With the Ray Rice video all over the airwaves and the internet, spousal abuse and domestic violence have become national topics of conversation. But this case, bringing to light an age-old phenomenon, also carries with it a number of questions. One such question is why women get together with men who abuse them to begin with. The eminent Dr. Susan Forward studied this phenomenon in depth over the course of her career. The character she outlined is the misogynist. She said that a misogynist, before the relationship, portrays himself as Prince Charming. It can even feel too good to be true. At this time the man is willing to give up power in the relationship, temporarily, to see it flourish and to initiate sexual intercourse. Healthy men do not see this period as a temporary setback, nor do they make designs to change things once she is roped in. This misogynist harbors a hatred and disrespect for women. Bitterness and resentment toward the female sex lies deep within his heart. As the relationship carries on, and the honeymoon phase fades, he will tire of always accommodating his partner. She will wonder why he has had this sudden change, distancing himself from activities they once enjoyed, during the earlier days of their relationship.
Meanwhile, she will be completely unaware of the negative feelings he has been harboring all of this time, and wondering why this sudden change has occurred. The only way for the relationship to continue is for him to keep accommodating her needs. It will begin to become oppressive to him. He will feel trapped. To escape he will form a secret hiding place for himself that he enjoys. Sooner or later he will no longer be able to contain the negative feelings he has been repressing. He will start to get a short temper, perhaps a foul mouth. He may be emotionally and verbally abusive. Physical altercations may occur. Now she has to decide whether to leave him, which could make him go off and make things far worse, or stay with him and live in constant fear. So can you be on the lookout for a misogynist and avoid domestic violence? It’s unclear. Look out for cracks in the mask, wisecracks that reveal negativity about women, stories that always paint women in a negative light and so on. Other than that, if you have an uneasy feeling, find out what it is stemming from, but listen to it.
Another important question is what a woman should do if she finds herself in a relationship with a misogynist. If he has the ability to change, and he can be reasoned with, get him to seek psychological help. He needs to be able to deal with his inner demons and the root cause for his disorder. If it isn’t possible to reach him, or he keeps getting worse or not any better, she should seek legal counsel, get a restraining order, and at a safe time gather up the children, if there are any, and her things and leave. She needs to make sure she has prepared for a safe place to go to, even if it is a women’s shelter. Contact with the abuser should be kept to a minimum. Many women don’t leave however. They are manipulated and convinced that the problem lies with them. They try over and over to meet outrageous demands. Remember always that shame and abuse are never normal. No one should put up with it. Everyone has the right to live happy and free. For more on this dark phenomenon be sure to read the bestseller, Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them by Dr. Susan Forward.