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Friday, July 22, 2011

Domestic Violence: Fearful Friday

How can she put up with it?

Well, life hasn't always been full of spitting and punches, and put-downs. It may not even be full of it now. It happens, there's no doubt about that. But it doesn't happen all the time, and it most probably never did happen all the time.

In fact, when they first got together there were hardly any signs of violence or anger. For quite a time, it was better than best. He was charming, and attentive. Sooo attentive! Flowers and even poems! Grand gestures of love in public places. Tango dances with a dramatic swoop to the floor, right in the main car park outside work. And of course, lots of people saw. It was all a thrilling ride.

And then, little signs. Little strange signs. A cross tone here. An excessive interest in who she is seeing after work. Lots of calls through the day. Really? What is there to say on the fifth call? Or the tenth? Another much crosser tone.

But then more attention. And more attention.

And that's how it happens. Little by little. Bit by bit.

Someone once shared a metaphor that throws light on how women, and sometimes men, end up in a relationship where domestic violence exists. "It's like boiling a frog," she said. "If the frog were dropped straight into boiling water, it would leap out in a flash. But pop the frog into a cosy pan of cosy water, and then gently turn the heat up, bit by bit, little by little, and after a while, the frog will be thoroughly and totally boiled."

While none of us probably relish the thought of being likened to a boiled frog, I have reflected on that metaphor many times over the healing years that have passed since I left my violent marriage. The heat was turned up ever so gradually, and the environment did change ever so gently. And I did end up being like the disempowered frog. For quite a time, I was quite unable to move, or even to think of trying to jump free.

But where the frog metaphor ends in an irreparable way, our story need not. We can find ways to gather strength, and we can jump free from our inhospitable environments.

A place to start is simply by seeing that our relationships are not working in a healthy way. And begin to look for help and support.

Phone: 13 11 14 (cost of local call from landline)

ReachOut Australia is a source of excellent support for women in abusive relationships.

If you're a blogger, please feel free to join me on Fearful Friday. You may have your own story to tell. Or you may want to draw on the content of my postings. Take my button from the side bar, and include a link back to my posting.
If we join forces and building community, we may help some women to begin strengthening themselves. 


  1. The boiling frog analogy is such a powerful one. I'm so glad you found a way to jump out and applaud you for trying to help others.

  2. Domestic violence is so sad for everyone involved. The insidiousness of it is what scares me the most. I wish that no one ever had to experience it. x

  3. What a brave frog you are. I am so pleased you found your way out. Such a dreadful experience that I honestly wish you didn't have to endure. Thanks for Rewinding x

  4. I appreciate your support and encouragement. I am also very glad I was a jumping frog! An altered and fairly well-heated one by the time I jumped, but free anyway. Frogs that do manage to jump free may only do it after many, many attempts. I think the average woman takes seven attempts before leaving.


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