Women Overcoming Domestic Violence
Zora Neale Hurstons Sweat is a short story about the struggles and hardships in the life of an African American woman living in the south. The short story talked about the treatment of women in these times. Many women of present times can identify with the hardships that Delia encountered in her marriage. The story also deals with adultery in relationships and the dishonesty and heartache it brings to a relationship. The story gives many women of domestic violence the strength and the courage to stand up for themselves and against their husbands.
In these times it was hard for African American women to stand up to their abusive husbands. Getting a divorce was not a very common thing to do. Most women endured the pain and troubles of being physically and mentally abused everyday. A number of women were too poor to get a divorce or even runaway from their husbands. Husbands of these times supported the family and were the only ones who had a job in the family. In Sweat Delia was the supporter of the family she worked every day supporting herself and Sykes. This was not very common in these times. Most women stayed home and watched the children while the men supported the family. With women not working this made it hard for them to get enough money to leave their husbands and support themselves and their children without their husbands.
The story gives women of domestic violence courage and strength to get out of an abusive relationship. In one part of the story Delia is in kitchen and sykes comes in starts verbally abusing her she finally stands up to him she says Looka heah, Sykes, you done gone too fur. Ah been married to you fur fifteen years, and Ah been takin in washin fur fifteen years. Sweat, sweat, sweat! Work sweat, cry and sweat, pray and sweat! She then picks up an iron skillet to defend herself from him. This move takes Sykes by surprise and leaves her alone. This part in the story gives you a sense of encouragement and strength to overcome abuse and stand up for yourself. She was finally tired of him abusing her and hitting her. A number of women of today need that same encouragement to stand up from themselves and put an end to the physical and mental abuse.
Another issue in the short story deals with adultery. Sykes is sleeping behind Delias back with a lady named Bertha. He parades her around town and rubs it in Delia face that he has another woman. This treatment of women happens a lot today. A lot women stay with their husbands even though they know they are cheating on them. A lot of women continue to take the verbal abuse because they feel they cant find anyone else. Delia stayed with Sykes because she had low self esteem, which was caused by Sykes verbal abuse toward her. He would take the covers from her while they were in bed and kick her feet. But Delia was able to deal with it until she got peace.
Zora Neale Hurston revealed the role of women at a time where women had no voice. She provided women another way to fight against abuse. Delias character shows strength and bravery women need to have to endure abuse.