The first thing anyone asks a battered woman is: “Why did you put up with that?” Domestic violence is the only crime I can think of—well, besides rape—where the victim is treated as complicit in her own abuse.
This is why I rarely talk about my two-year relationship with a batterer. I wasn’t a housewife with no resources, I was a teenager and he was my first boyfriend. He beat me, raped me and stalked me. After I escaped, it was years before I told anyone what I’d been through because I was so ashamed. I still avoid the topic with those close to me.
What people don’t understand is that abusers don’t generally punch you in the face on the first date. If they did, nobody would ever go out with them twice. But there are some early warning signs—and as much as you might hate to admit it to yourself, the fact is, even a strong, smart, independent woman can find herself on the wrong end of the fist. Here are some behaviors to watch out for … Keep reading »