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Most people perceive domestic violence as being a series of sad explosive episodes often happening (mostly) to women who go back for more. While it is true that in DV advocacy circles the ideology is that on average, an abused person tries to leave their relationship 7 times before being successful. The irony is, in the leaving, the abused is at their most vulnerable state. While the abuser believes they maintain power and control over the abused person they are less likely to act out in violence.
On the average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day.
1 out of 3 women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.
Ninety-four percent of the offenders in murder-suicides were male. While seventy-four percent of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner (spouse, common-law spouse, ex-spouse, or boyfriend/girlfriend). Of these, 96 percent were females killed by their intimate partners. Most murder-suicides with three or more victims involved a “family annihilator” — a subcategory of intimate partner murder-suicide.Family annihilators are murderers who kill not only their wives/girlfriends and children, but often other family members as well,before killing themselves.
83% percent of respondents strongly agreed that domestic violence affects people in all racial, ethnic, religious, educational, social and economic backgrounds.
Approximately one-half of the orders obtained by women against intimate partners who physically assaulted them were violated.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence General Information Packet (statistics as of 2007)
As for me
I left one time.
I was never once assaulted or even threatened within the confines of my marriage. My ex was (and is still considered) a harmless arty-fellow. During my original divorce proceedings I believed we were working out a fair an equitable situation for my toddling child. I was never a lilting lily of a woman.
The ink was not dry on the divorce decree the first time my ex-husband took off with my son. On the day my son turned 3 years old, we spent a frightened night at the hospital, at the police station, and then finally at a women’s shelter (that I had ironically been volunteering at not too long before this incident). Throughout the intervening 14.5 years since my divorce was finalized I have fought my way back from a victim status to being a survivor. I successfully challenged for my legal right to parent and finally, subsequently won sole custody of the ePrince because it became painfully obvious that my ex was unable to parent at all.
But domestic violence does not go away. It is not an isolated incident that fades with time. Despite the separation of almost 15 years… Despite my work as a domestic violence advocate… Despite my own personal belief that the hell was over… here we are. The experiences that I have revealed in my previous posts speak little of the real-life impact of our lives changing on a dime. Again.
Domestic violence happens at all echelons of society. All kinds of people are affected by power/control relationships across all different nationalities and class standards and social circles. Sometimes you think you know what is happening to your friends- to your loved ones, and sometimes you don’t know at all.
The overarching ontology about domestic violence and the failure to leave creates a societal impatience with the victimized. A lot of shaming goes on around a person effected by domestic violence, and blame for having become a victim in the first place.
Personally, I never want to hear another person say to me, “I don’t know what you were thinking when you married that guy.” Because the god-awful truth is that no one saw this one coming. And had I not come from the fucked-up family that I was born into, I might’ve had the skills and different life-circumstances to make other choices when they availed themselves to me.
As it is, I did not ask for this to happen then, or now. In recent years I even had thought we successfully moved past these kinds of events. I have worked very hard to teach my boys to respect women. I have never been a weak person. And I do not intend to pass on the cycle of abuse as a legacy to my children.
So we are going to live out loud, come hell or high water. On most days I’m taking care of my kids, and doing household stuff. We won’t be hiding from my ex, who has become our family’s boogieman. If he wants to come get me, he’s gonna have to try it and see how successful he is – because I am not going down without a fuckin’ fight.
But not everyone is like me. So if you know someone who has been victimized, get off your high horse and help.
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[…Personally, I never want to hear another person say to me, “I don’t know what you were thinking when you married that guy.” Because the god-awful truth is that no one saw this one coming. And had I not come from the fucked-up family that I was born into, I might’ve had the skills and different life-circumstances to make other choices when they availed themselves to me….]
Yes!!!!! On both counts! You are not alone in this, I am not alone in this — but at the time, if you were anything like me, you sure as heck felt as though you were! Not only did they ask why I had married the guy, but they refused to believe it was as bad as it was because had it been, I would have left sooner. Yeah. OK. Sure. I felt like the perpetrator, rather than the one trying to (finally) call out for help! 10 years have put some significant distance between me and those awful days in the shelter with three kids, but the effects just never seem to completely go away….