Battle Cries: Black Women and Intimate Partner Abuse

By Hillary Potter | Go to book overview

6
Fighting Back

“You Want to Fight? We Gonna Fight!”

By the time Medea and her abusive husband, Henry, were approximately five years into their relationship, they were sleeping in separate rooms and Medea was already seriously contemplating getting a divorce. During their relationship, Medea called the police on a regular basis to intervene in Henry's battering toward her. Sadly, the police in the Caribbean town where Medea resided were especially indifferent to woman battering. After what was to be the final battering incident, the police responded but left soon after. Later that evening, Medea took it upon herself to prevent any future battering by Henry:

I waited till he was asleep and I got a knife. I gently turned the [knob] on
his bedroom door and the door was locked. I had to take stock, I had to
look at what I was doing, look at who I was becoming, look at what was
going on with me. I had to look at that, as well as to look at the impact
on my children. What kind of children did I want? Who did I want to
raise? So I had to really do some introspection…. Aside from killing
him, nothing would have satisfied me in terms of hurting him. I think
he was so emotionally fucked that I think that very little could have hurt
him. I really do. I just don't think—I can't conceive of anything that could
have hurt him. I think he's hurting now, 'cause [our children] have no
contact at all with him. But [back] then, no.

Women respond to intimate partner abuse in numerous ways, and many women utilize several methods throughout the course of the abusive relationship. Initially, women who are confronted with abuse tend to focus on the positive features of the abusive relationships.1 This was the situation for the women in my study. And, as I demonstrated in the previous chapter, the women were shocked by the first violent physical attacks

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