Metz: Battered wife syndrome

Jason Metz

Each time she goes back, confident that it can only get better. Sure he hit her, or he cheated on her, or he disrespected her. Sure he said he didn’t love her, didn’t need her, didn’t cherish every second he spent with her. And of course, she told herself she would never take him back, could never take him back. She loves herself and respects herself way too much to voluntarily expose herself to such treatment. She is a woman, and in her womanhood she should be respected, appreciated, and above all else, loved. She’s not stupid. She understands that life truly is short, that we only live once. She also understands the value of going to sleep each and every night with a smile on her face. Granted she’s not ignorant, and she doesn’t blindly assume that each day will go just as she plans, that she will succeed in every endeavor, or that everybody she encounters will go out of his or her way to make her happy. But she sees all the other things in their proper perspective. And when she closes her eyes at night, she knows that all that really matters is that she loves and that she’s loved. And that puts a smile on her face.

But he hit her, he cheated on her, he disrespected her-any one of the three, or perhaps all three. She is, in effect, a battered wife. Maybe he drinks and maybe he doesn’t; maybe he hits her and maybe he doesn’t; maybe they’re married and maybe they’re not. This is all irrelevant in the scheme of things. Physical punishment is overrated, for it’s the emotional scars that are so difficult to heal. A relationship is the most sacred commitment two people could ever enter into, for as of the moment that that bond is forged, each party voluntarily assumes the responsibility and the privilege to now live life not only for him- or herself, but rather for two distinct people, theoretically until the end of time. Relationships require each party’s tireless dedication to the other-to comfort, to support and to complement the other; relationships are not to be taken lightly.

But too many men-or boys-fail to comprehend the sheer magnitude and value of relationships. Too many men use women for one thing and one thing only, never actually intending to maintain a sacred commitment with them. In their eyes, a relationship is nothing more than an excuse to be with a woman, and therefore the woman herself is often brushed off as inconsequential, just a name to go with a face. Who she is doesn’t really matter; all that is of any consequence to some men is what she can do for them. Too many men undermine the immeasurable worth these majestic creatures hold in our world. And by undermining their relationships, and thus their female counterparts, those of the male gender break the moral code that is a relationship.

Unfortunately, a large percentage of women out there either lack the emotional strength or the common sense to understand that relationships are not supposed to be so one-sided. Some women willingly accept the shortcomings of their male counterparts, blindly and ignorantly hoping for a better tomorrow. A woman could be used, abused, reused and re-abused, and in many cases she’ll still let the man back into her life, in all likelihood because she is simply not strong enough to shed herself of his abuse. She’s not strong enough to be out there in the world, alone, fending for herself. She’s not strong enough to identify herself not as so-and-so’s girlfriend, but rather as a woman, nothing more and nothing less. Of course no woman should tolerate disrespect. No woman should stand for being ignored by her man, and certainly no woman should tolerate any form of abuse, be it physical, mental or emotional.

But each time he hits her, he cheats on her or he disrespects her, he inevitably comes crawling back-one week later, one month later, one year later-and she takes him back, for she knows no alternatives. And thus the abuse continues, until the abuse is no more. Unfortunately, at that point, there is nothing left to abuse, for she has become just a shell of what once was a dignified, powerful and beautiful woman. She is a woman no more; all that’s left is a battered wife, resolved to a life of heartache, misery and could-have-beens.

To all the women out there: understand one thing. He doesn’t have to hit you to be abusive. All he has to do is not care.