11/7/08

Women, Abuse, and Why They Stay

. 11/7/08

I am proud of my parents because they gave me a great childhood! It was not perfect-perfect, but I had a VERY happy time with lots of love and affection from both of my parents and my grandma. Now that I am an adult I understand that I got very lucky, because most people don’t have it for one reason or another.
Once I had a conversation with a very old friend (I’ve known her since I was five). We talked about the good old times, and I realized that one of my childhood memories is connected to an instance of abuse in families. Our family used to live in the apartment building. One of our neighbors was an artist. The neighbors all said he was very talented and recognized by the society.
However, that guy was an alcoholic and hit his wife all the time. I remember that I could hear his yelling and his wife screaming! It was so odd to me at the time. I remember when my parents and other neighbors tried to talk to him many times. For a few weeks we had a quiet existence but it never last for long. Women in the neighborhood talked to his wife. They were trying to convince her to make a decision, to call to the police or to leave him. But she always refused. She said she had three sons, she didn’t have a job and even if she did she couldn’t support three boys by herself. So, her choice was to stay with this terrible person!
Women stay in abusive relationships not only in the situations when they have nowhere to go or no money to survive. Very often they stay with abusive men because they think that the guy “loves” them and they “love” him. This is hard to believe for a lot of people but unfortunately it is what they truly think!
Once, my girlfriend’s parents picked her up at the hospital because the “love of her life” hit her! When I asked her why she was still with the guy, she said that he was an amazing, intelligent, funny person, but sometimes he cannot control his temper. She added: “When he is in a good mood he can make me very happy. But nobody is perfect”.
I was speechless! “Nobody is perfect!?” He could kill her!
It proved that most of these decisions people make is because of the money issues or fear of something. There are different fears: fear of being alone, fear that nobody will like you, and fear of not having children. Fear, fear, fear. We cannot be prisoners of fear and let other people tell us what to do!
I was thinking about abuse a lot. Why do women let themselves be in this situation? I am not only talking about physical abuse. I also mean emotional abuse. I talked with my mom about my friend. My mom said that some women couldn’t stand up for themselves and be strong enough to oppose the abuse. Probably those women were abused when they were children, got used to it and brought the terrible relationship pattern into their adulthood.
For some people childhood is the happiest time of their life - for others it is something you have to try to deal with forever. I would like to give some parenting advice to parents who have daughters. My father was always very gentle and affectionate to me when I was a child, and it gave me a great deal of confidence in life. Always respect your child. Be aware that you are responsible for your daughter’s future, and that you want to be the kind of parent that sets a good relationship example!

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