“There are many reasons not to make an abusive relationship public, mostly fear. Scared of what people will think, scared it makes me look weak or unprofessional.”
Comedian Beth Stelling’s candid and powerful Instagram post about her past abusive relationship went viral over the internet causing outpourings of love and support from the sympathetic public. She had posted a collage made of 3 images of bruises on her legs and forearm, and a fourth image of herself performing on stage.
“So these photos are an uncommon thing to share but not an uncommon issue. You may be weirded out but do read on. I have a point.” She states as she starts to reveal more on the abusive relationship she broke away from. “When I broke up with my ex this summer, it wasn’t because I didn’t love him, it was because of this.”
Why do People Stay in Abusive Relationships?
Beth Stelling writes about how difficult she found it to actually end the relationship. “It’s embarrassing. I feel stupid. After being verbally, physically abused and raped, I dated him for two more months. It’s not simple.”
“And I absolutely relapsed and contacted him with things I shouldn’t have, but there are no “best practices” with this.”
Beth’s revelations have helped many to recognize and acknowledge their own tragic situations. When you are encounter violence in a relationship, especially for the first time, it can be very bewildering. The abuser can make you feel the violence is your fault. He will tell you that you asked for it… forced him to do it. The victim takes on the guilt and responsibility, ‘it could have been avoided if I didn’t…’.
However confused he may make you feel, it is important to remember that his violent behaviour is never your fault. How much ever a person is influenced by another, he is responsible for the actions he chooses to make. No one, but himself is at fault.
In abusive relationships, after violent incidents, it’s common for both partners involved to try and make excuses for their behavior. The violent partner apologizes, or promises to change. Life may settle back into a calmer feel, but generally this respite is short lived. It is commonly observed that if a person is violent once, they are much more likely to repeat the violent acts again.
The Courage to Stand Up for Yourself
Beth continues on in her Instagram post on why she decided to write her story. “I wanted to move on and forget because I didn’t understand. I don’t want revenge or to hurt him now, but it’s unhealthy to keep this inside because my stand-up is pulled directly from my life. It’s how I make my living. My personal is my professional. That is how I’ve always been; I make dark funny.”
“If you live in L.A., you’ve already started to hear my jokes about this and I ask you to have the courage to listen and accept it because I’m trying. Already since talking about this onstage, many women have come to me after shows asking me to keep doing it. Men have shown their solidarity.”
If you have never been abused, you will probably wonder people don’t just leave. However unhealthy a relationship may seem, breaking it up most often creates a host of complications for the victim. Fearing for your own safety, worrying how your partner will manage without you or agonizing they may harm themselves are a few common reasons. Some may be tolerating it for the sake of their children and for many, the problem is that are financially dependent on the abuser.
Everyone deserves to feel loved and safe. You don’t have to stay in an abusive relationship. There are ways out of this cycle of domestic violence. Leaving is not the only option. When you stand up to a bully, you may find that he backs down. You can work on building a financial nest and a strong social support system. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, you will find many people to help you every step of the way.
Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics
Abusive relationships and domestic disputes can easily turn violent and criminal. Here are some shocking facts:
- Men who were exposed to domestic violence as children are 4 times more likely to commit domestic violence as adults, than other men.
- On average, a woman will leave an abusive relationship seven times before she leaves for good.
- About 75% of the victims of the domestic violence homicides, were murdered as they tried to leave their partner or after the relationship had ended.
- On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or partners in this country every day.
- About 4,000 women die each year due to domestic violence.
- Battering is the single major cause of injury to women, exceeding rapes, muggings and auto accidents combined.
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