It's more than being considerate towards your abuser's feelings though. It's trying to appease them rather than fighting or telling them to fuck off because there's a very real possibility that he'll get irate and attack or kill you. I've heard people say that "fawn" should be added to the fight, flight, or freeze responses, and I think it's true for women especially. We have to resort to other means besides brute strength.

Women wouldn't get so deep into abusive relationships they fear they can't leave if they dropped the assholes at the first red flag instead of "being nice".

Women wouldn't get so deep into abusive relationships they fear they can't leave if they dropped the assholes at the first red flag instead of "being nice".

Except lots of the abusive relationships girls and women find ourselves "so deep into" and we have genuine trouble getting out of are not relationships where we've had the option to "drop the assholes at the first red flag."

You make it sound like the only "abusive relationships" girls and women have with men and boys are voluntary romantic partner ones that we made a choice to enter into and we can choose to get ourselves out of. When the reality is, the abusive relationships lots of girls and women are "deep into" and can't see a way out of are relationships in which "the assholes" are tyrannical, bullying, malevolent fathers, uncles, grand dads, brothers, cousins, classmates, neighbors, teachers, pastors/priests/imams/rabbis, doctors, coaches, employers, managers, co-workers, professional colleagues and so on. Many of these abusive relationships started during girls' and women's infancy, childhoods, teens and early adult years... Some of them begin when women are older or elderly and vulnerable in newfound ways.

Some women in middle-age and their elderly years are in "deep into" relationships with their sons and grandsons who have turned out to be sick, twisted, abusive assholes in adulthood and adolescence.

Lots of girls and women are dealing with all sorts of vulnerabilities and constraints - disability, lack of money, illegal immigrant status, financial and practical dependency, dementia, low levels of literacy and education, religious taboos - that make it very difficult for them to drop and escape the abusive assholes in their lives.

By saying "getting deep into a relationship" that is by definition a voluntary relationship someone can get out of. At least in the US, the vast majority of DV and homicides of adult women are carried out by romantic partners. I don't see a legitimate complaint for someone saying we need to push against the social conditioning that leads women to get into abusive relationships. Women do have agency, but many have been conditioned to ignore that agency when there are red flags and that leads them down a path of staying in relationships to the point where they do not think they can leave without jeopardizing their safety or their loved ones. I'd like to see society, feminists in particular, normalize dropping a man at the dating stage when the red flags start, and push back against the idea that women can fix these controlling and abusive men. I am shocked at the sort of crap I see women put up with very early in dating relationships. Yes, men need to stop being shit, but women need to be held up and told loudly and clearly that they do not deserve that shit and they don't need a man so badly that they have to put up with it.

A lot abusers wait or subtly engineer until it is very difficult for the woman to leave.

Having seen women get drawn into these relationships, I don't agree that there aren't signs until it is too late. The "subtle" signs are a period of boundary violating/disrespect/attempts to control that women put up with and disregard because of the ingrained behavior to be nice, put others needs first and fear of losing the relationship if they stand up for themselves. Having gone through this with a family member who was in an emotionally and financially abusive relationship/marriage the signs were there very early in the relationship, but she kept them a secret.

While they were dating, she would put aside her money for something else, only to find the envelope empty. He "needed" it for something, so he just took it without asking, but he'd never pay it back. When they got married she stupidly opened a joint account with him, only to see her paychecks get spent covering his business losses. He lost more money than she made over multiple years. He convinced her that as long as they stuck together he'd turn his business around and be making so much money. In the mean time, he didn't lift a finger as a parent (they each had a child from a previous relationship) and then had a baby with a birth defect that required special care, numerous medical appointments, and he did nothing. She didn't get a full night's sleep for almost 5 years because the baby's condition caused respiratory issues. He never woke up once in the middle of the night to care for his child. But by the time they were filing bankruptcy and lost their house to foreclosure, she couldn't imagine leaving him. Finally when the stress of caring for 3 children with no support, working, going back to school to get an advanced degree so she could make more money, and a second bankruptcy pushed her into an anxiety spiral, he couldn't cope because she was "crazy" so he cheated on her and then abandoned her.
Had she told him the first time he took her money without asking that she'd drop his ass if he ever did it again, she'd have saved herself a decade of financial ruin and the destruction of her mental health. She almost ended up in an inpatient psychiatric program. She has spent seven years putting her life back together. It is only because of very generous support from family members that she is back on her feet. But had she told him he couldn't take her money the first time he did it, he'd probably have bailed on her to find some other woman he could leach off of. Or of he kept doing it she should have dumped him. Something always seemed wrong, but she hid how bad things were for years.

