Verbal abuse, physical abuse or death by shooting. – take your pick. They are some of the few choices so many women who are in violent relationships have today. And to keep them aware of those possibilities, there is stalking.
When convenient, there is internet stalking wherein emails, text messages and entries on social sites can further demean and threaten the victim and others considered a supporter of the woman. In some cases the victims are wives, in other cases it’s significant others. In either case, they live in a world of fear and mayhem or threatened mayhem. There is the screaming and yelling and being told they are stupid and to blame. Then there is slapping and punching and kicking – all the ways macho-men teach their women a lesson and keep them in their place. After all, whatever is wrong is the woman’s fault.
You are hard-pressed to get through a day of news without a story about some husband, ex-husband or boyfriend killing the woman in his life. To make it doubly unfortunate these killings often take place in public places so that not only is the woman a victim but so are innocent bystanders. The others might be coworkers of the victim, neighbors, fellow church members, casual friends or even strangers. To a distorted mind everyone is guilty and everyone must pay.
Our judicial system provides a purported way to stop all this violence; it’s called an injunction. It’s a piece of paper that requires the man to stay away from his victim. In most cases it is as effective as using that piece of paper to stem a break in a dam. An injunction is not a bullet-proof vest; it is an illusion, though not to the judges who issue them it seems. Too often the injunction serves simply as a challenge to the man and his assumed right of domain.
On the other hand, caring society establishes shelters for the women and their children. I can’t vouch for these programs but I suspect their successes are not 100%. A woman who is in a violent relationship got there because of some unmet need and probably has low self-esteem. Sadly, they sometimes have a need to return, often in the misguided belief that things will get better. This is not to say they are at fault for the situation they are in; the man with the evil intent and actions is. If these women had a caring and loving man in their lives, it would be so much better. But choices are made and not always for the better.
So it is that a segment of our society lives a life in hell. Sadly they are suffering pain for sins they never committed.