Many women who are victims of domestic violence aren’t permitted to work outside of their homes. This is because the abusive partner believes they will leave if they are financially independent or use their work hours to have an affair. Not all abusive relationships function this way, however, and there are still plenty of women who are victims of domestic violence who go to jobs every day.
Even if you’re “allowed” to have a job, the abuse can still have a detrimental effect on your career. In fact, it probably will.
How It Starts
When I was married to an abusive man, I got a job that was a big opportunity for me. Not only was it a step into the field I’d been trying to break into, but it was also great money. It was enough that I could have left my husband if I’d wanted to, and he was aware of that. That’s why the attacks intensified, shortly after I accepted the position.
Within weeks, I had so many injuries that I wasn’t able to follow the company dress code. I couldn’t wear nylons because they’d stick to my wounds. I had to ask my superiors for permission to skip the pantyhose, and then I had to explain why. I could barely walk, I was humiliated and ashamed, and the worst part about it was everyone else in the office knew.
Seven Ways Domestic Violence Can Stand in the Way of Professional Success
Showing up at work with obvious signs of domestic violence is just one way it can put a damper on your career. There are many more, and the following are some of the most common:
- You may miss work because you are injured or hiding injuries;
- You may be afraid to get a promotion because you worry your success will set him off;
- You may eat lunch alone, and turn-down offers to socialize with coworkers because you’re afraid you’ll be accused of having affairs;
- If your coworkers find out, they may be afraid he’ll do something at your job, and they’ll become victims of his violence too;
- You may be afraid to leave your children while you work;
- You might not be able to focus on your work – maybe because you’re too distressed, or maybe because he purposely kept you up all night so you wouldn’t be able to do well at your job;
- You might have to skip after-work social functions that could benefit your career through networking and, as a result, get passed over for promotions and other opportunities.
Escaping Domestic Violence Can Be Very Difficult
Many people can’t understand why some choose to stay in abusive relationships. Aside from the above-mentioned financial dependence that many abusive partners use to keep their victims trapped, there are many other reasons a victim may refuse to leave. Connolly Suthers Domestic Violence Lawyer advise that if you believe your safety is at risk you should contact a lawyer or get a family member or friend to do so on your behalf so they can assist you in making an application for a protection order to the court.
Abusers also frequently try to make their victims dependent on them for an emotional connection. This may sound counterintuitive, but many abusers are actually quite loving during their non-abusive moments. That is often how they draw their victims into their web. They are overly romantic and loving and try to make their new partners feel as though they have never been loved like this before. The abuse doesn’t begin until they are fully ensnared.
Abusers often try to target people who don’t have a large support system of close friends and family, and as they draw you closer, they attempt to undermine the relationships that you do have. They want to cut you off from all avenues of support so that they are all you have.
There are many other techniques that they will use, like trying to tie you to them with children. Follow this link to learn more about the consequences of domestic violence on child custody. The overall strategy is simply to make sure you are tied to them as tightly as possible while cutting off at least one, if not several, of the different types of outside support systems that you have.
There is also a strong fear of retaliation. There are not enough protections for victims of abuse. When victims report their abusers, they certainly don’t serve a life sentence. They will get out and are often back on the streets almost immediately. More protections need to be in place because that fear of retaliation is real. Many victims do suffer some of their worst abuse after reporting a partner if they are unable to find safety.
You’re Not Alone
Domestic abuse is far too prevalent in our society. About one-third of women and one-quarter of men have experienced some form of physical violence from a partner. The best way to protect those who suffer from the abuse of a partner is to raise awareness and help to change the system. We need more protections for victims of abuse and harsher punishments for abusers.
If you have suffered abuse, know that you are not alone. There are many resources online to help put you in contact with others who have escaped from violent situations. There are people who can help you to figure out a course of action to safely escape from your circumstances.