I am 25 years old and my 30-year-old boyfriend abuses me regularly. He slaps one time and me around he even spat in my face when he thought I was coming on to his friend. I have never cheated on my boyfriend. I will admit to deep admiration of one of his close friends who is polar opposite to him. This friend is gentle, loving and treats his girlfriend with respect and kindness. I wish my boyfriend could be half as nice as that. When I ask my boyfriend to end the relationship he said it would end when he says so. He threatened that if I tried to leave him what he would do to me no other man will ever want to look at me. He scares me and I don’t know what to do. I can’t live like this but I am afraid what will happen if I tried to leave. What should I do?
You are living in an abusive relationship and abusive relationships do not get better without intervention they get worse. I want you to develop a protection plan and a plan to leave this man. Tell family and friends about what you are going through. Do not keep it a secret. Most important of all tell your local police, ensure there is a record and give them a good description of this man. If he has an identifying mark make sure that’s on the record. If you need to save money, do so by opening a different account or giving it to a family member you can trust will not spend it. Next contact a women’s shelter for help. Many have the resources you need to help you navigate the system. You are in control of your own life you do not have to ask permission to leave your abusive partner. Think of what you can do if you are attacked, what is within your reach, what do you carry on you that can give you some time to run and get help. Talk to other women who have gone through the same thing – perhaps in a support group. I take threats by men very seriously. Never underestimate a threat. Always assume that they will carry through. Family violence and especially violence against women is about power and control. One partner wants to control the other – generally men who are bigger and stronger. Find the right time to leave. Do not give this man a hint that you are even thinking of it, keep playing the fool and when the time is right, make your move. If you are from another country, make sure you keep your passport and Ids in a safety deposit. Never leave them around. Some men use this as leverage to keep you in subjugation. You have power and that power is your strength and the belief that you are worth it, you are worth respect and you deserve better. Now go.