Women in abusive relationships

April 9, 2009 at 10:19 am Leave a comment

I was just having this conversation the other day about the irony in “activist” or “feminist” women who always end up in abusive relationships.

In the press kit for Crazy Love, Steiner says it’s easy to see why she married someone who choked her on a regular basis. She was, she says, “kind, insecure and desperate for intimacy. … It is not difficult to understand why anyone … could become trapped in an intimate manipulative relationship.” She also relentlessly reminds the reader that she is a WASP of impeccable ancestry and therefore an improbable abuse victim. “All my family is blond,” Steiner writes. “I do not look the part.” Her abuser was blond, too. It was the first thing she noticed about him. She also acknowledges that she should have picked up on the warnings he littered behind him.

via Why do women stay in abusive relationships. – By Linda Hirshman – Slate Magazine .

I’ve also seen the trend with the very religious.  Sometimes the desire to keep the marriage together, for reasons of pride I guess if there are no kids involved, is enough to keep the cycle going.  But as the good book says, men love your wives; women, obey your husbands.

I know that it is common in some Christian churches for the pastor to tell the wife that she MUST stay with the husband that is beating her, or cheating on her, or otherwise breaking the vows-made-before-God that he made with her.

But why would the “upper-class” women put up with this?

Like Steiner, Pollitt also has an old-fashioned explanation. In her case, it’s an antique version of romantic love. Like Madame Bovary, Pollitt read too many novels and gave her heart to an old-fashioned “bounder.” The first things she noticed about her future betrayer were his “panama hat” and his “romantically long and threadbare overcoat.” She writes, “All he had to do was introduce himself, and half an hour later I was on fire: I was like a flame in fog.” At the time, Pollitt uncharacteristically forgot how this would end in a novel; Madame Bovary ends up lying on the floor, clutching a vial of rat poison.

Unlike Steiner in Crazy Love, Pollitt uses her very powerful mind to address how she, and many others, let herself become the victim of her Lothario’s relentless womanizing. “All my adult life,” she writes, “I had wanted to rescue women—but I had also felt superior to the ones I tried to help. … I had not taken my own advice either. The truth was I was … just like them.”

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Entry filed under: Religulous, Tough Reality. Tags: , , , .

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