Dear Barb—Descending to Violence

Dear Barb:

Hi!  My husband and I have been together for four years, having dated for almost two years before we moved in together.  Everything was good with no major problems and I never saw a hint of violence in Jason, so I was devastated when he started choking me during an argument.  That was a year ago, and it has happened three more times since.  One time he punched me and gave me a black eye.  I told people I walked into a door.  Another time he grabbed my wrist so hard he left bruises and fingerprints.  I keep covering up for him, but I think people are starting to clue in.  My mom has been very suspicious of my bruises and black eye and I have a hard time lying to her.  After these episodes Jason seems devastated that he did that to me.  He cries and pleads for my forgiveness, promising it will never happen again.  I love him and forgive him, but then it happens again.  I believe he loves me, but if this doesn’t stop I cannot stay with him.  What causes men to hit women?  I wonder if I am provoking him, but everything I see and read says that women do not provoke men into becoming violent.  I cannot imagine having children and them having to witness this.  Do these men ever get better I don’t know whether I should leave or give him a chance to get some help? Thanks, Brianna. 

Hello Brianna:

I am so glad you wrote about this important topic.  Domestic abuse in a major problem, and in Canada a woman is killed by her partner every six days!  Statistics Canada reports that almost one third of all police related violent crimes are the result of intimate partner violence.  The reasons women stay in these relationships is complicated, and can include the fear of what will happen if they leave.

The site canadianwomen.org provides statistics to validate this fear,.  Women do not provoke the violence, it comes from somewhere within the man.  But the reasons men abuse are not simple or clear cut.  According to Dr. Susan Hanks, Director of Family and Violence Institute in California, men who abuse are struggling with their own psychological issues.  Also these men are usually dependant on the woman and feel threatened by any independence they may attain.

Some men may abuse because they grew up watching their mothers being abused by their fathers and this has become their normal.  For some men alcohol or drug abuse is the trigger.  My advice is to contact your local women’s shelter and discuss your options or speak to your family doctor who will be able to direct you to the facilities that are available in your area.  Get help as soon as you can Brianna, you do not want to become a statistic.  Thank you for sharing your story.

Email your questions to voice@voicemagazine.org. Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.
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