from seeing family or friend

8 Prevent you from going where you want, when you want, without repercussions

9 Prevent your from working or attending school

10 Destroy personal property or sentimental items

11 Deny you access to family assets such as bank accounts, credit cards, or the car

12 Contol all finances and force you to account for what you spend

13 Force you to have sex against your will

14 Force you to engage in sexual acts you o not enjoy

15 Insult you or call you derogator names

16 Use intimidation or manipulation to control you or your children

17 Humiliate you in front of your children

18 Turn minor incidents into major arguments

19 Abuse or threaten to abuse pets

There is one more characteristic of nonphysically abusive behavior that is included in most other lists and causes great grief to women:

20 Withdawing emotional, verbal, or sexual contact.

I regularly speak with women who detail the horrors of their marriage in a state of uncertainty, wondering whether they are foolish in coming to court and should just drop the subject and go home. The greatest reassuance I can offer is the preceding list, which tells them more clearly than any words I can utter, "What he is dong is wrong." By identifying the actions of nonphysical battering, women validate themselves so they can believe without a doubt, "What I am doing is right."

Until they are able to look abuse in the eye, however, women excuse the outrage of a man's actions by blaming, if not themselves, their abuser's bad temper. "He just can't control himself when he's frustrated," women tell me repeatedly. Yet studies indicate that a large majority of abusive men control themselvs very well when it is to their advantage-wit their buddies, for instance, or at work in front of their boss-and selectively explode only when it serves their purpose. In other words, while an abuse outburt may appear to arise from a lack of control, it most assuredly is used to selecively exert control.
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Old 05-16-2003, 08:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If She Stays

Facing Facts and Moving Ahead

Determing what constitutes nonphysically abusive behavior is therefore the first step in being able to face it. Three other points of information will help a woman go forward from there.

1 Calling It What It Is
The worl glosses over the abuse of women with euphenisms like domestic violence and spouse abuse, which deny gender inequality. It's not domestic violence; it is a man's violence against a woman. It's not spouse abuse; it is a husband's abuse of his wife. It is inequality that traps women in abusive situations i the first place, and euphenisms not only permit society to avoid recognizing this as a uniquely female tragedy but also actually reinforces society's apathy toward abused women by implying that men are equally abused. They are not. Social Work states unequicvocally in its Sept 1191 issue, "Women and men are not equally victimized by their partners;" 95 percent of "spouse abues" is male against female.

When an abused woman understands this, she can ore readily face the reality, not of being a player in "domestic violence" but of being a battered woman. And she can do something about it.

Taking the First Step

The first step a woman can take in that direction is to look at herself and see what is happpening to her. Tied to a batterer, a woman s subject to trauma, which according to battered women is far more intense when inflicted by nonphysicl than by physical abuse (See Chapter 1). Judith Herman in Trauma and Recovery quotes the psychiatric definition of trauma as "intense fear, helplessness, loss of control, and threa of annihilation," states with which an abused woman is all too familiar. If the woman is able to recognize these symptoms in herself, she is in a better position to confront the reality of her relationshp-to admit that her husban isn't just occasionally angry, but is an abuser-and see ways to terminate it.

If, however, her defenses are layered so thickly as to prevent the penetration of even a glimmer of reality, she will add a second abuse to her husband's-abuse of herself. Since the intensity of a trauma depends on the intensity of the events that produced it, a woman must realize that the longer she allows the escalation of batttering, the mor debilitated she will become. As a result, she will be less able to cope with her situation and more aapt to fall victim to it because, as Dr Herman writes, "Trauma tears apart a complex system of self-protection that normally functions in an integrated fashion."

2 Recognizing the Shape of Abuse

A woman came to court one day for a protective order against her husband, then changed her mind and dropped the charges. She told me that after all, he had broken her car windows only once and usually only screamed and threatened to do it. I asked her, "You don't think he'll do it again?"
"I hope not," she answered feebly.

Hope is not enough to keep a battered woman safe. The pattern that abuse takes inevitably leads from lesser to more severe actions with respites and reconciliations in between. Yet, before reaching the point of acknowledgment, women too often look at abuse as individual incidents happening erratically now and again. The New York Times reported on Apr 4, 1994, that a man shot and killed the woman who had earlier broken off their relationship. Although he had been phoning her, bothering her at work, and forcing his way into her apartment under false pretenses, she sought no order of protection through the courts, thinking (probably as most women do) that harassment is not abuse. This woman's misunderstanding cost her her life. Other women can avoid continuing abuse and perhaps a similar fate by recognizing not only the specific behaviors of abuse but also the cyclical pattern in whichit escalates, as explained in Chapter 6.

3 Admitting She Can't Change Him

Despite the time-frazzled adage that love conquers all, it is beyond the powers of even the most loving woman to change a man who abuses her. No more than love can stop an alcoholic from drinking or an addict from taking drugs can it stop an abuser from using his woman as an object of control. So entreched are abusers' power needs that even therapists who work with them hold out a dim prognosis for cure.

What a woman really wants when she clings to the belief that she can change her abusive mate is to keep the good part and get rid of the bad. She remembers warmly the man who wooed her, and although he has all but vanished, he does make infrequent, cycylic reappearances that fuel her determination to banish forever the abuser who took his place. Just as the male psyche reconciles the madonna-***** components of womanhood by splitting them into two separate beings, so a woman hopes for change by making the hurtful part of her husband go away while retaining the part she loves.

It won't work. He is one man whom she cannot change, and until she accepts the truth of that she will continue to subject herself to increasing abuse. However, the change she is unable to bring about in him she can successfully make in herself when she is able to face the fact of abuse.

next: Taking the First Step

Pulitzer Prize-winning authr Lewis Puller, a former Vietnam marine who lost his legs and fingers, committed suicide on May 11, 1994. The war had so traumatized him that for years afterward he had been unable to cpe, escaping into the darkness of alcoholism and depression. Although eventually he was able to control the former, he continued to suffer through black moods of despair and had to settle eventually for the only deliverance he could see -death. The madeness of abuse delas the same kind of blow to a woman that the madness of war dealt to Lewis Puller, of which he said, "None of the lessons I learned as a kid seemed to fit"

The jungle war in Vietnam offered soldiers no way out; an abusive marriage offers no way out unless the woman is able to see it for what it is. While not every woman is in a position to walk out of an abusive relationship, even the woman whom social factors force to remain in it can help herself by facing what is happening to her. Like the alcoholic who must hear himself say, "I am an alcoholic," so the abused woman must shed denilal and rationalization to don the protective armor of courage, strength, and self-respect necessary to defend herself. Only then will she be able to pressure the police and courts and the media and whatever social services exist to retain control of her mind and eventually regain control of her body.

