“Maybe This Time He’ll Change”
ROXANNE * is a vivacious, attractive mother of four children, married to a well-respected surgeon in South America. “My husband is charming with the ladies, popular with the men,” she says. But there is a dark side to Roxanne's mate, one that even their close friends do not see. “At home, he’s a monster. He’s intensely jealous.”
Roxanne's face is etched with anxiety as she continues her story. “The problem began after we’d been married for just a few weeks. My brothers and my mother visited us, and I had such a good time talking and laughing with them. But when they left, my husband violently threw me onto the sofa, wild with rage. I couldn’t believe what was happening.”
Sadly, that was just the beginning of Roxanne's ordeal, for over the years, she has been battered repeatedly. The abuse seems to follow a predictable cycle. Roxanne's husband beats her, then he apologizes profusely and promises never to do it again. His conduct improves—at least for a while. Then the nightmare starts all over. “I keep thinking that maybe this time he’ll change,” Roxanne says. “Even when I run away, I always go back to him.”
Roxanne fears that one day her husband’s violence will escalate further. “He has threatened to kill me, the children, and himself,” she says. “One time he put scissors to my throat. Another time he threatened me with a gun, pointed it at my ear, and pulled the trigger! Fortunately, there was no bullet, but I nearly died from fright.”
A Legacy of Silence
Like Roxanne, millions of women worldwide are suffering at the hands of violent men. * Many of them remain silent about their ordeal. They reason that reporting the matter will prove futile. After all, many an abusive husband has simply denied charges with such statements as “My wife is excitable” or “She tends to exaggerate.”
It is sad that many women live with a constant fear of attack in the one place they should feel the safest—their own home. Yet, sympathy is all too often shown to the perpetrator instead of the victim. Indeed, some cannot bring themselves to believe that a man who appears to be an upstanding citizen would beat his mate. Consider what happened to a woman named Anita when she spoke up about the abuse she was receiving from her well-respected husband. “One of our acquaintances said to me: ‘How can you accuse such a fine man?’ Another said that I must somehow be provoking him! Even after my husband was exposed, some of my friends began avoiding me. They felt that I should have put up with it because ‘that’s the way men are.’”
As Anita’s experience shows, many find it difficult to grasp the grim reality of spouse abuse.
What drives a man to be so cruel to the woman he claims to love?
How can victims of violence be helped?
Why does this Happen to Me?
Should I call the Police?
Who Should I Tell?
How Can I Get Out of This Abusive Life Style without Hurting my Children and Jeopardizing my own life?