Beaten, cheated on, disrespected

HE beats her and she says it’s because he loves her; he cheats on her and she believes it’s because she is not pleasing him enough, and she doesn’t mind cooking and washing for him after a hard day’s work, even though he has been home all day.

If you live long enough you are bound to come across a few of these women.

Take 27-year-old nurse Simone C for example, who says she is clueless as to why she allows her boyfriend to get away with some of the things he does. As if allowing him to beat her is not enough, she forgives him every time she goes home and sees another one of his women at the home they both share.

“The other day I went home in the middle of the day to find a girl in the house in her underwear and Tshirt, cooking the food that I bought and searching through my fridge that he never even put a cent towards,” she shared, still livid.

She fought the girl and landed a few blows, but to her astonishment, she received a few of her own from her boyfriend who lamented that she had ‘dissed’ him.

It was a few weeks after that, that he met in a serious car accident and she had to put her studies on hold to nurse him back to health. But despite numerous acts of love over the two years since they have been together, she says her boyfriend continues to cheat with multiple women and demand too much of her for too little in return.

The nurse said she has continued the relationship because she has already invested too much in it, and doesn’t want to be alone.

Like Simone, 30-year-old Karen W is longing for the day when her boyfriend will stop taking her for granted. Although he is married, she decided to hook up with him after he convinced her that he and his wife were separated. In the beginning things were great for the two, but now she is reconsidering her decision to get involved with someone who she believes doesn’t care about her.

“He is very mean, he doesn’t drive and no matter where he wants to go, he calls me, but he never buys gas to put in the car,” she said, adding that he only gives her money when she assures him that she will repay him at a later date.

“In the initial stage of the relationship, we used to go out a lot and he spoke nicely to me and everything, but after a while, he stopped doing all of that,” she shared.

And even though she doesn’t live with him, she still has to prepare his meals and do his laundry.

“He will be home and sits there from morning until night and not even cook a thing, even if things are in the fridge,” she said, further explaining that she tolerates all this because she cares for him. Counselling psychologist Lola Allen-Jones believes that some women continue to stay in these types of relationships because of their low self-esteem and selfworth. She said that finances also have a lot to do with it, because some women stay since their partners are meeting their financial needs.

“Financially everything is okay and so they don’t want to walk away from it, so they live in denial, that it’s not going to work. All they are focusing on is what they can get out of it,” she said.

There is also the fact that some men convince women that men are in short supply and so it is better to have one who ill treats her than none at all. “Women with low selfesteem, they don’t value themselves; so if a man says that to them, they believe it. They accept that they are no good and that no-one else would want them,” she said.

Allen-Jones pointed out that such a relationship is unhealthy, especially if the woman is being abused emotionally and physically, but a failure on the part of some women to act decisively gives men the impression that they can continue to ill-treat them.

“What they (men) usually do after they have done that is they tell the women how sorry they are and they accept it. For these women, they don’t want to face up to the reality too that there is nothing here,” said the psychologist.

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