There are a lot of ways an abuser keeps the victim compliant: Intimidation, fear, threats. Humiliation is one tactic that carries beyond the relationship. It is humiliating enough to have to admit to yourself that you are abused, but then you have to admit to others. First people you know, and there is a fear there as well, that they might reject your words, your reality. But even if they don’t, the humiliation is still present. Then you might have to go to an abuse center. It’s easier there, not so much shame, but there’s still a certain amount because you know it should never have happened in the first place. You shouldn’t have to have these dates in your calendar. It shouldn’t be on your agenda.

When you finally try to break free of your abuser, there is more humiliation. You have to go to court. You have to write out things the abuser has done. This is a long exercise in humiliation. And the court is not really set up to help you, unless you’ve somehow been able to prove physical abuse by police calls and restraining orders. And, if your abuser’s parents bail him out again, as mine did, by hiring him a lawyer, it’s not going to get better. Because the last place a woman who is in an abusive relationship should be alone is in a courtroom, in front of a ton of people she doesn’t even know, facing off with an attorney.

It’s not general knowledge, dealing with the courts, trying to figure out what they want so the judge will listen to your side, and if you have been in an abusive relationship, it’s likely you’re really not used to speaking up for yourself. This is a must in court, but an abused woman’s first time in court will not probably end that way. At least mine didn’t.

So now, for me at least, I face the humiliation of having to return to the house while my husband is still there. I can’t count on him to keep his word. He has lied to me since before we were married. Unfortunately, I allowed him to speak to me on the phone. I’m still too trusting of this person who delights in humiliating me.

One day it won’t be like this. I know that one day I’ll be able to stand up completely to him, regardless, but for now, it’s just an ongoing exercise in dealing with the humiliation.

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