Picture this..............You are introduced to a new group of people by a mutual friend. Within an hour of meeting these people, a couple within the group is having an argument. The male then grabs the female by the arm and pushes her upstairs. She is falling and crying for him to let her go. Everyone else is just standing around, not saying anything. What would you do? Well, I was in that situation and I asked a very open ended question...Is somebody going to stop him or something? Everyone of those people who were with me said "That is none of my business!" Ok, really, none of your business eh! Well, that couple would fight and I would venture to say that he would literally beta her up almost everyday. When I'd talk to her I would ask "why are you staying!" I felt like my hands were tied. It was one of the most frustrating times in my life. I knew she deserved better. I knew she could do better... but she still would stay! What would you do?
In talking to her and reflecting on my experience, I could imagine that there are many reasons why a person in an abusive relationship many not feel free enough to leave. But I've compiled a list of some things that I think may be the cause.
1. Fear – Many abusers threaten to harm themselves, their partners, or the children. I'm sure that would play a part in keeping someone in a relationship that they want to get out of. But after being manipulated into thinking that their family would be harmed, it would literally make them feel like they were "forced" to stay. Where fear is bigger than the realization of needing to protect yourself or children, a victim can feel weakened.
2. Love – Victims are more often in love with the abuser and want the relationships to work. But is it truly Love??? True LOVE like we mentioned in one of the previous posts.....SHOULDN'T HURT!!! If someone makes you feel like you are not who they want to be with, gather yourself and leave them to find that person. Anyone can say "I love you" until they are blue in the face. But baby girl, their actions speak louder than their words. At the end of the day, love should not leave you with black and blue bruises.
3. Economics – People may not have the money or the job skills to become independent enough to make it on their own. A victim might feel they will not make it without the abuser providing for them. Believe it or not, there is some good news. If the victim doesn't have the money or means to move out or leave, there are resources and places a victim can go to get help and begin to build themselves back up.
4. Faith – Sadly some victims believe the abuser will change. Please understand you can not change a person, they have to want it themselves!! A person can say they have or will change. The facts are, they may actually show this alleged change but that may last only for a little while. If this person hasn't made up in their mind or heart they are serious about change, their old ways eventually come back. Don't put all your faith and trust in man....period
5. Self-esteem – Victims often feel like a helpless or not able to make a decision to want to leave. I've seen strong independent women get with the wrong person and their lives change. Their mindsets change. Now you find yourself having to follow "rules" that say that you can't come around family, hangout or even talk to friends. You have been confined to the walls in your home and you do what he says or else. You walk around with your head hanging down. You don't speak up, and you jump at hearing anyone who raises their voice. You have lost yourself. Remember, you can't love anyone more than you love yourself. Don't get to the place when you look in the mirror, you don't even know whose looking at.
6. Children – Many victims believe that it’s better to keep the family together, particularly if the children are not being abused. This can be very damaging to children, they may not be physically abused but mentally it is steering the course of their lives. Do you really want your child growing up thinking it's ok to be abused or abuse others?
Although this is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, domestic violence happens everyday!! Between 600,000 and 6 million women are abused every year. Between 100,000 and 6 million men are abused every year. Women 20-24 years of age have the greatest risk. And even about 2.2 million people have called a domestic violence crisis or hotline seeking advice or assistance. To be honest with you, those numbers make me nauseous when I think about them. Literally! But at the end of the day, you have be able to trust your gut. Trust that intuition that was planted in you. If you feel like you are in a situation that just "doesn't feel right" that feeling is there for a reason. The sad part about all of this is that those numbers may actually be higher if everyone reported it.
At the end of the day, life is too precious to be treated like a punching bag physically, mentally, verbally or financially! Trust your gut. It's ok to put you first...