Domestic Violence: Why Some Men Batter and Some Women Stay Part 1
Domestic violence is a complex issue. Many of us use blanket statements to try to understand why some men batter their partners and why some women stay. Here is a deeper look into these two questions.
For those of us that have never been involved in an abusive relationship it is natural to wonder why some men batter their women. The other question that may be even more pressing in the mind of the unfamiliar is why some women stay. Many believe that if a woman REALLY wanted to leave then she would. This belief has become so prevalent that many of us have even started holding these women (the victims) as responsible for the abuse inflicted by these men (the perpetrators). The truth is there are many environmental and psychosocial factors that answer both of these questions. Let’s take a look at a few.
Why Some Men Batter
On the surface, the reasons men batter may appear different from one relationship to the other. Some reasons that are often given include: substance dependency, financial hardship, poor communication skills, poor anger management skills, stress, excessive anger, and provocation by the woman. If we look at these closely, however, we can see they are mostly rationalizations and not causes. The root cause of domestic battery is control. Batterers use violence in order to gain power and control over the victim and they continue to do so in order to keep it. Since the dawn of man violence has been utilized as a form of control and, unfortunately, it can be quite effective.
There are often very few consequences for domestic violence behavior. Many women never seek help and for those that do, justice can often be difficult to find. Historically, violence against women has not been treated as a “real” crime. To some extent this belief is still prevalent in our society. Women are oftentimes seen as contributors to their own abuse, particularly if they have remained after several abusive acts. Many battered women also do not behave like victims. They sometimes refuse to testify because they are fearful or because they still care for the abuser. Also, the criminal justice system takes time. There can be months before any verdict is made and punishment assigned. In the meantime, these relationships quite often continue.