Why Did She Stay?
“Pues por mensa. It is her fault for not leaving.”
I am sure you have heard this response or something similar about a woman who continues to stay with a man who abuses her in any shape or form. It is often times assumed that a woman who stays with an abuser is doing so because she “does not know her worth.” Before I continue, I will say that I am fully aware that abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of their gender. But for this post I will be using She/Her/Hers pronouns due to a specific TED talk that enlightened my understanding on the topic of abuse and domestic violence.
During an earlier time in my life, I was guilty of also thinking “Why does she stay if he is so bad to her” whenever I would hear rumors going around school. When I would hear news stories about domestic violence my initial thought process was “hmm I wonder why this woman did not leave after the first hit.” Well my friends, it is more complicated than that.
Women do not go out looking for an abusive partner, nobody wants that in a relationship. Abusers know that, which is why they follow patterns that lead to domestic violence to win over their partner. Once the abuser knows a woman feels safe and secure with him, that is when the madness can begin.
Which again, brings up the initial question “Why did/does she stay”
It is incredibly dangerous to leave an abuser... and asking this question is often times code for “it is her fault for staying” as if victims choose to fall in love with abusers.
As previously stated “Over 70% of victims deaths are caused by the abuser after she leaves. The abuser has nothing left to lose which is why murder is the final step. If he does not kill her then long term stalking can occur, denial of financial resources and manipulation of the family court system can be set in place. Which is then used to terrify the victim and her kids who are regularly forced by family court judges to spend unsupervised time with the man who beat their mother (TED Talk, 2013).”
Victims tend to be stereotyped as damaged goods or self destructive individuals and more. But in reality domestic abuse can happen to anyone.
The more we educate ourselves on heart heavy topics similar to this, the more we will be able to get that much closer to putting a STOP to them. The next time you hear a friend or anyone who chooses to tell you about whatever struggles she may be involved in with her romantic partner, don’t make her feel at fault. Instead listen to what she has to say in that moment and possibly redirect her to resources that could further on assist her. If she struggles to speak up it may have been because she felt as if she had no voice. Due to the fact that she had been slowly but surely ripped away from the idea of being valued as an individual. In addition, to having all the other consequences that were previously mentioned play a role on her resistance from getting out of the abuse. The biggest take away I want to make on a topic such as this, is to not ever make a victim feel as if she was the cause of any form of abuse. Be understanding and remind the victim that they are never alone.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255