What is domestic violence? A look at the battered woman (Part 18)
The Battered Woman
Unfortunately the unpredictability of the battered woman also manifests in what exactly causes her to leave. Many women leave at the first sign of violence, but for others it obviously is not that simple (Berry 58). Fear for ones own health and the health of ones loved ones does seem to be a strong motivator. One victim of domestic abuse admitted that she left her abusive relationship after a friend showed her a story in the local newspaper of a man killing his wife simply stating, "this could be you" (Berry 58). Researchers have also noted other potential catalyst for leaving like obtaining a job, earning a degree, or otherwise improving their financial state (Berry 57). Since the abuser uses a strict grasp on finances as a way to control the victim, finding a way to generate outside income is a great first step to take in getting out of an abusive relationship. For some, a doctor or physician might spark change by noticing the scars or bruising. Even taking baby steps toward removing yourself from the toxic relationship is a huge success. Leaving an abuser is a complex issue and not everyone has the means and opportunity to uproot everything they know and leave. Calling hot lines, seeking counseling, asking for help from friends and family are all ways that one can take to start the leaving process (Berry 57). In fact, Dr. Berry notes that it takes the battered woman an average of 8 departures before she finally leaves for good (Berry 57). Each of these failed attempts should not be looked at as a failure though, as with each time the victim removes themselves from the situation, they become that much closer to leaving their abuser for good.
With battering now being the number one cause of injury to women aged 15-44, it is evident that the problem of domestic violence is complex and widespread. There are different triggers, different catalysts to leave, different overall circumstances that make this tragedy so difficult to study and pinpoint a cause. Many woman stay during circumstances that would make others leave. Some attempt to weather the storm when most would choose to flee. Since domestic violence is such a wide-ranging issue, researchers have been able to pinpoint how it effects certain women differently then others depending on their location. In the next article, we will take a look at some of the specific challenges certain women face concerning domestic violence.
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Berry, Dawn Bradley. The Domestic Violence Sourcebook. Contemporary, 200