This is a good point and one of the big reasons that victim advocates always do what the victim wants to do. Of course, we want to support them making their own decisions and learning how to do that again and of course we don't want to force them to do anything. But, also, they know their abuser. They know the tiny micro-expressions that mean something is going down. They know what to say that will have a better chance of calming them, or at least getting "only one" black eye. If the victim says "I can't do that", she may not be able to articulate why (still in FFF mode), but her gut is right.

But, also, they know their abuser. They know the tiny micro-expressions that mean something is going down.

Also applies to street harassment, getting hit on at a bar, and other comparatively mild interactions with men who are strangers. Women learn to pick up on the signals aggressive creeps put out as girls because the have to. This is why I have zero sympathy for idiotic men who whine that women cross the street to avoid them.

I remember being picked on by a neighborhood boy in 2nd grade, I came home crying and my mom said that I needed to be extra nice to him because he probably had a hard home life and when people are mean to me that I should be even nicer and try to be their friend. I recognize this is how my mom was taught to be, and my grandma before her, and on and on. This drive to be nice is embedded in me and really hard to shake off, even when you are aware it is total bullshit.

Ah I knew it would be Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie! The same writing style as part of her TED talk that was featured in Beyoncé's "Flawless"


We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, "you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful, otherwise, you will threaten the man." Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. And marriage can be a good thing, it can be a source of joy and love and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don't teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors--not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing--but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. [...] Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

Link to the clip (from a TED talk) here

Link to the Beyoncé song (censored version)

Isn't she a libfem?

Did you delete your comment by mistake? Lol

Probably, if that. Still good of her to share the stage with a brilliant woman.

I'll add that the song Chimamanda is featured on is VERY libfemmy, to be fair.

[–] ProxyMusic 5 points Edited

When I was a young newspaper reporter/feature writer circa 1978-9, I did a story about the new interest in learning self-defense seen amongst young women in the US sparked in part by Ted Bundy's rape and killing spree. Several instructors and experts I interviewed said that whilst the young women they taught had no problems at all mastering the self-defense skills, strategies and techniques to keep themselves safe(r) from malevolent men, they'd noticed a worrying pattern: when in a RL situation where they were faced with a man or teenage boy who discomfited, creeped them out, preyed on them, crossed their boundaries, and even began/tried to assault them, a large number of young women couldn't put the self-defense skills and methods they'd learned into action because they were afraid and ashamed of "being mean" and "hurting him."

Please note: none of the instructors and experts I spoke to back then thought girls and women were at fault for this, nor did I or my editors: it was becoming apparent and widely accepted back then that girls' and women's difficulty in standing up for ourselves was the result of a lifetime of conditioning that began when we were babies/toddlers - aka "female socialization."

Obviously we need to teach girls that politeness doesn't extend to accepting sexual abuse, but I think 99% of the problem is with the male half of the equation. I don't like it when these problems are framed as the girls' or women's fault. We don't need to be more like men, they need to be a lot more like us. This gets applied to business stuff all the time, women are advised to be rude and speak over other people like the men do, why aren't the men taught to listen and be considerate team players?

Not to mention, going against the grain invites other forms of social punishment.