Understanding Domestic Abuse

In Domestic Abuse Posts By Barbara, Recent Posts by Barbara Jacoby

I just read a short story (under 100 words) about a 40 year-old woman who shot and killed her 51 year-old boyfriend on Friday evening.  She is being held in police custody while the incident is being investigated as a homicide-domestic violence incident.  The story also indicated that a 13 year-old may have witnessed the incident.

The story is not unusual.  However, what was so horrifying to me was that while there were 5 “comments” on the story (one indicated that it would be very sad if a child had witnessed the incident), the other four were all bashing women and talking about how abusive they are and how domestic abuse against men is so underreported and how there are so few shelters for men who are abused.

Are you kidding me?  I do believe that there are women who abuse men.  I do believe that men do not report the abuse because they are embarrassed to do so.  I do believe that there are cases where the abuse is so bad that men find it necessary to leave the home.  But to compare the numbers and say that the

From my own experience, I know what it is like to have a loaded gun in my face and to be verbally and physically abused.  I know what it is like to be told that if I were to leave, I would be hunted down and killed.
abuse of women against men is greater than men against women is such a major blow to ever creating a better situation for abused women and children.

From my own experience, I know what it is like to have a loaded gun in my face and to be verbally and physically abused.  I know what it is like to be told that if I were to leave, I would be hunted down and killed.  I know what it is like to fear reporting the abuse because you know that if your abuser is arrested, you can count on major repercussions whenever he is released from custody.  And I have met an unbelievable number of women whose experiences are just like those that I have experienced.  And while I read numerous stories like this every single day, I have not read a single one where a man was threatened in any way like this.

For those who have no concept about what the experience is like for a woman who is in a domestic violence situation, the one question that I repeatedly hear is why doesn’t she just leave?   I wish it were that easy.  However, it has been proven that if an abuser believes that the victim is trying to leave, the violence will escalate.  The belief of the abuser is that if I can’t have her, no one else will have her either.  The women are looked at as being property that these men own and they also believe that women are second class citizens who need to be beaten into submission, if necessary.  However, I do not find that this same mentality exists in those relationships where women are the abusers of men.  I don’t mean that there has never been a case where this existed but I am not aware of one.  And in a society where 1 in 4 women are being abused, the number of men being abused by women is relatively small.

That is why women who want to leave very often have to find a place to go where they are hidden away and can’t be found by their abusers.  Any departure has to be carefully planned and then you hope for the best.  From my own experience, the day that I left, I had reached the point that I believed that it would be preferable to be shot and killed rather than to live one more day as I had been living.

So I would appreciate it if those people who have never been in an abusive situation or have no one who can share their own experience, that they reserve judgment about those who have been abused.  It would also be appreciated if such irresponsible commentary and conclusions would not be given as fact because it will ultimately be believed by others and may result in women everywhere not being given the help that they need and deserve in order to become survivors.

If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, you can seek help through the National Domestic Violence Hotline – 800-799-SAFE (7233) – 1.800.787.3224 (TTY).