Social attitudes encouraging domestic abuse
Social attitudes that give the man the absolute authority in the home
and attitudes about not interfering in marital difficulties, isolate
women socially and allow abuse to continue. A leader earns respect; a
bully enforces obedience. Marriage is a partnership where two come
together in harmony.
- Rigid stereotypes and roles for men and women are used to justify control.
- Customs that teach women to be dependent on men.
- The attitude that men ought to control the household finances and make the family’s major decisions.
- Police, doctors, schools, social welfare and other institutions in society do not always respond quickly to domestic abuse.
- Employment barriers to women.
- Crime, poverty, and other factors which make women afraid of living alone.
- The family as an institution discourages any member from leaving or divorce.
- Expectations within faith communities that a wife keep her marriage vows “for better or for worse.”
Tip: In a Judeo-Christian context, the wife may leave the husband if he abuses her. The abuser is then likely to divorce. This absolves the wife.
- The abused partner has no network as family and friends do not want to “interfere.”
- The view that a woman’s role is to take care of the family, and therefore any family troubles are the fault of the woman and are her responsibility to “fix.”
- Family, friends tell the victim to try harder to be a better wife or partner, often misunderstanding the situation due to the abuser’s two-faced manipulative behaviour.
- The view that children always suffer from divorce and keeping the family together is imperative. This is not the case in an abusive household. An abusive husband is not a good father.
Inside the abuser’s controlling mind gives a scary look below the veneer of normality.
Clergy often contribute to abuse by counseling victims not to leave. Women are blamed for their own abuse. Wives are told they instigate it by not being respectful, submissive and obedient enough to their abusers. A pastor told my mother not to intervene when my father abused us, saying this is how Satan destroys marriages…..he uses children to divide parents from each other. Parents should present a united front. Husbands are accountable to God, not their wives. Wives obey even when they know husbands are wrong, because God might be using this to teach the husband something. This toxic thinking enables abusers, traps victims and guilts victims.