Men who abuse their wives subject their children to abuse as well. A large percentage of them actually batter their children, either physically or nonphysically, but even more men subject them to the secondhand abuse of seeing their mothers abused. Following the natural course of childhood in the face of tragedy, the children assume guilt. If I weren't bad, this wouldn't happen, the children think. Children who see their mother abused live in fear not so much that it may happen to them also but that it undermines the only foundation of their life, which is their parents. And children who see their mother abused absorb role modeling for later life - frequently to become the father figure abuser.

Women who delude themselves by denying their abuse are doing their children emotional damage. When instead they face the fact of abuse, even thought they may not be able to shield their children from it until they leave, they can help them cope with it. By encouraging children to shar their feelings of guilt and clarifying for them that the responsibility is not theirs; by easing their fear with assurances of their mother's ability to keep them safe, she will help maintain the children's emotional balance. Above all, by establishing herself as a role model who, instead of pretending, has the courage to face the awful truth and deal with it within existing possibilities, she offers her children a healthier future. Danger grows greatest when it lurks in the dark. A woman therefore minimizes the emotional distance that beset her children in her abusive relationship by bringing them into the light.

While it may be true that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, as many pundits have advised us, it appears to this nonpundit tha no knowledge can be equally dangerous. Ignorant of abuse, a woman remains a victim of her abusive mate, endangering both herself and her children; with even a modicum of understanding, she discovers possibilities for protection, for coping, and eventually for escape.

*****Information on obtaining an Order of Protection may be obtained free of charge from your local women's services, prosecuter or courts.*******


The Emotional Barriers

Although some women give up their hopes of court protection in the face of this long line of difficulties, others, willing to struggle through them, give up for other reasons.

One is fear.

Fear

Just as batterers become enraged when their mate leaves or threatens to leave, they are apt to react even more so when served with an order of protection. They see their control slipping away, not only of the woman who dares escape it but now to the justice system as well. Since at the time of service the order is still only temporary, they may use the 3 weeks prior to the next court hearing to stage a power act that will maker her change her mind. Stalking her, they warn, "Wait till I really do it." One man mailed a threatening letter that ended "If you think you're going to raise my kids under court protection, you're wrong, DEAD wrong." She was frightened and dropped the protective order. He was still in control.

Hope

Hope is a second reason women sometime drop the idea of a protective order. The husband who has isolated them, humiliated them, driven them half crazy, and left them penniless suddenly wins what one woman called "The Husband Of The Year Award." Pulling the right strings, he moves her like a marionette in the direction he wants, which is away from the court and, he expects back to his subjugation. "He's changed," women say, making the miracle happen in their mind because they desparately want it in their life.

Some women follow through on their temporary order to the point of appearing with their mates on the scheduled return date and then, while in the waiting room before being called, change their mind and leave. I see them talking, playing with their child like a happily married couple in a sitcom, and then I see them leave together, smiling-she with new hope, he with the same old success. One woman explained to me before she left with her seriously abusive husband, "He says, 'How can we make our marriage work with this hanging over my head?'" I say, How can she make their marriage work with abuse hanging over her life?

Trapped Again by the Man's Deceit

A third reason for lack of follow-through on a protective order is the manipulative deceit of the abused woman's mate. Since nonphsical abuse is greatly a matter of manipulation, the abuse can put his already-honed skills to use in persuading his mate not to secure a permanent protective order against him. I have run across men who tear up the temporary order when they receive it, then track down hers and tear that up too; men who say the court phoned to postpone the scheduled return date so that when she fails to appear the judge drops the case; men who swear they were never served the papers, despite the notarized affidavit, which they contend was forged. Unless the woman has enough insight to see through his trickery and enough will to counteract it, the court will cancel her temporary order.

The consequence of not appearing in court for the scheduled hearing at which the issuing of a permanent order of protection is decided is most often further abuse and the woman's realization that she has made a serious mistake. As a result, she returns to court to reapply for protection and begins the whole process again. This time, however, the judge, reading in her file that she had failed to follow through on a previous application, is somewhat less than empathetic and often downright angry. I have heard a judge question the woman, scold her, and even tell her what she did was "just plain dumb." Recently a judge berated a woman for failing to follow through when her husband was sent to a drug rehabilitation center for 6 months, despite the fact that he could not possibly have appeared in court, nor could he have abused her. Most often a male judge will sigh, shake his head, and, like the chauvinist father figure he often is, visibly resign himself to her incompetence.

A common ploy men use when served with an order of protection is to come up immediately to court to file for one of their own, counterclaiming their mate abused them. (liveweyer notes she got hit and spent the night in jail for defending herself!!!) In some cases the woman may have tried to shout him down when he was berating her; she may have kept money from him because he was spending it on drugs; she may have spied on him and the girlfriend he slept with to get evidence for a divorce; she may even have hit him when he came at her with his fist. Since no one is denied an opportunity to seek protection, the man goes through the same process his wife just completed and waits to appear in the same court the next day.

In an attempt to limit time and harassment, the court clerk schedules their return dates together, and I have seen some hot fireworks in the courtroom. With anger exploding, I have seen men scream at their wives, rise and shake their fist threateningly; I have seen them argue heatedly with the judge, their voices rising in rage. I have seen judges quickly threaten arrest for contemp and police rush to hold men down in their seats. And when a six-foot man complains that his five-foot wife shoved him against the wall or scratched his arm, I have seen judges smile.

I am not arguing that women never abuse their men; they do. There are nagging wives and penny-pinchers who snatch the week's salary; there are women who scream in jealousy and belittle their men in disgust; there are even women who assault them. However, because of the disparity in male-female strength and size, because of the disparity in male-female power structure, and because of the disparity in male-female abuse statistics, I am not going to make a case for abused men. A few exist, but over 95 precent of the abused are women.

