ATTEMPTING to leave an abuser is dangerous, a survivor of abuse shared how she felt trapped in an abusive relationship which she finally managed to leave.
Violence and abuse involve control and power that one person exercises over another.
The perpetrators of violence and abuse use physical and sexual violence, threats, emotional abuse, insults and economic deprivation to dominate their victims.
Trisha, (not real name) said she can talk about it with some friends, even though some people think she took too long to leave her abusive partner who almost killed her.
“What some people in society do not understand is that abusive relationships are extremely difficult situations and it takes a lot of courage to leave abusive partners,” She said.
Marriage is a beautiful experience that people in relationships look forward to have. But victims of abuse feel embarrassed or ashamed to leave their abusive relationships.
Society and some families’ perception on women who leave abusive relationships is usually negative.
In African society,a woman is raised with both a cultural and religious upbringing that sometimes prevents them from leaving their partners.
Trisha said she thought she would be strong, as many supported her, including relatives and some friends when he almost pushed her out of a moving car.
For Trisha, the red flags were not visible during courtship. One tactic he used to manipulate her was, separating her from family, friends and the church.
Abusers usually know their victims well and understand the extent to which they can go to make sure they maintain control over them.
And so when a partner wants to leave their abusive relationship, they know what to do to keep them in chains.
In extreme cases the victim may not be able to safely escape or protect those they love which may cause the partner to retaliate in harmful ways.
Leaving an abusive relationship can be dangerous for victims. In some cases, perpetrators have killed their partners. Threats of divorce or physical harm have in some cases deterred victims from leaving.
Tales of partners dying in abusive relationships are many. Society has heard and witnessed perpetrators who have killed both their children and partners when they threaten to leave.
One form of psychological abuse that victims suffer from is, emotional abuse where the abuser controls and keeps them trapped.
Studies show that, females are much more likely to be victimised and traumatised even though women too can be perpetrators of abuse.
Notably, cultural mores, religious practices, economic conditions are among the contributing factors of abuse and violence.
Like Trisha puts it, she had just completed her training in teaching and met her partner, a relationship that ended into marriage just after two years.
“I literally depended on him for economic support because I was not in employment and so this scenario made me vulnerable.
“Slowly, I observed that my partner was excluding me from every decision making that was involving finances and he started demanding that I account for every coin spent,” She said.
Studies too, show that women in poorer communities are more vulnerable when it comes to financial abuse due to cultural and traditional values.
It is not a secret that some abused partners have been denied the opportunity of getting into employment.
A common phrase that has frequently been used by some female victims of abuse is, ‘I can’t leave because of my children’.
Women with families put their children first and leaving an abusive relationship can be challenging.
Sticking with one’s partner through thick and thin is considered admirable, but some victims of abuse have stayed for the sake of maintaining ‘sanctity’.
Someone jokingly said, “some of you women of faith have endured abuse and violence because you believe in keeping your vows even when you are being crushed emotionally you fail to seek help”.
Keeping appearances in relationships has kept partners in abusive marriages.
Because of this insecurity, some ambitious women with big dreams and a promising career ahead of them have rushed into relationships that have ended up destroying their dreams and kept them entrapped.
As we continue to raise awareness on Gender-Based Violence(GBV) it is important to see how we can break the cycle of violence and abuse.