Letters: Families in crisis

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The Independent Culture
Sir: One in four women have experienced some sort of physical assault from their male partner ("Drive to cut violent abuse of women", 1 July). I wonder why a significant proportion of the male population are so intellectually and emotionally inept - what are we doing to our sons?

Whilst this is the main issue which must be addressed, I am also concerned about the word "victim" that has been constantly bandied about, positively encouraging a victim culture amongst women.

Inadequate people mostly become bullies. Unassertive people mostly become volunteers. I did it; I stayed in an abusive marriage for 11 years because I hated arguments and would resort to the most ridiculous appeasements to keep my husband from causing a scene. At the end of the day, I had to toughen up and stand on my own two feet.

The result was a load of wasted time for me in a ghastly marriage, not to mention the emotional upset of our daughter because I didn't leave nine years earlier when I first really wanted to, leaving her to grow up in a nasty, abusive atmosphere.

I was brought up to believe that it wasn't ladylike to argue, people wouldn't like me if I showed displeasure or anger. I even believed that my daughter was better off living with two parents than one. Not to mention the "single parent" stigma.

The message for women (or anyone who is being bullied) should be: don't put up with it, make a noise, don't worry about appearing unfriendly or unaccommodating to the idiot you're with. Being encouraged to feel like a victim under these circumstances does nothing to help the person get on with the rest of their lives, determined to never make the same mistake again.

JENNIFER PHIPPS

South Ruislip, Middlesex

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