Men also use another turning-of-the-tables ploy that striks a woman where she is most vulnerable, her children. The child protective services in allstates urge citizens to contact them when they suspect or know of child abuse, and they are obliged to follow through on any report to determine whether the allegations are founded. Knowing this, an abuser, enraged at having been served with an order of protection, will often report the woman to CPS, bringing on an investigation. Frequently children are taken from their mothers and place in foster homes while the investigation continues, resulting in trauma for both mother and children and satisfied revenge for the father.


Anne FitaSimmons of the White Plains Police says, "An order of protection is only as strong as the value system of the person against whom it is issued." So after all the work and waiting, the woman who finally receives a permanent order of protection may not be protected after all. If her abuser respects or simply fears the law, he pays attention to the restrictions detailed in the order and behaves himself as required. If, however, he has no respect for the law and no fear that he can't outsmart it, he will continue his abuse as before, probably with even greater intensity.

Even so, the order has a claw that can lash out at an abuser through the police. If the man breaks ny part of the order and the woman calls the police, they may-and in many states, they HAVE to-arrest him. If he has fled before the police arrive, the court may issue a warrant for his arrest. In either case, the woman may file a violation order an return to court. If the police have the abuser in custody, he will appear in court with her, handcuffed, the next day; if the police are lookin for him, he will be brought in when he is found. Although Family Court has the power to sentence him to jail for 6 mos, the judge rarely does, giving him warnings and further restrictions on his behavior instead. The Criminal Court judge, on the other hand, dealing with more violent cases, is likely to send a consistent violator to jail.


There is no sure way to protect a woman who lives with an abuser, and - sad to say- there is no sure way to protect a woman who leaves. A man abuses a womn because abuse works; it succeeds in getting him what he wants-power and control. In the same way, a man will obey a protective order if it gets him what he wants. If he wants to keep his job and knows his wife will have him arrested for violating the order, he will obey it. If he wants to lure his wife back-or, in rare instances, genuinely change and WIN her back-he will obey it. If he wants to be a good father to his children, he will obey it. If his wife moves away and it's too much trouble to pursue her, he will obey it. If he has another woman to abuse and finds one at a time is enough to satisfy him, he will obey it.

However, if his determination to regain the power and reassert the control a woman wrested from him overrides all other concerns, he will not obey it. Nothing and no one will protect that woman-not the police, not the court, not a jail sentence. Because he can't live as a loser, he won't let her live as a winner.

I guess I have a choice Chapter 13

A woman's options

Commenting on the Communist occupation of East Berlin, the Berliner Illustrirte referred to the last freedom wrenched from millions of Germans trapped behind the infamous wall as the "freedom to flee." I saw some of those people years ago, before the wall came tumbling down, and shall never shake from my memory their faces as they stood by Checkpoint Charlie, straining to see across the wall to life as they once had known it. I recall in detail a drab young woman holding a little boy high above her head so she could pass on to him the only glimpse of a free world he might ever know.

Many women feel similarly trapped behind the wall of an abusive relationship, deprived o the freedom to return to a life without fear and degradation and constraint. Their faces haunt my memory as well, tear-stained and drained of hope. "Why do you stay on?" someone asks them.
"I have no choice," they say.

Despite the lack of support from society, they are wrong. Every abused woman has options; the very act of staying in the relationshp indicates a choice she has made of one of her options, influenced undoubtably by circumstances, but still ultimately hers. While she has no control over the behavior of her abuser-and that she has to admit before she can take the next step-she has a degree of control over her options and a decision to take the one that holds the greatest promise of working for her.

The major choice she has to make is between staying and leaving, and she may not be able to come to that decision until she knows what options exist for her within each choice.

If She Stays

If a woman stays in an abusive relationship, she can either resign herself to her abuser's inevitable domination, like a small dog lying submissively before a larger dog to forestall further attack, or she can try to change her behavior in the hope of minimizing his. In either case, she may have to seek protection from the justice system, a process that will be discussed in Chapter 14. Since humans operatoe on a less ritualized code of ethics than dogs and other animals, a woman gets no guarantee that either her submissive surrender or her changed behavior will lessen her mate's abuse.

She may begin by determining to meet his every demand in the hope of warding off his physical or nonphysical blows, only to find that his demands come faster and are more furious. She may try to avoid contact with him as much as possible by changing her work hours if she has a job or by devising other reasons for being out of the house more often, although he may respond to this with stricter rules to keep her home. Women have told me they have moved from the bedroom they shared with their husband to a room of their own, where they retreat and lock the door to find peace; but even this doesn't work, since he will have no compunction against kicking the door down in a worse rage than before.

For abusers, as indicated throughout the book, there can be no appeasement because bullies that they are, they need the power trip, as a junke needs his drug high, to feel good. Therefore, the woman who decides to stay with her abuser will find only disappointment and further hurt if she builds her hope for change in him on a change in her. She need to look elsewhere to ease her situation.

One possibility is counseling-not for him, which we will discuss in Chapter 16, but for her. Counseling centers for victims of abuse exist in most areas of the country, some attached to hospitals, some in conjuction with shelters, and others operated independently. A look in the yellow pages of the local phone book ay help a woman find counseling. If not, a phone call to the domestic violence unit in her state or city or the National Organization for Women will lead her to a counseling center for help. Although New York is the only state at this time that has an Office for the Prevention fo Domestic Violence at the top level enacted by the legislature, may states have a governor's commission on domestic violence or have a unit within social services or the justice department. Even though they have less top-level clout than New York's legisatively ordered office, they all have the information and support an abused woman needs.

Counseling provides a battered woman with what might be the first person she has dared to confide in. Like most women, she has kept her silence on the subject, not sharing with her family to spare them upset and not sharing with her friends to spare herself embarrassment. Finally with a counselor's empathetic ear and professional advice, she will find relief and comfort. She will have a chance to identify personal strengths to which she has been blinded and discover ways to use them in searching for a solution to what had previously seemed insoluble. From her counseling sessions she will begin to rebuild her self-esteem, eventually recognizing the person she once wa and will one day become again.

