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The basic facts about women abuse
The only way we can stop the cycle of domestic violence, is to come together and end the silence.

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The Basic Facts About Women Abuse

There is no universal experience of women abuse; every case is different. However, there are trends and patterns that paint a picture of the violence experienced by women in South Africa. Here are some of the facts and features about the abuse of women.

There are many different types of abuse that can occur, however, no matter what form the abusive behaviour takes, at the root of any kind of abuse the goal is for the abuser to gain power and control and assert their authority in the relationship.

So, abuse is any behaviour that controls another person, causes physical harm or fear, makes someone do things they do not want to do, or prevents them from doing things they want to do. Some types of abuse include emotional, physical, sexual, and financial abuse, as well as gender-based and domestic violence.

Forms of Women Abuse

It is common for abused women to experience multiple forms of abuse, with gender-based violence and domestic violence affecting women in South Africa the worst.

Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is the term used to describe any violence directed at an individual based on their gender or as a result of role expectations associated with each gender, as well as the unequal power relationships between the genders. While both men and women experience GBV, most of the violence is inflicted on women and girls and perpetrated by men.

The phrases ‘violence against women’ and ‘gender-based violence’ are often used interchangeably as the women abuse statistics show that violent acts are primarily committed against women or girls, as well as against members of the LGBTQ community.

Domestic violence is a type of GBV that occurs in different types of domestic relationships such as marriages, intimate partnerships or familial relationships. If the behaviour of the person:

  • Controls another person
  • Causes physical harm or fear
  • Makes someone do things they do not want to do
  • Prevents someone from doing things they want to do

Then it can be considered as domestic violence.

One of the facts about women abuse is that abusive relationships are extremely complex situations, where attempting to leave the abusive relationship can increase the threat of further abuse, injury or death.

When a survivor leaves or attempts to leave an abusive relationship, the abuser’s sense of power and control is threatened, which may cause the abuser to retaliate. Which is why leaving an abusive relationship is one of the most dangerous things a survivor can do. A common misconception about abused women who stay in abusive relationships is that if they stayed, “it can’t be that bad”. In reality, there are many factors that prevent women from leaving an abusive relationship.

These factors can include:

  • Financial dependence on the abuser
  • Belief that she deserves the abuse
  • Belief that the abuser will change
  • Belief that the police can’t or won’t help her
  • Shame and embarrassment about the abuse
  • Belief that people she tells may not believe she is being abused

Whatever the reason, the fact is that leaving an abusive relationship can be extremely difficult and possibly put the victim in more danger of abuse. Not being able to access the right support is one of the most significant factors that prevents women from leaving abusive relationships. Learn about ways to end the silence around domestic violence and the abuse of women here.