Many women are in abusive relationships behind closed doors and suffer in silence because they are afraid or have too much to lose if they walk away. If you are one of these women then this is for you. I know sometimes a man may threaten to take your kids or kill you if you leave him. You may even be stuck in the mud because you care too deeply about him to leave or care too much about the financial security or social standing that comes with being this person’s partner but self-preservation is key and many times abuse has escalated to manslaughter with the woman being the victim. Even if he doesn’t kill you, what happens to your self-respect, your peace of mind and your health? The scars he leaves are not always concealed with some makeup and clothing, many of them are emotional and linger far longer than the painful memories which you hasten to erase. I know, you know the best thing to do is leave him, to run away as fast as you can and never look back but sometimes it’s not as easy as it looks and I can understand that. Sometimes there’s no escape and I get that. But all hope is not lost. Here are 7 things that will help you survive an abusive relationship and I do hope at least one of them is able to give you hope and more importantly a plan!
1. Financial Freedom: In my line of work, I have met dozens of abused women and it’s sad that most of these women were old timers. It wasn’t their first time in a hospital but when I asked why they still stayed, they’d hang their heads and say they had no means of taking care of themselves or their kids if they left. If you are in an abusive relationship, you need to plan an escape and realistically we know you ain’t going anywhere if you don’t have any money so how do you get some if you are a housewife with no sustenable income? 3 things:
Save a little of any money that enters your hand. Cut down the grocery shopping or any shopping you do. Even if you save a little at a time, as the little pile increases so will your hope for freedom and if there is nothing to save cos some men give no allowances for you to hide some money away then sell something valuable that you possess. The opportunity cost isn’t hard to deduce after all your grand mother’s necklace is of no use to you if you are dead! And if you have nothing of value, find someone who can give you a loan or just spare some cash. You never know how helpful people can be till you ask.
2. Admit & Confide: This is perhaps one of the hardest things to do but you need to admit to yourself that you deserve better than this and actually see your relationship for what it really is. You need to stop feeling sorry for your man (he isn’t the one getting pulverised is he?) or defending his actions and most of all you need to work up the nerve to confide in someone. It could be a member of the family, a good friend or colleague or just someone you trust and most importantly I’d suggest it was someone who could give some practical help and not just sympathize.
3. Fight Back: Men who abuse women are essentially cowards. You need to learn to fight back. You could learn boxing or karate which teach techniques that can help you overpower someone who is physically stronger than you or attend a self-defence class where you can learn about the sensitive points on a man’s body that have maximum impact when hit and if all else fails, a kick to the balls may stall him enough for you to escape his angry fists but I must warn you that there’s a thin line between subduing and aggravating him and if you choose to fight back your technique has to be good enough to scare the hell out of him or else he’ll come after you like an infuriated beast.
4. Dig up Dirt: Everybody has secrets, find one about him that compels him to behave. You could warn him that if he ever hits you again, you would expose his secret and makesure the evidence is somewhere beyond his reach and in the hands of someone who will make it public if she suddenly stops hearing from you (lest he murder you). Blackmail in any form is underhanded and not to be encouraged but this is a desperate situation and I am sure we can make an exception.
5. Gather Evidence: Most wife beaters keep a calm, cool exterior far removed from their actual personality and many times when news of his abuse becomes public, it’s easy for him to deny it or just blame the woman for pushing him too far which is why you need evidence. This is the era of smart phones and other electronic devices and if you can hide a cam to make a sex video surely you can hide one to make an abuse video. Women who have lived with abusive men will tell you that they know just when he is going to hit them or what would surely trigger the abuse so rather than cowering in fear waiting for your man to come home and beat you up because you bashed the car, set a video camera in place. Being forced to watch a video of him hitting you along with the rest of the world might just be the cure he needs (YouTube is your friend!)
6. The 3rd Party: Most men will not abuse a woman if there’s someone else present so it would be a good idea to invite your mother in law or a relation to stay with you. You could hint that you don’t want the person letting your husband know it was your idea but that you would really appreciate the company. It would also be a good idea to pick a respected relative or one from his side of the family.
7. Pray Until Something Happens (P.U.S.H): God does answer prayers and while you are at it, go for some counselling sessions. These are surprisingly helpful and some men might even agree to come along. The Bible says that a gentle answer turneth away wrath. Avoid getting into arguments anyway you can. Sometimes to see the change we desire, the change must begin with us.
I know many women would rather suffer in silence than leave their marriages and yes there are others who saw the signs before they got married but hoped he would change. If you do choose to stay, remember that your life, health and happiness are a priority. There is no shame in seeking refuge!
Have a great day Chutzpah fam!