In addition to individual counseling, peer group counseling is a viable option, and the two can be done simultaneously. While the former goes far in restoring personal worth, the latter leads the woman out of the isolation created by her abuser into a world of women just like her. With them she is no longer ashamed, no longer guilty, no longer "stupid" for having allowed abuse to happen; she realizes finally that she didn't bring abuse on herself but that, like them, she is a victim. A woman told me that at her first two peer group sessions she did nothing but cry uncontrollably, feeling as though a suppurated boil had been lanced to let the poison pour out. Another told me she felt like the Ugly Duckling, who had just discovered she wasn't a duck at all but a beautiful swan. Both expressed the relief a peer group brings in purging the self-blame that for so long has said "There's something wrong with me" and replacing it with "I'm just like everyone else."

Some women who undergo individal and peer group counseling uncover all-but-lost strengths within themselves that enable them to return to their abusive mates with new coping skills. Many who were on the verge of suicide report restored will to see them through, and one woman confided that without counseling she thinks she would have killed her husband. It should be pointed out, however, that women whom abuse has benumbed into a true clinical depression require more intensive help than counseling can provide; the hope is that a counselor will be aware of this and recommend those women to therapy.

Lisa Frisch of the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence details four specific objectives that her office advises counselors to follow:

1 Identification of abuse.
Many women, unaware of what constitutes abuse, think that if he hasn't hit her he hasn't abused her. Clarification of this common misunderstanding is an important first step.

2 Validation of the woman's experience.
This entails listening to her, acknowledging the abusive behavior she reports, and supporting the feelings it has engendered. The counselor enables the woman to change. "This COULDN'T be happening to me" into It IS happening to me," an all-important step in dealing with it.

3 Advocacy for her safety and expanding options.
Counselors seek ways to ensure the woman's safety and work constantly through legislative pressure and fund-raising to ensure that further options will continue to open up.

4 Follow-up support
The counseling center is available to the woman for as long as she needs it, never passing judgment on the woman for her decision to stay in th abusive relationship and never urging her to leave.

Many women put the newfound strengths the counselor has helped them discover to another use: on their own they find a way to leave.

If She Leaves

If-and I would rather say WHEN-a woman if finally able to escape from an abusive mate, she has even more options. If married, she can get a divorce on the grounds of cruelty, but her first thought should be for a short-term rather than a long-term plan. The immediate question is where whe will go: To parents? Friends? A sister or brother? A safe house? A shelter? A place of her own?

Her decision has to be made by considering the vital question of safety. Statistics, studies, and the experiences of women with whom I work all support the fact that the worst abuse takes place when a woman leaves her abuser. If he abuser has previously just screamed at her, he now threatens to beat her; if he has previously destroyed her property, he now threatens to kill her; if he has previously threatened to kill her, he now may very well try and , in many cases, he may very well succeed: over 50 percent of women killed in the United States each year are killed by their husbands or ex-husbands.

Women who have walked out on abusive husbands can request police protection to return to their home and collect their clothes and personal belongings. One woman told me she felt she would not need the police, since she chose to go back to their apartment while her husband was at work. What she hadn't counted on was that, anticipating her move, he waited inside, grabbed her as she entered, covered her mouth so she couldn't scream, and beat her till she was almost unconscious. What saved her life, she feels, was the sound of her body as he banged it against the wall, which led a neighbor to call the police.

If a woman announces to her husband ahead of time her intention to leave him, while he may not resort to physical buse, he will intensify his nonphysical abuse. Since she has probably made similar threats before, he has learned that by throwing a greater scare into her he will succeed in frightening her enough to change her mind. "I'll kill you if you ever leave" is the most common threat, but ther are others as well:
"You try to leave, and I'll take the kids where you'll never see them again."
"Don't try to go to your mother's, because you'll find her dead if you do."
"You're so crazy, you'll be on the streets if you try to go it without me."
In many cases the threats hold a woman captive forever, but as safe alternatives open up, more and more women venture the risk and escape. Some leave with no more than the clothes on their back, fleeing alone or with children, to whatever safety they can find, with whatever precautions they can make. They keep their new address secret; they change their job; they put their children in a different school; they alert their friends to keep silent. Still, a thwarted man determined to regain his power can call forth incredible inner resources.

One man called 10 elementary schools in the city, asking for permission to pick up his daughter, giving the excuse that his wife had been in a serious accident, until he got the school in which his daughter was newly enrolled. Meeting her at school, he learned her new address and was waiting on the doorstep with her when his wife returned from work. Although she tried to get the police to arrest him for kidnapping, she had no case, since he was the child's father and had equal custody rights until she went to court.

A woman named Mildred Coe thought she had really found a way to hide by having the bank where she was a teller transfer her to another branch in a nearby town. Her husband, not to be outwitted, however, on learning that his wife was no longer at the same workplace, took a chance that her old boss might know where she was. Phoning him, the huisband said-apparently convincing-thatr he was from The IRS and had to clear up a matter with Mrs Coe. Did the boss know where she could be reached? Of course he did, and after calling the new bank, where the receptionist who answered gave him the bank's address and even directions to get there, Mr Coe walked up to Mrs Coe's window and in front of transfixed staff and customers screamed, "You cheating goddamn *****, you bitch, I'll get you."

In many cases, if a woman is not married to her abusive mate, the house or apartment in which they live is hers; she owns it and pays the rent or taxes. When she decides she has had enough of his battering, therefore, since she can stay by law; her job is to get him out. When he won't leave, she may do what a woman at court told me she did the other day-threw his clothes out on the street and changed the door locks while he was out drinking with his buddies. Unfortunately, he kicked the door down when he came back drunk and in a rage would have kicked her down as well if she had not escaped next door to a friend's house. In court the next day, the judge ordered him to vacate immediately.

One of the saddest cases I remember is an older woman whose hard-earned money at two cleaning jobs had enabled her to buy the house she and her husband live in, which she had put in both their names. As they aged, he grew more and more abusive, and after 40 years or so, she wanted him out of her life. Since she would not oblige him by vacating the house into which she had put her own money, and he wasn't about to give up either free lodging or free slave service, she felt trapped until she heard about Family Court, which had the authority to order him out. The hope of attaining abuse-free peace with which she entered court faded quickly when the judge issued an order that her husband could not harass, assault, or threaten her but would not put him out of the house. Even though she herself had bought and paid for the house- and only from a sense of equality had listed it in joint ownership-the judge turned a deaf ear to her pleas, insisting impatiently that the order would protect her. Not surprisingly, it has not protected her, and unless she leaves-with no job now, and no place to go- she is doomed to live with her abuser until one of them dies.

