Woman's Health Centers

When Someone You Love Needs a Choice

Domestic Violence

When your boyfriend or spouse gets angry does he:

  • Threaten you?
  • Hurt you physically?
  • Make you have sex against your will?
  • Isolate you from friends and family?
  • Verbally berate or abuse you?
  • Sometimes make you feel worthless and powerless?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes, you may be the victim of “battering”. Battering is a form of domestic violence in a relationship. This type of relationship involves one partner, usually the male, trying to control the other through fear and intimidation.

What starts as yelling, verbally disrespect and threats, often escalates into physical violence. If any of these behaviors have been directed at you, you should be alert to its cause and the effect on you and the quality of your life.

If it has happened more than once, you are a battered woman and need to seek help. You are not alone.

Men batter women because they believe they believe they have the right to control a woman. Many men batter because they grew up in a violent home, were themselves abused or mistreated, or witnessed domestic violence growing up. These men are not necessarily mentally ill, but they have learned that by threatening, frightening and abusing their partners, they can get their way. You are not responsible for making him “mad”. He batters you for control, but the man usually makes his battered partner believe that if she would act different, or…whatever, that he would not be forced to physically and emotionally abuse her. You need to know that it is not your fault. It is his learned behavior that is bad and he is choosing to be violent to meet his own needs.

Battering men tend to be extremely jealous and possessive. They often keep their partners from making friends, or keeping in close touch with their family. This type of behavior should be a warning sign. Batterers often have low self esteem. After a violent event they may promise to never do it again, or blame it on drugs or alcohol, or even on some innocent action on your part. Often they blame “stress” that set them off. Sometimes these men hold very strict beliefs about the roles of men and women in relationships.

If you are battered, you will, over time learn to doubt yourself. You will be taught that you deserve it, that you are worthless, and that it is somehow all your fault. Don’t believe it. If it has happened once, it will happen again.