“Why wouldn’t she just leave?” I hear people ask this question of women who stay in abusive relationships all the time. It doesn’t make sense to the outsider. Why would a beautiful, successful, intelligent woman remain in a relationship that is harmful?
According to the telegraph, this is not an uncommon phenomenon. A study shows that well-educated women are more likely to be in abusive relationships. I found this very interesting, and if you think about the justification, it makes sense.
As a successful, attractive woman, I do find that a lot of men are intimidated by that. In my most recent relationship, I dated a highly successful man. At first, he seemed to love the fact that I was so independent. I had a great job in the oil and gas industry. I was well-spoken and educated. He said I was everything that he had been looking for. He treated me like a queen, sweeping me off of my feet right quickly… until he slowly began to chip away at me. First it was comments on my appearance, then jabs at my ability to take care of my house and my son. He slowly began to attempt to control where I went and who I talked to.
Fortunately, and unfortunately, I was well aware of the signs. This was not something that was new to me. What was new was that I now realized that I didn’t deserve to be in the situation. The old me would have stayed. I would have accommodated and tried to please… The old me was just like the other 10 million men and women who are abused by an intimate partner annually (stats according to the NCADV).
There is a misconception that women who stay in abusive relationships are weak, feeble-minded and helpless. Quite the contrary. Many powerful women are involved in tumultuous relationships, but the stigma placed on the abused doesn’t allow a safe place for them to retreat.
Organizations like AVDA are working to end this cycle and provide assistance to individuals who may find themselves in violent situations.
I’m happy to partner with AVDA as an ambassador for their Home Safe Home Gala where we will be raising money to assist families impacted by abuse. I hope that you will consider joining me at their Gala on October 5th. If you can’t make it, consider making a donation during National Domestic Violence Month to end the cycle of family violence and help improve the lives of victims.