Many women have suffered in their relationships and sometimes, they are not even willing to leave the relationship. They have been battered, insulted, abused sexually among others and they are helpless, unwilling to leave the relationship. Abuse ranges from physical to sexual, mental to psychological.
It is a tool used by the abuser to suppress the rights of the abused, making them less human and dependent.
Such women give different excuses varying from children, fear of the partner and the unknown, financial dependence, love, sexual attachment, rejection, pressure, shame among others as to why they should stay in abused relationships.
Our culture makes women feel dependent on their partners in relationship. And this makes women feel ashamed, isolated and stuck in an abusive relationship. Some women may stay because they believe that they have no real choices. Culture or religion may influence them to stay rather than end the relationship for fear of bringing shame upon their families, religions and the society.
People, who have never been abused often wonder why a person being abused would not just leave and forget about the relationship?
They do not understand that breaking up can be more complicated than it seems. There are many reasons why both men and women stay in abusive relationships. If you know someone having an unhealthy relationship, there is the need to support them by understanding why they may choose to and not leave immediately.
Women may be afraid of what will happen if they decide to leave the relationship or they may not feel safe leaving. With time they believe abuse is normal. When such women grow up in an environment where abuse is common, they may not recognise that their relationship is unhealthy. It is probably hard for them to admit that they have been abused. They may feel they must have done something wrong by becoming involved with an abusive partner or have done something that make them victims of abuse. They may also worry that their friends and family members will judge them and they will want to avoid the embarrassment.
Abuse could lead to low self-esteem. This particularly happens if her partner constantly puts her down and blames her for the abuse, it can be easy for her to believe these utterances and think that the abuse is her fault. She may stay in a relationship hoping that the abuser will change. They hold unto every word of their loved one and believe that he truly wants to change. They only want the violence to stop, not for the relationship to end entirely. If the abuser is popular, it can be hard for her to tell their family friends what they are going through for fear that no one will believe them or that everyone will take the abuser’s side.
She may feel pressured to raise her children with both parents together, even if that means staying in an abusive relationship. Many women do not want to raise children as single parents because they believe that the male finger in the lives of the children is important. The abusive partner often times threatens to take or harm the children if she leaves. The situation would be worse if she becomes financially dependent on the abusive partner. Without financial support, it could make it impossible for them to leave the relationship.
And they may have nowhere to go. Even if they could leave, and may think that they have nowhere to go or no one to turn to once they have ended the relationship and this leave them with feeling of helplessness.
Mr. Kayode Adedeji told Friday Magazine: “I think it is the shame they feel. Leaving a relationship is seen as a sign of failure. People do not want others to see them as failure, so they remain in it, to see whether there is something they can do to save their relationship, particularly marriage. They blame themselves and excuse the man. There is fear of the unknown; they feel if they lose this one, they may never get another.
They feel all men are like that, they give all these excuses rather than considering their own well being, sanity and emotional interest. They get lost in that relationship. In a relationship that is abusive means the personality of the women is suppressed. That means she cannot hear her opinion or express herself.
The problem is that the women do not know the difference between being submissive and abused. They try to make the relationship work, that ‘if I have done something wrong, let me make correction’ but it does not work that way. The man becomes abusive because of his person, problem or may be the way the woman uses her mouth. He feels she can use her mouth while he uses his hands.
The relationship is in serious problem and they need help. Be careful who you talk to because some people just blame the woman. The woman may not want to talk to people. What about reporting to the Police? They will not because there are different manner of this cultural thing that some affect the way people view things. The family structure that believes you do not allow anybody to interfere with your marriage. It is good, but when it comes to abuse rather than die, you need to talk. Sometimes the solution may be separation. I do not encourage people to stay in abusive relationship, but to separate for a while to sort things out.
‘It is easier for those not married; all you need to do is to leave the relationship. There is no commitment and you do not have anything to lose. The only problem is when sex is involved. There is soul entangled that makes them not to think straight or be objective. She does not want to be seen as a slot, leaving one man to go and sleep with another. For the married, it is more complex, particularly concerning our culture. The number one solution is that there has to be a third party involved before you make it official.
You may not involve anyone about any other issue, but it is a must in abuse because the issue has gone beyond argument, it has become physical. She has to find who the man respects that is wise and has a stable family relationship, to speak to him. The third party must be a man. If after his intervention things are not going well, I think separation is in order, but I do not advice them to have a divorce. If she needs to take a court order to stop the person or husband from coming close to her, she should do that.
