The prevalence of abusive relationships between a man and a woman and the usually confounding ways on how society views these relationships makes it a very hard problem to deal with. In this type of relationship, it is usually the man who physically, psychologically, or sexually assaults the woman. That the man does a severely inexcusable thing is obvious. That the woman usually stays is usually looked at, and many misinterpret the gesture as acceptance, assent, or even love. In other words, it is typical to put the blame on the victim for allowing such a setup to continue. It's about time to rid oneself of those summary notions and try to figure out the mechanisms upon which an abusive relationship proceeds. There is a three-stage model which is consistent with almost all such relationships, as follows:
- First, the abuser does some kind of physical/psychological/sexual abuse to the victim. The most usual forms of physical abuse include hitting, punching, kicking, slapping, hair-pulling, or hitting with hard objects. Psychological violence includes swearing, yelling, intimidating, shaming, power-tripping, embarrassing, threatening to hurt, and denigrating the victim's ego. Sexual abuse includes forced sexual intercourse, making victim do uncomfortable sexual activities, and reference to derogatory sexual terms when conversing.
The woman, however, puts up with the abuse, and tries to assuage the victim, and might also hold the devastating rationalization that the abuser will change, because of "love". Meanwhile, the victim suffers in solitude, as the abuser does anything for the abuse not to be noticed
- Violence escalates, grows worse over time. Because the woman usually does not protest, or is exhausted from the first stage, the abuser often succeeds.
- Suddenly, the abuser suddenly reverts to being his "kind" self; this is often referred to as the "honeymoon" stage. He may apologize intensely, and seemingly make up for it, like by giving gifts or doing small favors. The abuser may actually get professional help or counseling. The victim would see this as a genuine repentance, when it is actually only a veiled approach to make the victim stick to the relationship. Then the cycle returns to step 1; abuse occurs again and again.
The difficulty in breaking this cycle is that the victim usually wants to leave, but entertains the nagging thought that no one will look after her afterward. Usually she is financially capable for fending off for herself, for the abuser usually cuts her off from her money and makes her dependent on him. She might also fear what the abuser might do afterward, or what he may do to the children, if any.
Once the process is made clear, there is really no use blaming the victim of an abusive relationship. In these situations, the victim must not be taught to endure, or even resist. The victim must be taught to identify the warning signs of a brewing abusive relationship, identify all avenues of outside support, prepare a plan, then ESCAPE, ideally as early as possible. Afterward, the victim must be protected and the support system of the victim, consisting maybe of friends, relatives, and neighbors, should not give in to the demands of the abuser to make the victim come back.