I'm sure that once upon a time, I looked down on women who were in abusive relationships and found them weak. And I didn't tell my closest friends and family for years about what happened — most of them not until after he left me to move in with another woman four years into our marriage. People are often baffled by how beautiful, intelligent women fall in love with (and even marry) abusers. It begins with a sarcastic putdown, and is followed up quickly by an apology.Memories of victimization may be overwhelming, and return again and again, unbidden, to torture the victim long after actual victimization has passed.Victimization removes any illusion of safety that victims might have previously enjoyed."Please don't tell me it's like that, Kristin," he said quietly. It didn't start like this when I met my live-in boyfriend six years earlier. I was already in love with him by the first time he called me a worthless piece of s*** in an alcohol-infused fury; I was in shock.I thought about leaving him that night, but I was frozen with indecision. And my mind had started to believe what he said about me.Self esteem and self-worth may have been damaged as well.Physical assaults may also have resulted in disfigurement or lingering chronic pain.You may know someone who has been abused, and you can't understand why she doesn't leave. Perhaps she has kids and doesn't know how to provide for them on her own. She may be so ashamed that no one knows the extent of the abuse and suffers in silence. He may be someone powerful or well-liked in the community, and she is afraid no one would believe her. Domestic violence is a variety of abuse that occurs within the home, between family members or couples.The typical image of domestic violence involves an adult male perpetrator and a female victim, often his wife or girlfriend.