What really threatens an abuser is not only his woman slipping away from his control but also his woman finding another man. "Andy won't let me get on with my life," Rebecca, an attractive young woman with 3 children told me the other day. Divorced 3 years ago, she had allowed Andy, her estranged husband, to see the children as often as he wanted, ignored his legal ploys to delay finalization of the divorce, and wasn't even too concerned about harassing phone calls, and the negative things he said about her. She met and developed a relationship with a new man, was building a new life.

However, when Andy began hearing the children talk about "Tom: and saw Tom at her house once or twice when he returned them from a visit, Andy's behavior became more extreme and aroused Rebecca's alarm. One day he stood in front of her house, bangin on the door and screaming; another time he sent his girlfriend to the front door to shout obscenities at Rebecca when she answered. His abusive behavior proceeded to accelerate. When, no longer content to shout from the street, he began pounding on her windows and cursing, the children became hysterical and ran upstairs with the report that he had said he was going to kill Tom. At that point she went to court for a protective order.

Some abusers use their children to spy on their mother, getting them to relay information on whom she is seeing and what she is doing when they have visits; others use them as emissaries to beg theirmother, "Please let Daddy come back to us." Almost all of them play on their children's sympathy, arousing pity against a cruel mother who tells lies and doesn't want them to see Daddy. It is not unusual for children to become so upset over being emotionally dragged away from their mother, like a rope in tug-of-war, that they begin acting out with nightmares, crying, and a slump in school; many require therapy. In my experience, far more mothers show concern for their children by keeping their hostile feelings to themselves than estranged fathers do.

Shelters and safe houses exist to protect women when protective orders can't. Althouh there are not nearly enough of them to house the thousands fo women in danger-only about 500 at this time-hospitals, social agencies, and women'ts groups continue to open new ones as they get funding. While both offer protection, safe houses and shelters are somewhat different: the former are homes where women can find temporary sanctuary under the care of empathetic non-professionals, while the latter provide professional counseling services as well. Since many of the counselors have themselves been battered, they are in a position to offer unique help to meet the unique needs of the women who flee to them.

An abused woman is wise to assess her options and think through a plan of escape. Without this, if in the midst of a battering attack, whether physical or non physical, she suddenly knows she can take no more and runs for the door, she faces greater danger.

First, she will enrage her abuser even further. Seeing his control ebb as she tries to leave, he will take harsher measures to keep her. Among those measures have been beatings so severe as to maim her permanently, leave her unconscious, or kill her. Threats, even the most outrageous ones, often turn into reality at this point: from time to time the newspaper reports on men who followed their fleeing wife to her parents' home and murdered the whole familly.

Second, if the woman has children, her spontaneous flight will most likely inclue them, but how? Will she grab them from bed or crib or televisoin? Will she call them to follow her? Either way will traumatize them and will escalate her husband's rage. Since the children are his strongest weapon, he will weild it with force, even against them, striking where it hurts most: "Try to go with your mother, and I'll kill you too." In the face of that, a woman will often concede her husband's victory and stay, or leave without her children. Many women who have chosen the latter alternative have regretted it later when in custody suit the judge berates them for abandonment.

Third, a woman who flees her abuser in the heat of an incidient without a predesigned plan has to decide where to go and how to get there when her mind is in a state of chaos. Unable to think clearly, she acts in panic, making herself even more vulnerable to her abuser's control. "I didn't know what to do," a woman told me after she had run from the house and her husband had locked the door, "so I just sat on the steps and cried all night."

Planning ahead

When a woman plans ahead in the cool, clear moments when she is alone in the house, she affords herself a far greater chance of escaping to safety than if she runs on impulse:

Getting advice

She can begin by phoning a domestic violence hot line, where a trained volunteer will help her clarify her concerns and needs and will guide hr to the proper source for help. If she feels in immediate danger, the volunteers will call the police. If she has been injured, they will call an ambulance. If she is confused and distraught, they will call her in for counseling. If she wants to leave, they will help her make arrangements. With each question, they ask to clarify her needs both for her and for them, they turn the decision over to her by repeating, "How can I help you?"

This kind of guidance enables a woman to assess her needs and opinions so that she can make workable decisions for her ad her children. If she tries to reach for a phone in the middle of a battering bout, from what I hear in court, her husband will probably tear the phone from the wall and might even throw it at her or hurl it through a window. In the calm of another day she can not only speak to the person on the hot line in safety but also receive suggestions with a clear mind. The hot-line number in most states is listed under "Domestic Violence" in the "Community Services" section at the beginning of most communtiy phone books.

Finding a Place to Go

Whether she reaches for help from a hot line or outllines a plan herself, a woman's first need is a place to go. If family and friends are not a possibiltiy, she may turn to a shelter or a safe house for a temporary haven until she has time to formulate a permanent altenative to her abusive home. If she knows the name of a local shelter or safe house, she can speak to someone at the administrative office and make an appointment to see her. Since it is essential that addresses remain secret to keep out the abusive men from whom women are seeking protection, she will be able to contact only the admimistrative office at first, whose number the hot line will give her.

Find a Way to Get There

Once a woman determines where she is going, she will have to figure out a way to get there. If she has a car, whose key her husband has not hidden and whose tires he has not flattened, or if her friends or family can pick her up, she has no problem. If, however, she must rely on public transportation to a shelter, a safe house, or someone's home, she should be secure about where she gets it, how often it runs, and how much it costs. A call to the city's transit company will answer her questions.

Planning for Expenses

In making her escape plan, a woman need to consider money. If she has her own bank account, all she needs is her checkbook; if she and her husband have a joint account, she will need to draw out enough money to tide her over till she arranges for an income. With no funds of her own, unless she has a job or another source of income, she will have to go to the Dept of Social Services to apply for Govt assistance-welfare, food stamps, and housing-a tedious process with which the shelter personnel will help her is she has been able to find a space there.

