Mazie Aldrich was a fierce advocate against domestic violence. In the following article, her passion comes through with that resilient reason that she could just convey with her writing. Today, on her birthday, as we ready to go to press, we’re republishing her article to kick off 2020’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month, because no one could say it quite like Mazie, and in this way, we can still be her voice.
by: Mazie Aldrich
“I guess that sometimes the fear of the unknown is more paralyzing than the fear of regular beatings and abuse. At least she knows what to expect…
Why She Stays … Or Returns
She feels that she is a failure as a wife, a mother, a person because she cannot avoid abuse. Her batterer reinforces this feeling as a means of control.
The degree to which she is economically dependent upon her spouse/boyfriend will be the final factor in whether or not she feels she can exist independently. A positive attitude can mean very little without the means to live independently.
Keeping the family together:
She will often feel that having a father is more important than anything she can offer her children. She is unsure of her ability to keep her children and support them on her own. In fact, her spouse may often threaten to take the children away if she attempts to leave.
She often assumes the blame for the abuse and will expend energy uselessly trying to determine how to avoid provoking her batterer. Societal factors tend to hold women responsible for the well-being of the family members. Thus, She feels responsible for holding the family together in times of crisis.
Promises of change:
She believes her partner when he promises (over and over) that he will never do “it” again. She often still loves him and wants very badly for her relationship, marriage, life to be successful. If he will change, she does not have to face the responsibility to make a change.
She often has no experience in independent decision-making or in being responsible for herself. Her spouse has reinforced this dependent relationship as a means of retaining control of her so that she is available to abuse.
Fears of insanity:
She may be told by her partner that she is crazy. Being dependent upon him increases her chances of acceptance (at least partially) of this perception. She is extremely unsure of her ability to cope with the “outside world” and this increases her fear of insanity.
She is usually quite isolated, having few friends or sources of support. The more isolated she is, the more dependent upon her spouse she is for any input about her value as a person or her options in life.
No place to go:
She is often unaware of community resources and her rights to use them.
Abused women may come to regard abuse as a normal part of a relationship or marriage. Societal attitudes often assume a man’s right to use physical violence against “his” wife or “his” woman. She may have witnessed violence in her own family for years.
She often has feelings of loneliness and inadequacy when facing the blank wall of misunderstanding, unsupportive friends, relatives, community members. The attitude that family “problems” are private to any extreme increases her feelings of isolation and fear.
Traditional values systems:
Traditional societal roles deny the options of separation and divorce for abused women. Strong religious convictions and the stigma of welfare often effectively force the woman to remain or return to an abusive situation.
Fear of death:
Quite simply, an abused woman may be told she will be killed, her children will be killed, or her batterer will kill himself if she leaves or refuses to return. Past violence has taught her that his threats often translate into action.”
If you or someone you know has experienced intimate partner violence, Crisis Services of North Alabama can help. Contact them locally at 256.574.5826, on their 24/7 HELPline at 256.716.1000, or at their website www.csna.org. Advocates provide free, confidential support to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.