Hundreds of thousands of women in middle class America are in abusive marriages
A mother struggling to get out of her marriage, she has children and no place to go. She does not fit into any socio-economic status because she is a middle class woman coming from a middle class home, with an abusive man. She is caught in the middle, she has never told anyone over the years of her struggles, because she has the “American Dream” or does she.
Hundreds of thousands of women in middle class America a year, come from abusive marriages, and when they try to leave, they have nowhere to go, so they get sucked back in and stay. Some have been able to get help from family members but most won’t ever say anything out of shame and embarrassment. They have it all "the white picket fence", "the husband that has a good job", children, social status, but also live in a private hell.
As a clinical sexologist and relationship coach I have helped women who have been unable to find their way to open up about their struggles and get the help they need. Unfortunately for these women the systems that is set up for abused women is flawed, and they end up falling through the cracks.
Many times when they leave they have limited funds, making it hard for them to get back up on their feet. Most of the time they were stays at home moms, devoting their time at the PTA or a part time job, so their work experience is limited. When they do try to leave the husband controls the money and closes down the credit cards or cleans out the bank accounts.
The women try to go for aid from the government but when they find out that they have money in their name, they can’t apply for any help. Trying to leave an abusive marriage with children can be difficult and dangerous for these women, who husbands threaten to hunt them down, or tell them that if they ever leave they will kill them. If there is outright physical abuse that in some cases it can be easier to file a police report, and have the man arrested, but most of the women are too embarrassed to do so because of social status. Then there is mental abuse which in many cases is more difficult to get away from, because with mental abuse it is hard to prove, but the threat is always there. If you leave I will hunt you down, I will make your life hell, and I will leave you with nothing taking the kids from you.
The stories of where a husband takes his life and that of his wife and children, is best pointed out and illustrated as just this situation in a middle class home. The woman lives with the fear on a daily basis, she knows that her husband’s threats are real if she were to ever try to leave, he does have the money and resources to hunt her down.
My goal is to help women get the information that they need to get out of an abusive marriage before it is too late. The first step is to file a temporary restraining order and get him out of the home, so that the kids and you can be safe. Most women do not realize that by doing so it can give her the time to save her and her children from a situation that can become life threatening. For more information on temporary restraining orders, visit your local police stations and ask for an advocate for protection. Another point for women in this situation "forget about your social status" and call the police, tell your friends and seek the help needed. Your reputation means nothing when you and your children are no longer living, because your husband does go ahead with his threat and kills you!
For more information e-mail The MaryDawn Foundation for help or questions.