As a survivor of domestic violence, I have learned that fear can play a big part in keeping women locked in abusive relationships. Some of those fears are very real and some are just illusions. Threats by the abuser, threats against the children, or physical violence are truly real fears. Those in the community need to know how to help with these issues. To better understand the fear an abused woman experiences, one must first understand the dynamics of abuse. This can only be done through education and awareness.

Sometimes an abused woman will experience fear that is just an illusion. For me, it was an inability to believe in myself. My abuser spent years lowering my self-esteem, until I felt I could not make it in this world without him. This illusional fear will also keep a woman in an abusive relationship. In all actuality, she can make it without her abuser. However, she is afraid of all the obstacles that she needs to cross in order to be free. She needs love and support from an educated and caring community. Her actions need to be affirmed, her words taken seriously, and she needs some direction. Without this type of support, she will most likely remain in what is familiar to her – the abusive relationship.

She is accustomed to the abuse, so stepping out of that realm becomes her main fear. After spending eight years in an abusive marriage, my fear of the unknown became greater than my fear of the abuse. Without affirmation, encouragement, and support from the community, a victim is trapped in her own terror.

Domestic violence can also affect many areas of a victim’s life – including home, work, and school. Victims may begin calling in sick, arriving late or showing decreased performance at work or school. Battering is the single most frequent reason why women seek attention at hospital emergency rooms, and it is the single major cause of injury to women. Abuse can cause relationship problems with family, friends, and co-workers as well. Domestic violence affects everyone. Therefore, it is vitally important that all sectors of our community become proactive. It is the responsibility of business owners, co-workers, teachers, and pastors to become educated and proactive. With 2 – 4 million reported women being assaulted each year by their partners, domestic violence becomes everyone’s responsibility.

Currently, there are many resources available to abused women and their children. However, abused women must reach out and take that first courageous step to confront their fear. As a survivor, I now realize that one has to face their fear and conquer it. This takes strength and courage but no woman has to go through it alone. For a listing of nationwide resources:

© Copyright 2002 Monique Rider

Author's Bio: 

Monique Rider, a life coach and personal trainer from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is the founder of Trinity Coaching Services. She offers personal development coaching via telephone to individuals who are experiencing any type of life transition. For more information or to subscribe to Monique's free ezine you may visit her web site at: or email her at: