Domestic violence crosses all ethnic, racial, orientation, religious and socioeconomic lines. Some societies feel that a man has the right to be physically aggressive as a means of asserting his authority. Bullying behaviour comes in various guises. Some approaches are cloaked in sentiments of love or even affection but they have an undercurrent of a man trying to make a woman feel obliged to do something out of kindness. Men can’t understand why women are not more willing to give them the pleasure of intercourse. Men get frustrated because women essentially control their sexual opportunities. So men pressure their partner into sex.
Domestic violence or abuse is a deliberate strategy to control women rather than an impulsive act. Abuse is a learned behaviour. It is learned from seeing abuse used as a successful tactic of control typically in the home in which the abuser grew up, but also in schools, peer groups, and the media. The behaviour is target-specific. Men, who abuse, don’t use this behaviour at work. They use abuse at home as a means of control over their partners.
Abusers often use violence or defence mechanisms to justify abusive behaviours, extreme jealousy, and conflicting personalities. Abusers deny responsibility for their actions and they also often deny that any type of abusive behaviour has taken place. They typically present a different personality outside the home than they do inside, which makes it difficult for a woman to describe her experiences to people outside the relationship.
Abusive behaviour can include physical abuse (violence directed at causing bodily harm) and sexual abuse (forcing a partner to perform sexual acts against their will). Psychological or emotional abuse may precede or accompany physical violence as a means of control. Economic coercion is used to make a partner dependent on the abuser for money and survival.
Domestic violence (violence in the home), with women and children as primary victims, is a major worldwide epidemic. The majority, an estimated 90 percent to 95 percent, of domestic violence victims in heterosexual relationships are women. In the US, battering is the top cause of injuries to women (more incidences than rape, muggings and car accidents combined). It is estimated that at least 3 million to 4 million women are beaten by their husbands or partners annually in the US. Women may also abuse their children. Women inflict abuse more typically verbally rather than physically. Emotional abuse is rarely identified.
A woman is more likely to be assaulted, injured, raped or killed by a male partner than by any other type of assailant. About half of all marital relationships involve some form of domestic violence. More than one-half of the female homicide victims in the US are killed by their male partners.
A woman stays with a man because she loves him and believes he will change. Men have many have periods when they are generous with their affection. The woman tries to be ‘perfect’ so that he will always show his loving side. Unfortunately, an abuser is driven by his own emotional needs and so continues his behaviour regardless of her actions. Sex may be men’s weakness but women can be sentimental about those they love. Men know this and they use a woman’s love as a means of bartering for sex.
There are various factors that appear to place certain women at a somewhat greater risk for abuse. Young women (aged 19 to 29) are at most risk. Separated or divorced women are 14 times more likely than married women to report having been a victim of domestic violence. It is, however, likely that separation or divorce directly resulted from the violence.
A woman can have intercourse during her period and during pregnancy. No harm is done. Not all women want to. They may worry about being ‘unclean’ or that intercourse will harm a foetus (only in the case of rape). Advanced stages of pregnancy leave a woman less able to defend themselves. Medical sources suggest that about 37 percent of obstetric patients are physically abused while pregnant. About 21 percent of women who were previously abused, report an increase in the abuse during pregnancy. The risk of injuries to the woman and her foetus increases.
Women who have an excessively jealous or possessive partner are more at risk. Women who abuse drugs or alcohol or have a relationship with someone who abuses drugs or alcohol are at greater risk. Men who have witnessed domestic violence between their parents are three times more likely to abuse their own wives than men who have nonviolent parents.
You deserve a man who loves you, respects you, and is attentive to your needs. Don’t feel like you have to settle for anything less. (Stephan Labossiere 2018)