Many battered women, having been systematically abused by our partners, perceive that there is no way out of our relationship. Many of us believe that if we stay, he will eventually kill us and that if we leave, he will track us down and kill us. We feel trapped and helpless. Some battered women, believing there are no options to escape the abuse, may kill their abuser.
1] Denial: The woman refuses to admit – even to herself – that she has been beaten or that there is a “problem” in her marriage. She may call each incident an “accident”. She offers excuses for her partner’s violence and each time firmly believes it will never happen again.
2] Guilt: She now acknowledges there is a problem, but considers herself responsible for it. She “deserves” to be beaten or treated badly, she feels, because she has defects in her character and is not living up to her partner’s expectations.
3] Enlightenment: The woman no longer assumes responsibility for her partner’s abusive treatment, recognizing that no one “deserves” to be beaten. She is still committed to her relationship, though, and stays with her partner, hoping they can work things out.
4] Responsibility: Accepting the fact that her partner will not, or cannot, stop their violent behavior, the battered woman decides she will no longer submit to it and starts a new life.
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