Opinion: Why women stay with abusive men

Demi Blackmon, Managing Editor

The attacks of which I have been the object have broken the spring of life in me… People don’t realize what it feels like to be constantly insulted, ” said Edouard Manet.

The recent suspension of Ray Rice from the NFL Baltimore Ravens has led many everyday conversations to the topic of domestic violence. The question arises as to why women stay with men who physically or mentally abuse them.

Some women have been abused their whole lives by family members and random strangers. This continuous abuse while growing up becomes normal to young women. An abusive relationship may not look unhealthy to them anymore because it has become so common in their lives.

According to loveisrespect.org, “If [a woman] doesn’t know what a healthy relationship looks like, perhaps from growing up in an environment where abuse was common, [she] may not recognize that the relationship is unhealthy.”  

Other women lack attention from men. This causes them to be insecure about their looks and personality. When a man finally shows some interest to a woman with a low self-esteem, she is instantly drawn to him. Regardless of whether he is a good guy or not, the woman falls for him so she can continue receiving this desired attention. According to loveisrespect.org, a woman with low self-esteem often is persuaded that the abuse is her fault.

A woman may also stay in an abusive relationship longing to be loved and hoping their significant other will change his abusive ways. These conflicting emotions will cause a woman to stay in an unhealthy relationship just waiting for the day he stops abusing her.

According to pbs.org, “Women often love the men who abuse them, or at least love them initially. Men who batter are not 100 percent hateful, but they can be loving and attentive partners at times.”

Some women continue to remain in unhealthy relationships because they fear they cannot survive without their significant other. If the relationship were to end, the woman would lose her home, car, money and maybe even children if courts were to become involved. A fear of vulnerability may cause women to stay in an abusive relationship.

According to stopdv.org, “…women face the greatest risk of assault when they leave or threaten to leave their partners, or report the abuse to authorities.”

Advice, counseling and encouragement can be given to women who are in an abusive relationship or those who are affected by previous relationships they have been in. Abuse is not normal, and no one deserves to be treated in such a manner. If you or a friend are being abused by family members, friends or a significant other, please call the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA) at 800-260-9293.

Safe Harbor, Inc is a non-profit organization that reaches out to victims of domestic violence. If you would like to help victims of abuse, you can shop at the Safe Harbor Resale Store or donate financially at safeharborsc.org.