Deciding When to Go

Next the woman has to decide when to make her break. Since her years of abuse will culminate at the point of her leaving if her husband knows, she has to keep her plans secret from all but the one or two who are to help her. Then, when he is away from the house and she is sure he will remain away fr several hours, she should quickly pack up her clothes, any legal documents she has, and the few personal keepsakes she can carry and go. A woman who came to court one day for a protective order showed me all the legal papers she had stuffed into her pocketbood-lease, bank books, car registration and insurance, receipts, etc-"because the kids and I aren't going back there till he's out." I have spoken to women who left notes behind explaining their reasons for leaving and to women who left without a word. Which is more effective depends on what she writes in the letter, and perhaps even more, on what he reads into it.

Planning for the Childre

The last and most important part of the woman's plan is her children. If they are young, experience has taught many women not to alert them ahead of time because no mtter how forcefully she explains the need for secrecy they are apt to let it slip. One little boy, determined to obey his mother, decided to reinforce their secret by fooling his father and told him, "We're not going to leave you tomorrow." Although teenagers are clearly capable of keeping the secret, it may cause them such guilt that it is kinder not to make them carry it within them much in advance.

The logistics of leaving are carried out most effectively when all the children are home and the husband is away. If this situation never positions itself, the woman has a problem to solve. While preschool children pose no difficulty, since she can carry them with her-although not all shelters and safe houses accept children-she has to decide what to do about children in school. If she leaves them, they are a target for their father's harassment, and through them he can discover where she is. If she takes them, she disrupts their education until she can place them elsewhere. Chapter 14 will discuss how the school can help.

It is not easy for a woman to leave her home, even when it has isolated her in hurt and humiliation. It is still her home, built on love, shared witha belief in permanence, endured through her tears with hope. "I though taking my husband's abuse was the hardest thing I ever had to do," Lucy told me once, adding, "but I didn't know what hard was until I decided to leave." It is frightening to face an unkown future; it is risky to face what might be murderous consequences. Yet if she stays, she tells her man it is all right to batter her, and to inflict abuse on her children as well. The consequences of staying are just as frightening, just a life-threatening to the soul and possibly to the body.

"What if he keeps after me? Chapter 14

Protection for Women Who Leave

"It's hard to believe," Maria told me while waiting for the judge to call her case, "but the day after we were married, Danny began telling me what a dumb bitch I was. He had been so nice up till then." I didn't find it hard to believe it because I had heard the story before. Wasn't it Groucho Marx who said he had no friends because he couldn't respect anyone low enough to want him for a friend? Abusive men seem to share Groucho's feeling that any woman dumb enough to marry them isn't deserving of their respect.

It took Maria 4 years to convince herself that since she couldn't remake Danny into the man she had married-or THOUGHT she had married- she was going to get on with a life of her own. When she first threatened to leave him, he cut up her pajamas; she was angry. When she threatened a second time, he took their baby from the crib and drove off with her for 13 hours; she was scared. So the third time, she omitted the threat and took off while Danny was at work, a suitcase in one hand, the baby under her arm. "Free at last," she sighed.

Maria was wrong. That was 9 years ago, and there hasn't been a day since when Danny hasn't continued his nonphysical abuse of her, defying court orders, escaping police, shrugging off the days and weeks in jail (for contempt of court, not for abuse) to which the court has sentenced him. He has violated the US Mail by sending obscene letters and postcards, screamed vulgarities into the telephone, tracked down her unlisted numbers, kicked in her front door, dragged her into court on a sexual molestation charge and her mother on assault, refused to pay child support, lied on his tax return, and fought the divorce on grounds that she was crazy.

In the light of what other abusers have done, Maria considers herself lucky. When one woman left, her husband had her arrested for stealing his car; another had a key made for the door lock she had taken the precaution to change and while she was at work moved out all her furniture. Many pick the cihildren up at school under false pretenses and run off with them; others track the woman down and assault her-cut up her face, shave her head, beat her up; some, like the husband of Anne Scripps Douglas, kill her. A Milwaukee man stabbed his wife to death in the very courtroom where she was applying for an order of protection.

Since abuse rises from a need for control, a man is most challenged when the woman in his power breaks away. Up until then he has been able to keep her in submission by destroying her self-image and threatening her physical, psychological, social and economic welfare. Suddenly she leaves, and although she may not speak a word, her actions flaunt his powerlessness. That being the one state he cannot endure, he goes to whatever lengths necessary to regain his control over her, fight to th death if need be-her death. That is why more women are killed after they leave their abusers than while they remain in thrall.

Merely relocating in what the woman perceives as a secret place will not assure her safety. Her abuser can tract her through her car, her driver's licese, her social security number, her place of work, her friends, the children's school, etc. One man reported his wife missing, then went to the police just as they located her in hiding in her mother's house. "Hold on a minute," the officer said as he spoke to the woman on the phone. Then handing the phone to the man, he explained cheerily, "Here, I have your wife on the phone right now."

Another man tracked down his wife through their son's friends, whose names he knew through the little boy's conversations. Phoning the school, he obtained the children's telephone numbers on the pretense of giving his son a surprise party and then called each home repeatedly until he located his son. Through him he discovered the new address. Many women must feel as the wife in this case did when she told me, "If he would apply his brains to something constructive instead of hounding me, he'd solve the world's problems." He's not interested in solving the world's problems, though; he just wants her back where she belongs-under his domination.

Just as the woman who decides to remain with her abusive mate must find some means of protection, so must the woman who decides to leave. Having him arrested is one way. Although some nonphysical abuse practices are criminal, as discussed in Chapter 10, few police will arrest a man for them; and when they do, few judges will follow through with a jail sentence. The father of a young woman I know tried repeatedly with no success to get one of the district attorneys to prosecute his daughter's husban because of increasing harassment-from obscene phone clals to stalking and crawling into her house through a window; he refused "because that wasn't enough."

The alternative, which most women turn to, is an order of protection. A woman may apply for this through either Family Court or Criminal Court, the purposes of which differ: the purpose of Family Court is to protect the abused; the purpose of Criminal Court is to prosecute the abuser. She may seek protection from one court and prosecution from the other simultaneously.


