“I didn’t realize I was being abused. I thought I was being strong with a complicated person.” — Evan Rachel Wood


This blog post is for people that identify as woman that are being domestically abused or were abused. It is not for anyone's personal gain or gossip. But if you want to help stop domentic abuse (in the way I think I can, at least), see the 'Some Extra Flavors' section at the end of this post.

Yesterday, I watched many videos of Evan Rachel Wood [1] where she recounts her experiences with the domestic abuse she suffered in hands of a man she can’t name. In a way, this inspired me to write this blog post and to also recount my own story of domestic abuse in the hands of a man I too can’t name (and won’t name, as I see no reason). I also wanted to write this blog post to list all the myths that we as society have created to justify domestic physical, sexual and emotional abuse perpetrated towards people who identify as women. Note, of course, that this is not isolated to heterosexual couples, but to any kind of relationships. Note, of course, that men or other genders can also be domestically abused; but it is more uncommon. Nevertheless, it should be taken into account the experiences they suffered.

Domestic abuse towards women have a big toll in our society and send shock waves to future generations. It is not isolated to the woman who was abused, but also to her immediate relationships and to her children. The effects that it create on women are big and serious. I, for example, developed generalized anxiety disorder (sometimes having 20 panic attacks a day), clinical depression, depersonalization disorder and gastritis. All of these disorders disappeared (or where diminished) when I cut the abuse, as in, from the beginning, my body was telling me that the situation I was part of was not ok. But my mind was clearly failing to catch up.

Note also that the amount of abuse that a woman receives can be exacerbated if she is Latin American, African, Asian or a descent from those, in the hands of a white man. As with everything, abuse has intersectionality. A domestic abuser can use systemic racism to enhance the control and abuse over their partner. I, as a Latin American woman, surely know about this.

Why, we ask ourselves, do we allow abuse to happen. Perhaps, because we have created a mythology used to justify the abusive men. Perhaps, because we don’t want to see it. Perhaps, because we think that people are incapable of such things. You might ask, and with some sort of reason, why if the abuse of a woman is so severe, she doesn’t leave the relationship. Probably, because she can’t, as the abuser holds economic, political or social power towards her, as so happens many times in relationships. But, also, because we, as human beings, are empathetic and want to help other people. I think this was my case. It took my years to realize I was being domestically abused (even when I knew I was physically abused), because, I, as Rachel Wood, thought that “I was being strong with a complicated person”. I thought I was being helpful with a person in need. I thought I was saving a depressive human.

Truth is: no matter how much I helped this person, no matter how much I annihilated my individual or self in the process, no matter how much love I showed, it was never enough. Because the sense of self-entitleness and privilege of an abuser is never satisfied. It is not on you, it is on them.

Chronic mistreatment gets people to doubt themselves. An abusive partner will deny your experience of abuse by any means: he will pluck your reality and replace it with his. He will make you feel crazy. He will beat you, and justify it as it was your problem or that you caused it. He will try to convince others that you are irrational. It is a process of identity invasion, so “never believe a man’s claim that he has to harm his partner in order to protect her; only abusers think this way” [2].

A domestic abuser will also feel entitled to your whole existence. You should: 1. help him at work, 2. attend any emotional need, 3. sexually satisfy him, and 4. never criticize him. The worst experiences of abuse I had on this relationship were precisely when I dared to criticize this man. I was accused so many times of making him ‘suicidal’ that I stop explaining what my needs were because I feared he might commit suicide. Truth is he never did. And I later found out that this was a tactic he used with many women. These sentences do not mean that we should obliterate the fact that someone might be sharing with us their depressive thoughts; but if they are used to justify abuse, then, they are not ok.

One of the basic human rights domestic abusers will take away from you is the right to be angry. No matter how badly he treats you, he believes that your voice shouldn’t rise, your blood shouldn’t boil, and that you shouldn’t strike back. He doesn’t have a problem with anger (as anger is sometimes used to justify abuse), he has a problem with his partner’s anger. Why does he hate anger? Because he believes he is beyond criticism or because there is power in anger. In my case, for example, on one instance, he pushed me away to a wall in front of a colleague because I failed to listen to him while he was talking (I was, in truth, distracted). I was supposed to listen to him every time he spoke. If I dared to speak my anger, he will physically or sexually punish me. And furthermore, he will say that he was the victim of my mistreatment, even if to this day I have scars of his physical abuse.

Perhaps, one of the most horrible things that women experience while being abused is the backlash in hands of others. I remember being supremely judged by other women who used to be close friends with this man, and who expected me to either change this man, or use me as an escape goat to perhaps project their own anger. What I learned from this is that we shouldn’t judge the abused woman because she fails our expectations of 1. leaving the abusive partner, 2. standing up to him, 3. defending others, 4. be a moral compass. I think abused woman have enough on their plate while being abused as to also be policed by others expectations. I think we should help abused women; but if what they do fails our expectations, then maybe the best thing is to move along and shut up.

