Stockholm syndrome: When you sympathise with your batterer

leilah ft
Singer Leilah Kayondo took to Facebook in January after her lover SK Mbuga had allegedly battered her. He was arrested but turned up on his side in court, leading to the judge to dismiss the case. Many have called this a classic case of Stockholm Syndrome.

The most frequently asked question concerning a battering situation is, why does the victim stay? Some even sympathise with their batterer, in a situation that has come to be known as the Stockholm Syndrome. Below are major reasons why women stay with their batterers.

Blinded by love: In some cases, the victim loves the batterer and decides to brave his battering sessions.

Fear: The victim fears the batterer, believing the batterer to be almost “godlike.” Often threats are made against the victim, for example, the batterer will kill the victim if the beatings are reported to anyone. Police, in the victim’s eyes, offer no long-term.

Money matters: The victim may be economically dependent on the batterer and, not having a marketable job skill, the victim has no realistic alternative to the batterer’s financial support.

Status in society: Society expects people, especially public figures to be in good relationships, so to keep the “dignity” that comes with being a married woman, they stay with the batterer. Religious and cultural beliefs also keep women in relationships with batterers, till death do them part.

Some women choose to suffer in silence.
Some women choose to suffer in silence.

For the sake of the children: Often the victims stay in relationships for the sake of the children “needing a father”. Sometimes the batterer frequently threatens to take the children away from the victim if the victim leaves, and the victim believes the batterer.

No trust in the law: Many battered women don’t have trust in the law and police when it comes to reporting battering cases. The batterer could bribe police and mete out a bigger punishment, so they choose to suffer silently, hoping that the battering will one day stop.

Thinking they deserve the beating: Sometimes the victim may rationalise the beatings, believing that they must have “deserved” the “punishment” because they probably did something “wrong.”

Blaming the alcohol: Some batterers only beat their women under the influence of alcohol. Such women blame the actions on the alcohol not the man, “after all he is sweet when sober.” They believe it is an alcohol problem, which they can help their partners overcome.

Apologetic batterers: Some batterers become quite gentle, apologetic, loving, and may promise never to beat the victim again, only that this goes on and on.

Coming from a battering family: The victim may have lived in a home in which one parent beat the other and/or the children and sees violence as an inevitable part of the way in which couples relate.