****Please note, I am going to skip over the next paragraphs which detail the how-tos in getting an order of protection, as these laws and procedures vary and change. You may acquire the information in your area by calling a local women's shelter or courts or prosecuting attorney.********
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Old 05-16-2003, 10:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by liveweyerd
Men's behavir may be considered nonphysically abusive if they do one or more of the following:

1 Hit, punch, slap, shove or bite you.

I'm sorta puzzled by this one

But maybe I'm just tired and reading it wrong.(No offense to Just Tired )

I do know I used to feel fortunate when my abusive partner didn't leave obvious visible marks.Being beaten and nearly killed and feeling fortunate about any part of it.It sounds crazy now but at the time .....


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Old 05-16-2003, 10:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Phoenix, no that doesn't read right, but I just checked and that is the way it is written in the book. I think she preferenced it differently earlier in a previous chapter.

The typos are al mine!!! hahah behavior is misspelled in that quote.

Hey, I am happy someone is reading this!!!
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Old 05-16-2003, 10:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hey, I am happy someone is reading this!!!
It's some difficult reading.So much painful truth to sift through.But I do think when we finally see these truths they give a certain freedom.I know I never have to live like that again.

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Old 05-18-2003, 07:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi Live,

Yesterday I was at an A.A convention and while I was driving there I was wondering what I have to change in me to stop being attracted to these abusive men and the answer came out at the convention while I was listening to people share.

Stay away from the victim role, I am responsible for myself.

If I revert always to the victim role I'll end up locking in with another abuser.

Ngaire
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Old 05-20-2003, 12:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Really, I guess the only way that abuse stops is by us making changes from within so we aren't attracted to these people anymore.

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Old 05-20-2003, 11:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You are ahead of me!!!
This book addresses that a little later.
Answers questions I have had anyway.
Hope you are well and happy!
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Old 05-21-2003, 08:09 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Liveweyerd- I just wanted to butt in here and thank you for all the time and effort you ahve been putting into this! I know it is helping me so so much, and I can't wait to read more. Thank you, from the heart.
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Old 05-27-2003, 07:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Will he ever change? Chapter 15

In May of 1994 Admiral Mike Boords, newly appointed chief of naval operations after the Tailhook sex scandal, expressed his faith that it would never happen again. "I think our culture is different," he said. Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder responded with doubt that navy culture has changed, and Senator Barbara Boxer months later said, "The military needs to be realistic and admit there is a problem" In fact, a study reported in the same article indicated that one in every three military families has suffered some kind of family abuse. Since it focused only on physical abuse and the overwhelming preponderance of nonphysical abuse among the general public is acknowledged, it is horrifying to consider what that statistic might be among the military.
Most people working with battered women doubt that American culture has changed either. Battering has not abated. Rape continues. Men still exchange demeaning jokes and buy Penthouse and Playboy. Rock videos titilate with violence against women. The film industry grows rich on macho heroes. And only recently a men's counselor told me that a judge who gave a batterer extreme leniency whispered knowingly to him, "We know the trouble-she's not giving him enough sex."
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Old 05-28-2003, 07:24 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Stephen Dill, who with Gordon Duggan runs batterers' workshops in Putnam County, New York, believes that "as men we are all on the continuum of abuse" and that until the belief system of our society changes, neither the navy nor America will see a diminution, much less an end, to abuse. To underscore the deep-seated male view of women, he points out how often a male employer n firing a woman for incompetence says, "I'll never hire another woman." but in firing a man, never even thinks, "I'll never hire another man." Along the same line, most of us while on the road have heard our husband or some other man shout, "Dumb woman driver" but never identify an equally errant male as "Dumb man driver." In fact, I heard a man curse the "woman driver" in front of him one day and then whiz past only to discover it was a man. Unchagrined, he growled, "Well, he drives like a woman!"

The Virginia Slims ad may have proved that women need no longer smoke cigarettes behind closed doors, but abuse professionals feel we certainly haven't come such a long way in matters that really count. The first steps toward ending abuse have to be taken, everyone agrees, through education. Twenty-five years ago few people understood the hazards of smoking (except the cigarette executives, it appearss) until the American Cancer society spent millions of dollars to educate the public through media campaigns and to prepare materials for use in schools. Today, despite a recent rise in teenage girls' smoking, an overall decrease is apparent. Similarly, no one paid much attention to intoxicated drivers until the parents of children killed-they call it murdered-by drunken drivers formed MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and sent a blitz of advertisements across the country. As a result, new legislation has been passed, more is being demanded, and designated driver has become a household phrase,
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Old 05-28-2003, 07:36 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Abuse prevention activists are pressuring local, state, and national governments to wage a similar bombardment to educate the public in two directions. One is to reach adults-first with basic information on what constitutes abuse so that no man will ever again say, "It's only my wife" or "What's all the fuss about? I didn't lay a hand on her"; and second on a woman and the legal effects on the man who abuses her. While the goal is admirable and the program would undoubtedly effect some change, results would be limited. As Lisa Frisch of the New York State Office for the Preention of Domestic Violence explains, a man can understand it all intellectually and still act from a deep-rooted need for control that only intensive therapy can reverse.

The other direction is to reach children before their stereotypes are fixed in society's concrete-to discuss the interdependence and equality of men and women an to explore constructive ways of expressing anger and need for control that leads to abuse. School programs of this kind are growing, sponsored by local governments and by women's shelters. My Sister's Place in New York's Westchester ounty runs two day programs in schools throughout lower Wetchester, of which The New York Times reported that in every class children could name neighbors who were abused and al least one knew of a woman murdered by her husband. Education will bring awareness, but whether it ill bring change will take years to tell. "Progress is being made, bu in itsy bitsy baby steps," claims Thead DuBow of My Sister's Place.
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Old 05-28-2003, 07:48 AM   #13 (permalink)
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To stop men from battering, it is essential to understand why they do it, and the explanations of professionals differ widely from those of the men themselves. The following list of reasons was compiled by the Virginia Peninsula Council on Domestic Violence, a copy given to me by Judge Allbritton of Clearwater, Florida's, Family Court. Although we have discussed many of these points in previous chapters, because the list incorporates the understanding of most people who work in the field, I am including it here as a contrast to the reasons batterers themselves give.

The Batterer: Why Does He Batter?

1 Exaggerated need to control/dominate. Defines manhood in terms of dominance and control over others, especially females.

