Sometime people tell me that a woman is “in denial” about the abuse she is suffering. Such a comment makes me crazy. I realize that some women do not always dwell on the full gravity of their situation because it is just too overwhelming. They deal with as much as they can at any given time. But I see women working hard to bring about change, protect their children, consider their options, etc. — all in an effort to “make things better”. I don’t see that as denial.
I do, however, think that we live in a society that is in deep denial about the pervasiveness and horror of abuse that grips so many women’s lives.
As a society, too often we are not there for women. Too often police do not take women’s concerns seriously. Too often resources such as affordable housing are not available for women who feel trapped in the abuse. And perhaps worst of all, we refuse to protect children after a separation insisting that the mother and father share joint custody even though the mother reports to authorities that the father is abusive to the children.
So, in my estimation, there is a lot of denial going on but it is not the women who are in denial.