I, luckily, got away from that relationship because if I didn’t I think I will be death by now. I couldn’t keep going anymore and my mental state was failing me. It was hard to get away. But I had a big amount of friends that helped me. So, you too can get away if you are in an abusive relationship. But you will need a plan for your physical safety and maybe for your children safety. As this blog post notes [3]:

“It is important to remember that leaving abuse is a three part stage where deciding to leave and leaving are not separate stages from the preparation stage. Survivors can never really relax for the rest of their lives. They will forever have to look back at their previous life and make sure their tracks are covered”.

While not being the perfect book, it is also good to read ‘Why does he do that?’ by Lundy Bancroft [2] (which this blog post takes inspiration from). A friend of mine recommended me this book when I was being abused, and, in a way, opened my eyes.

Remember that getting away from a partner that is an abuser is never easy. To this day, I get stalked and harassed by the man I left. It is a constant battle; but remember that you took the step of getting away, and that, in itself, is the biggest victory.

I will proceed to talk about the myths we create to justify abuse towards women and to list resources that you can use to get help if you are in an abusive relationship. Note that this is not an extensive list, and some things might not be extremely accurate. This are only some of my thoughts that take inspiration from the Bancroft book.


1. He was abused as a child and that makes him abusive

I was too sexually abused as a child, and my father was an alcoholic that abandoned us. Has that make me abusive? No.

As Bancroft recalls:

“I have sometimes said to a client: “If you are so in touch with your feelings from your abusive childhood, then you should know what abuse feels like. You should be able to remember how miserable it was to be cut down to nothing, to be put in fear, to be told that the abuse is your own fault. You should be less likely to abuse a woman, not more so, from having been through it.” Once I make this point, he generally stops mentioning his terrible childhood; he only wants to draw attention to it if it’s an excuse to stay the same, not if it’s a reason to change”.” [2]

Being abused as a child does not create adult abusers; but is can be used as an excuse.

2. He has a previous partner that mistreated him and now he has a problem with women as a result

An abusive man will try to always complain about his ex-partner, specially, if she stood up to him. But one bad relationship does not make a person abusive. Generalizing one situation to the wholeness of women is controlling and misguided in itself.

If it is an excuse to mistreat you, then it is a distortion. My abusive ex-partner had a very bad relationship with the ex-partner right before me. But, later I found out that he too abused her (and to many others as well). Then, he does not have a problem with women, he has a problem with women that he abused and that later stood up to him.

3. He has as a mental disease or mood disorder that causes the abuse

Mental illnesses don’t cause abusiveness. Many abusers report that when they beat their partner they are very aware of what they are doing, as they often don’t hit the body parts of the partner that others will be able to see (and, therefore, expose him). They don’t loose control because of a mental disease; they are very much in control.

4. He suffers from low self-esteem

As Bancroft tells:

“An abused woman tends to pour precious energy into supporting her abusive partner and massaging his ego, hoping against hope that if he is kept well stroked his next explosion might not happen” [2].

An abusive man can use low self-esteem to get favours from people around him, and to use as a shield when he is questioned/criticised. They problem is not that they have low self-esteem, but that they use this thinking to control and manipulate others around him. And, most importantly, to manipulate and control their partner.

6. Abuse is as bad for the man who is doing it as it is for his partner. They are both victims

As Bancroft notes:

“Abusers get over the pain of the abuse incidents far, far faster than their partners do. Certainly abusing one’s partner is not a healthy lifestyle, but the negative effects don’t hold a candle to the emotional and physical pain, loss of freedom, self-blame, and numerous other shadows that abuse casts over the life of its female target. Unlike alcoholics or addicts, abusive men don’t “hit bottom.” They can continue abusing for twenty or thirty years, and their careers remain successful, their health stays normal, their friendships endure. Abusers actually tend to benefit in many ways from their controlling behaviors.”

I think the quote from Bancroft explains this enough.


If you are a person identifying as a woman in an abusive relationship, seek help. Trust in a close friend that will understand (and not judge) your experience and create a plan to leave that abusive relationship. You can also follow these accounts for help (thanks to awesome @RisuToInu!):

  • @nnedv
  • @RefugeCharity
  • @OSPASafeEscape
  • @live_life_safe
  • @SEAresource

Some Extra Flavors

I’ve been thinking on creating a group (maybe for research/implementation, etc.) to talk about how digital tools are used to enhance domestic abused (stalking, installing spyware, etc.), what we can do to help it and stop it. If you are interested, ping me up ;)


  1. “Evan Rachel Wood on Surviving an Abusive Relationship” by SELF, Oct 30, 2019. Available here.
  2. “Why does he do that?” by Lundy Bancroft, Putnam’s Sons, New York, 2002.
  3. “Resources for Domestic Abuse Survivors” by Security Trash Panda, July 24, 2019. Available here.