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138 7 Getting Out “We Have to Pray to God and Hope Everything Works Out” As Billie progressed through her abusive relationships, her dynamic resistance, sowed in her childhood, continued to build. She found it easier to resist the relationships and ultimately found that “Basically, if you just stand up to ’em, stop being such a wimp, stop letting this man do this to you” a woman can stop the abuse or get out of an abusive relationship . In discussing the differences between White and Black women’s methods of escape from these relationships, Billie demonstrated the lifelong exasperation she believed Black women felt and their more stalwart efforts in abusive relationships: “White women would kill ’em [laughs]. They’d make some poison cookies. Where Black women I think will just [be like], ‘I’ll kick your ass, but I got to go.’” However, before getting to a point of leaving, battered women make various attempts to stop the battering. They seek out assistance from family members, friends, religion, and spirituality. In fact, regarding getting out of her relationship with Kobe, Billie asserted: Now that I think about it, I’m glad I got away from him. I’d probably be dead and he’d be trying to have sex with my daughter. Who knows what? God only knows. I just thank God. Through all that [God] watched over me and brought me through it. He brought me through it. The only thing I can say is, “Thank you, Jesus, I’m here.” I could be six feet under. This statement by Billie is even more interesting since Kobe left the home soon after the rape described in a previous chapter, when Kobe stole Billie ’s mother’s car and left the home, never to be seen again. Billie’s “getting away” from Kobe refers to the stance she took after the rape by sleeping Getting Out 139 on the living room couch instead of in their shared bed and her certainty that God and her continued belief in the Spirit also contributed to Kobe’s being removed from her life. Even though Kobe is finally out of Billie’s life, her current intimate partner was physically abusive on one occasion and continues to exhibit verbal abuse. However, Billie believed she had a good deal of control in the relationship and emphasized, “I just thank God that I met Odell. We done had our little arguments and our little gobetween . But he found out, she hits back, so we don’t have that anymore.” In fact, Billie sought out her current husband in order to have him buy her crack: I met Odell. I was like, I could get with a little one-night stand, put him out the house and it would be all over with. Actually I was looking at him for a victim. So I can go get some dope. Odell didn’t even smoke dope, still don’t. He ain’t never. After that I made love to Odell and he hasn’t left yet. Further, Billie relayed that Odell has a brain injury that makes him “kind of slow to the draw.” The women also make use of public resources, such as human service agencies and the criminal justice system. While the women had some positive reactions to the support provided by their family and their spirituality , they described less than desirable experiences with religious clergy and public outlets. Billie revealed, “He went to jail for thirty days with twenty-seven of ’em suspended. So he only had to spend three days in jail, and I’ve got the crap beat out of me!” These encounters, which follow a battered woman’s effort to overcome personal obstacles to leaving, can hinder her ability to flee abusive relationships without further harm. Several explanations for why women stay in abusive relationships have been offered in the research on battered women. To start, these include a combination of the emotions love and despair. At some point at the start of the relationship and prior to the abuse, for example, the soonto -be battered woman fell in love with her soon-to-be batterer. This love causes much internal conflict for the woman when the abuse starts.1 Despair comes when the abuse continues and grows in force and all of the woman’s efforts to improve the batterer’s conduct have gone unheeded. In addition, she may begin to fear her partner because of verbalized or nonverbalized threats...


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MARC Record
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