How Do Beautiful Women End Up In Abusive Relationships?

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 04/02/2014 | 11:45 AM EDT

From Jazmine Sullivan to Kelly Rowland, celebrities bring a spotlight on domestic violence

When the public hears of a celebrity having dealt with domestic violence, the reaction is usually one of shock. “How could a woman so beautiful and confidant allow a man to abuse her?” is what often comes to mind.


Jazmine Sullivan’s recent confession that her hiatus from music had to do with an abusive relationship and insecurities was yet another reminder that even the world’s most talented, revered women can become victims of abuse. Sullivan isn’t alone. Kelly Rowland spoke candidly about her bout with domestic violence in the form of music in her song, “Dirty Laundry,” and her best friend La La Anthony revealed she, too, was in an abusive relationship, as detailed in her book, “The Love Playbook.”




The truth is, no matter how beautiful a woman may be, it doesn’t make her any less susceptible to domestic violence. There are various reasons why women end up, and even stay in abusive relationships. The most common reason stems from low self-esteem, in which they feel they don’t deserve any better. No matter how beautiful the outside world may think a woman is, it can be quite challenging believing it herself if she grew up in an environment where she was often told she was unattractive or incompetent. Many women of abuse are nurtured into the belief that they are less than, and therefore do not demand or even expect a man to treat them with any worth.


But insecurities aren’t always the cause of why women find themselves with abusive men. Some women think that they can change a man and stick around in hopes that he’ll become the man they want him to be. Unfortunately the “S” on their chest quickly goes from “superwoman” to needing to be “saved.” Men who exhibit physical and/or emotional abuse can be charming at first, which often manipulates women into thinking that the “good” in him will resurface. The reality, however, is that he will not change unless he actually wants it. Even worse, abusive men often take their manipulation a step further by making the woman feel guilty for his behavior or even threatening to commit suicide.


Other women stay in domestic violence because they’re afraid of being alone and would rather stick around than be with no one at all. In cohabiting situations where the abuser contributes financially or children are involved in the equation, it can be even more cumbersome planning an exit strategy. But there is no reason more common than the classic, “I love him.” It’s important that women in abusive relationships love themselves enough to recognize that abuse of any kind is not love, and if a man loves her like he claims he does, he will seek the professional help he needs to get to the root of anger and his abusive ways.


Domestic violence knows no status, size, genetic makeup or color. Any woman can become a victim - and if we begin looking at domestic violence as a problem for all and not just a few, it could have profound impacts.

For your convenience, here’s a list of signs of an abuser:
Extreme Jealousy; Controlling Behavior; Unrealistically Expectations; Isolates Partner From Family/Friends; Hypersensitivity; “Playful” Use of Force During Sex; Belief In Rigid Gender Roles; Use of Force During Argument

(Photos from left:  Sergi Alexander/Getty Images, Ethan Miller/Getty Images, Raymond Hall/GC Images)

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