2 Violence is an accepted part of male upbringing in our society-and most others.

3 Learned response to stress

4 Extreme emotional dependence upon victim. Relationship addiction.

5 His violence gets results-if only temporarily.

6 The violence "feels good"-if only temporarily

7 Lack of conflict negotiation skills. Lack of cooperative decisions-making skills.

8 Espresses anger as aggression. Expresses most emotions such as hurt feelings or sadness, as anger.

9 Accepts abuse as normal due to childhood experiences.

10 Does not see himself as responsible for his own behavior. Feels other people or events provoke him and are therefore responsible. Feels the abuse is justifiable. Blames the victim. Externalization.

11 Objectifies women-it's OK to hit an object

12 Views relationships in terms of hierarchy of power. Sees women as "second-class citizens." Believes in a decidedly patriarchal social and personal structure. Quotes the Bible to substantiate his belief that women should be submissive to men.

13 Self-pity and self-deception. Denies the abuse. If he acknowledges the abuse, he denies the pain that results from the abuse.

14 Poor impulse control/poor anger control

15 Pathological jealousy

16 Low self-esteem
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Each small candle lights a corner of the dark....Roger Waters

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Old 05-28-2003, 12:30 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by liveweyerd
Quotes the Bible to substantiate his belief that women should be submissive to men.

Oh my yes. i'm floored by that being in there, for some reason.
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Old 05-29-2003, 08:46 PM   #15 (permalink)
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The Abusers' Claims

While people who work with abusers recognize all sixteen of these factors as contributing to abuse of women, the abusers themselves identifu the motivation for their actions quite differently. Only on number ten do they agree, insisting "It's not my fault." For an article entitled "Why Do Men Batter Ther Wives/" the author James Ptacek conducted interviews with batterers to elicit reasons for their battering firsthand. He found that the explanations for their behavior split into two groups-excuses and justifucatins-and concluded, "The batterer appeals to standard rationalizatios in an attempt to make sense of or to normalize his behavior."

Almost all the women I work with, whether battered physiclly or nonphysically, corroborate th findings of Yilo and Bograd, reporting that their husbands explain their actions not as abuse but as uncontrollable outbursts. "I just lost it" is the common phrase. The authors of the study found that a third of respondents in their study shrugged off responsibility for their loss of control by attributing it to drugs or alchohol, which is a guilt-free cop-out for them and and an obvious evasion, since professionals generally agree that neither causes abuse. The remaining two-thirds blamed buildup of frustration for which they needed an outlet, another cop-out because, as pointed out earlier, the selectively release frustration where it would do them no damage, on their wife. On June 22, 1994, The New York Times reported on a study led by Dr. Neil S. Jacobsen that corroborates the fact that many men not only batter with "cool control" but also actually feel better while doing it. They fall back on the loss-of -control rationale because it enables society to exonerate them and at the same time enables the men to exonerate themselves.
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Old 05-29-2003, 08:55 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I'm really grateful that this was made a "sticky".It makes sense of so much of the confusion,and I hope it helps others as much as it is helping me.Thanks so much.

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Old 05-30-2003, 01:00 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Live, thanks for all the work you are doing here.

This is a great post and a good link to post to someone who may be experiencing abuse.

Hugs,
MG
 
Old 06-10-2003, 04:53 PM   #18 (permalink)
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i was abused physcially ... heres my problem...
first a little aboutthe4 episode... because i am told the more i talk about it the more i'll heal... because i've been sober for almost 7 months now and have really only talked about it 2 or 3 times... i live at a womens revocery home and have had plenty of chances to work in out in our group therapys ...or my one on one counseling w/our therapist .. but never did because i knew what they'd all say ..to leave him....

i was beat many times by him and hes not the first.. but he made all the rest of my abusive relationships seem not so scarey and more child like... i feared for my life .... yet i'll still try to rationalize it ..like well he was drunk or loaded or it was my fault i messed with his head and kept lying to him. etc etc ...

the night he put me in the hospital was one of the 2 most scariest episodes with him... he showed up at this cyber cafe i was at ... last time i saw him things were fine ... so this was so unexpected ... he ripped out in front of the entire place by my hair ....threw me in his car and proceeded to drive around for 2 hours beating like a man with me in the back seat him driving and some firend of his in the front seat.... punching in the face in the head ... pulling a knife on me ... the ordeal ... the struggel went on for 2 1/2 hours ... i was terrified ... he was insanely crazy and drunk .... it ended w/ me making a run for out of his car and i jumped through some total stangers window and ran threw there house.... then taken away in an ambulance ... i'd beencut with knife in severzal places and didnt even know it ... had to get staples in my arm stitches here and there ... and
i still went back to him... he pulled gun one time and put it to my head and loaded it .. etc etc

we ened up months later going to jail and i have been in recovery ever since and hes been in prison ... not for anything having to do with that... well he got 60 days for domestic violence but he got out since then and i tried to go back iwth him but he hit me agai...
hes due to get out of prison again...in the next 2 weeks i have been writting him and thoght i could stick it out with him.. cuz hes going into a program when he gets out ... but a really big part of me just wants out of that relationship... but the sicker part of me cant let it go .... i cant find the strength to end it ... why ??? i dont understand .... what do i do .... i pray and pray for the obsession to be removed but i dont know if its out of fear or if its that i am determined to make him see i am not the bad person he thinks ... but am i so determined i am willing to put my life at stake ... when wasl oaded or drunk i could excuse it cuz i my mind wasn't in full working capacity ... but i am sober now ... please anyone with advise please help me...
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Old 06-11-2003, 11:02 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Get some heavy dury therapy for yourself.

Ngaire
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Old 06-11-2003, 02:47 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Smile

well last night i went home and wrote him a short but very to the point leter saying i had to let him go .. that it was what i needed to do ... and that i was sorry it had to end this way... and that i wished him luck.,... i asked him to please not contact me when he got out ......

i mailed it this morning.....

were you saying i needed therapy because i was considering going back to him ..... i mean i feel ok... as far my mental stability goes ..... however i don't when hes in my life... which is why i just quit fighting it and just did what i knew was best for me .. right now ..... i feel now like i have been freed from the stress of knowing what my life was about to be like if i didn't end things with him............. its such a relief yet its so sad for me to have to admitt that ................. ANOTHER f'd up relationship... another year of my life invested and then wasted .... and i am almost 30 years old............. oh well hopefully now in my recovery i'll truely learn how to make better choices and learn from all my past experiences(mistakes)
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