The man should be encourage to report himself to somebody that can counsel him if truly he want a change, it is not just by words. Not that he begs for forgiveness after the abuse, it is not enough and will not make things right. So that he will be ashamed and do not want to repeat himself another time. Both parties must talk to someone wise and experienced to help them.’
Miss Opeyemi Ajulo stated that: ‘I love they say is greater than all and it covers multiples of sin. I think if the man continues to abuse her, it is better for her to leave the relationship, maybe the man is not the right person for her. There must have been complaint or arguments before abuse sets in. The best will be leaving the relationship. If such happens to me, I will quit the relationship. My mother said if someone never sees anything good in you, but bad, then you need to reconsider.’
Mrs. Catherine Ojo, who has been married for twenty- three years, has this to say: ‘How can someone be married for years, have children and leave because her husband is abusing her? Is that possible? Who does she want to leave her children with? She will have to endure the marriage and hope things will get better. Couples fight and they will finish it. God forbid evil spirit take over the mind of our husbands, so that they do not do such. I advice a woman in that situation to continue to pray and be patient. When they have disagreements, she should be calm and control her tongue, she should be gentle, tolerant and prayerful.
For those who are yet to be married and there is already abuse, they should end the relationship.’
Mr. Victor Adegbeyingbe said: ‘Women believe in love and do it better than men. That is why women remain in an abusive marriage even when they are insulted or beaten. They stay in the relationship because of their children. They feel if they leave and another woman comes in, her children are likely to suffer. So they are ready to endure and hope that things will get better. What she can do is to pray to God to change the heart of her husband, so that they can live together happily, take care of their children and manage the home till old age.’
According to Mr. Temitope Awoso women keep their words more than men and tend to love more. When a man promises to love, nurture and cherish her, give her his life and all that, the woman notes all these. When there are no problems in the home and situation turn around, the women remember all these promises and want to still stay in the relationship, hoping that the make will go back to his former self. Women sustain love more than men because of the children. This happens in African culture, you cannot find that in the western countries. This is because we do not want to be promiscuous moving from one partner to another, so the woman decides to manage the relationship. I recommend that women should try to marry men that believe God, not because he is handsome or rich. For the unmarried ones they should not rush into marriage or they will rush out. They should marry men that know God.
The Area Pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God m, RCCG, Fountain of Life parish, Pastor Tayo Akeju has these to say: “Culturally women tend to want to stay in their marriages because of their children. They believe that in spite of the battering and the hardship they are staying for. They want to wait and see probably if the man will change. The fear of the unknown, as it is being said the ‘devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know. They fear that may be the one they will go to meet may be worse than their present husband.
“Often times, women naturally do not want to break marriages. They want to see whether the marriage can still work and they believe that. But it is wrong for young women to stay with a man she is not yet married to and is abusing her. If her love for him is blind, the marriage will open them. Marriage is not something you try whether it will work, it is serious business. If it does not work I courtship, it cannot work in marriage. You cannot build on a faulty foundation, it will collapse. Marriage is not to be managed or endured. It should be enjoyed because you are getting married to your friend. Anyone who abuses you is not your friend.
“If it is a Christian marriage, she has no option, she has to be praying, praying and praying. Once you enter, the entrance is closed, no going back and it is forward ever. That is why it is advisable not to close your eyes and run into marriage because the reality of marriage will open them. So it is best to wait and be sure of what you are getting into. Once you carry the cross, you carry it through. She should seek counsel in a good place, not with people who are going through similar stress.
Talk to their Pastor and with much prayer, God can change the heart of the man to become a better person.
Mr. Seun Adebowale said: “Sometimes, as soon as women get married, they forget the weaknesses of the man. This is why courtship is important in marriage and you do not have to rush into it. Once she marries the man, she should know she has married him with his weaknesses. When the man starts to misbehave, the woman should know how to caution herself and withdraw before he starts to abuse her. When this is put into consideration, there will be fewer problems. And because they have exchanged vows, the woman cannot leave the marriage, but do everything to keep the relationship.”
People in an unhealthy or abusive relationship find it difficult to talk about it or come out of it. The most important thing family members and friends can do is to be supportive and listen to them and not judge them. Understand with them that leaving an unhealthy or abusive relationship is never easy. Make them realize that they have options that could be to the benefit of all.

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