A Brief Synopsis Of The SEPS Abusive Relationships Module
When we think about relationship abuse, we have a tendency to think about, “the woman who walked into the door.” i.e. the physically abused wife/partner who explains away her injuries, as acts of clumsiness etc. We may even be judgmental of such victims, not understanding why they don’t leave their abuser, especially if there are no children or dependents involved. It is easy for us to insist that we would never let anyone treat us this way, and that it is only the weak-willed who end up in such relationships. However abusive relationships are much more complex than we think, and there is a danger that we miss or discount the early warning signs, because we are complacent; never imagining that we would find ourselves in such a relationship.
No abuser starts a relationship in an abusive fashion – if they did their partner would easily identify them, and either never start a relationship with them, or end it quickly. In fact, most abusive partners will often seem ideal, and even too good to be true. However, there are signs, some subtle, some not so subtle, that indicate the “real” personality, of the individual. Often the person being abused, won’t be able to identify, and give a name, to what is happening to them, until much longer into the process. In many cases they won’t want to recognize their relationship as being abusive, or discount the level of abuse as being normal or typical of a relationship, so they don’t have to see themselves as a victim – this is especially true of “strong” women, who may be very successful in other areas of their life.
Not all abuse is physical, and most physically abusive relationships start with some other form of abuse. An abuser may make threats to their partner, or even to themselves e.g. “if you ever leave me I’ll kill myself”, they may make statements, and ask questions that undermine your self-esteem e.g. “you’re not going out dressed like that are you? You look like a slut.” Not all physical abuse involves contact. An abuser could prevent their partner from leaving or entering a room; possibly as part of an argument – “you’re not leaving this room till you tell me exactly what’s going on with you and that other guy.” An abuser may force their partner to engage in sexual acts that they aren’t comfortable with, and/or criticize and influence how they spend their money etc. These are all forms of abuse that are often not recognized for what they are – or don’t want to be recognized by those being abused.
It is important to learn to identify the warning signs at the earliest opportunity, before you become emotionally involved with an abusive partner. One of the reason why many victims of abuse don’t leave such relationships, is because they love their partner – it’s also one of the reasons why children who are sexually abused by a parent, won’t report and/or testify against them. It is easy to say that we would never stay with somebody who abused us – whatever the form it took – however if we became emotionally dependent on them before the abuse started, we might not be so ready to leave, as we would like to think. Also, the longer the relationship goes on, the harder your partner may find it, to accept you ending it; which may result in them engaging in a stalking campaign, against you.
If you would like to learn more about abusive relationships, and how to identify abusive partners early on, please click here.
The next class when this topic will be covered at SEPS Women’s Self Defense Boston is shown below:
All classes are held at:
Krav Maga Yahir
Charlestown Maritime Center (3 FL)
200 Terminal Street
Free Onsite Parking Available