Longform

No Way to Treat a Lady: Victims Get Busted, Too

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Therapists say their role isn't to patch up or destroy bad marriages--but once a couple finds themselves in the system, a great deal of none-too-subtle pressure to "re-examine the relationship" is exerted on both sides, bringing additional strain on what may already be a highly volatile situation. Yet many victims choose to stand by their men, out of emotional need, financial necessity or a dozen other reasons. One recent study of male batterers in treatment programs found that at the time they started treatment, half of them were still living with the women they'd abused, a figure that declined to forty percent a year later.

Ironically, the treatment requirement may have contributed to the victims' decision to stay. Many of the women believed that it was "very unlikely" that their men would assault them again while they were in treatment, and a whopping 94 percent believed that their guy would complete the course, despite the high dropout rate of such programs.

Even if Mark's conversion isn't as profound as she hopes, Krystal plans to stay with him. "We have such a strong spiritual connection that even when the going gets tough, the tough don't get going," she says. "When there's one or two bad things and the rest are absolutely beautiful, you don't give up.

"We've gone through a buttload of stuff. He loves me. He buys me whatever I want, whatever I think I need or don't need. We do a lot for each other. There are just a few things that make us absolutely crazy."

--Prendergast

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Alan Prendergast has been writing for Westword for over thirty years. He teaches journalism at Colorado College; his stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.
Contact: Alan Prendergast