Why are there women that pursue and remain in relationships where they are abused?
The pursuit of women’s rights is now, more than a mere movement, a reality. Women vote, work, produce, govern, legislate and preside over multibillion dollar companies. Today every decision that influences each and every aspect of our lives is colored, if not determined by female perspective. No longer does “behind every great man is a great woman”, apply; women are now at the center of public and private spheres of power.
And one is left to wonder why so many women leave their rights at the door when it comes to asserting themselves within the realm of their “romantic” relationships.
We are sporadically reminded of the brutality of the use of physical violence against women. Cases such as Brooke Mueller’s claim that her then husband Charlie Sheen held her at knife point and violently threatened her life; cases such as the beating suffered by singer Rihanna at the hands of her then boyfriend Chris Brown; cases such as the alleged killing of ex-wife Nicole at the hands of OJ Simpson, serve but as small reminders of the heinous abuse exerted every day against thousands if not millions of women and its consequences. And while the use of physical violence-abuse is there for all to see in the evidence that lies in the injuries or death of the recipient and it is justifiably condemned by all, violence against women has another equally dramatic and covert way.
Subtle but no-less destructive, psychological and emotional-abuse happens in ways that are known to all but to which all turn a blind eye.
As illustrated by the dramatic testimony of X Factor USA-contestant Stacy Francis: “Things just went really wrong, he kept telling me that I was too old or that I was not talented enough and I started believing it, I started believing HIM… and he would push me around sometimes and I just lost faith in myself.”, psychological and emotional-abuse can disable an otherwise extremely talented and passionate persona.
A testimony that could also be one of many women I’ve met.
Of women like the working mom of three that was abandoned by her husband and was left to pay all the debts he had piled up through many years of unbridled spending (and no income) and for which she was jointly and severally liable. Of women like the entrepreneur that abandoned her own very successful venture to join in on her boyfriend’s dubious business idea (one that he cooked-up out of jealousy for her success and failed miserably months later wiping-out all of her savings). Of women like the high powered executive on the verge of a promotion which she passed on out of concern for her husband’s jealous ways.
But it isn’t.
And it isn’t because none of these women feel or have felt abused, not even in the wake of their abandonment, their failures, their passed-up opportunities; until they do. Like Mrs. Francis when addressing the judges in her first audition for the show: “I don’t want to die with this music in me Simon.” And if only for that first audition she won’t, nor should any other woman in the world.
Because no woman should die without having sung and danced to the music in her, one is left to wonder: what’s up with women (and their abusers)?
“There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable“. – United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon
Next post: Women and unrequited love (February 1st, 2012)