Abuse has become so common that it is considered “normal” in some places. We see it happen all the time, but have we ever really done anything about it? 1 in 4 women will face domestic violence at least once in their life – but those are just the reported cases. There are millions of women who face it on a daily basis and never tell anyone. This could be for multiple reasons. Sometimes because they are so scared of their partners that they don’t have the courage to tell anyone. Sometimes because they know their family won’t let them leave their marriage, and they have nowhere else to go. And sometimes, because they themselves don’t believe it. They are so devastated by what is happening to them that they cannot believe their eyes. It is so difficult for them to think that the person who they love and care for has turned out to be the complete opposite of what they thought he would be.
The thing about abusive relationships is – the abuser is not always abusive. Which means that the abuser won’t hit you on a daily basis. He’ll hit you once, and then feel sorry for doing so, and then apologize. And then, to make up for it, he’ll be really nice to you for a month. Or two. Or three. He’ll tell you he loves you, and that he doesn’t deserve you. He’ll tell you how amazing of a person you are for dealing with him. He’ll praise you. He’ll talk about how he has problems in his life and that he hitting you is a catharsis of those problems. And then, to trigger you, he’ll say what everyone says when you are in an abusive relationship. “All marriages have ups and downs, but that doesn’t mean you can end the marriage.” BAM. Slowly, you’ll start to feel guilty. You’ll tell yourself that he’s right. All marriages do have problems. He’s nice to you 80% of the time, so what’s wrong if he’s hit you once or twice? Nobody is perfect, right? So, with all willingness, you swallow all of your self-respect and forgive him. It’s okay. He won’t do it again. He loves me. I know he loves me. He says it all the time!
And then, sooner or later, he’ll hit you again.
For situations like these, there is two things you could do. Either you leave the marriage, or you continue to forgive him for the rest of your life until you are internally and thoroughly ruined. Staying in the marriage and hoping for him to change is not going to do any good. A lot of women subconsciously become determined to “change” the men they are with. They believe that it is their duty to turn him into a decent human being. It’s not. Because chances are, he’ll never change. He’ll do it again and again, always throw the same apology at you, and tell you how much he loves you. Men who abuse their wives have a way of making it seem like it is not their fault for doing so. They’ll blame their wife, blame their work, blame anyone and anything but themselves.
However, leaving the marriage is not too easy, either. In eastern countries like Sudan, Niger, Pakistan, India, Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan, etc. divorce is considered to be the worst right given to mankind. It is believed that divorce for a woman is like an oil stain on a white t-shirt: permanent. Almost as if it is a burden that a woman carries for the rest of her life. Wherever she goes, people will remind her of it. Divorced woman: a label. It becomes a part of her. And that is why so many woman in countries like these never report domestic violence. Heck, most of them don’t inform their family members. In some cases, because they are terrified, and in some cases, because they know the family won’t do anything. Some families (I repeat, SOME!) in the previously mentioned countries threaten to not let their daughters back into the houses. They tell them that there is no place for them in the house and that it’s best for them to stay with their abusive husbands. Because, you know, prestige. They would rather see their daughter unhappy than going against societal norms for the sake of her happiness. They tell their daughters that it’s normal for things like that to happen.
“All men are like that, honey. What were you expecting?” It doesn’t matter if every man in the world hits his wife or if only one man does; if it’s wrong, it’s wrong. Abuse becoming common does not mean that it’s any less wrong. What’s wrong will always remain wrong, no matter how many people do it.
“You need to make sacrifices in marriage, that’s how marriage works.” This is a misuse of the word “sacrifice.” Yes, you need to make sacrifices in marriage, but there’s a limit. There’s always a limit. Making sacrifices doesn’t mean you become so lost in keeping everyone around you happy that you let yourself be unhappy.
Love begins with respect. Where there is no respect, there is no love. And a man who has even an ounce of respect for you would never lay his hands on you. Therefore, for the following, I will not use the word “love” and rather use “respect.”
If he has laid his hands on you, he does not respect you.
If he has threatened to lay hands on you, he does not respect you.
If he has threatened to leave you, he does not respect you.
And if he does not respect you, he does not deserve you.