why she stays?

 

So why did she marry him, move in, have kids? Why??? When the feel of his fist was still fresh on her face.

It’s always the first question but it’s worse when there’s money involved, the implication being she stays for that, for the lifestyle. Right. The lifestyle…

And the answers… they’re all over social media right now, but they’re not new. The sad truth is they’ll still be valid long after we stop listening.

She stays because she’s afraid, isolated, shamed. Because it’s her home. Because she’s given away her power, been told she’s stupid and worthless one too many times. Because she’s been told her whole life she’s stupid and worthless. Because she believes she’s stupid and worthless. Because there are kids and pets and threats… to harm them or take them away.

Because there are threats. Always threats.

Because she is deflated, broken, and because he threatens suicide if she leaves. Always threats. Because to leave is failure; because she came from a broken home and doesn’t want her kids to come from the same place. Because she will be seen as pathetic for having stayed so long so it’s better to stay even longer and not let anyone know. Because people blame the victim. Because people blame the victim… Because people blame.

She stays because she’s fought this fight ten thousand times and hasn’t got the strength it takes to fight back anymore much less start a new life, no matter how right and good and sensible she knows that would be.

She stays because she doesn’t even know she’s being abused. It started small. It was only emotional. He has a temper but he loves me, the kids, he always says he’s sorry. Because this time is the last time. Because this black eye is the last black eye, he said so. He promised. He cried, he begged. He’s really just a teddy bear underneath… he needs her, he said. And she needs to be needed. What else does she have?

She stays because he is her family. Because of For Better or Worse. Because even though she looks fine and manages to function, she is so messed up emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically, she can’t even see straight. She stays because it’s easier at this stage to hope… so she hopes he will be in a good mood today and when he isn’t… it’s too late again.

She stays because she doesn’t want to be seen as weak, or overly dramatic. No bones broken, just a little scuffle. He’s got a temper. I mentioned that, right, the temper?

She stays because the most dangerous thing she can do is leave. It’s bad enough under normal circumstances but if the guy has money, that danger is multiplied. He can have her watched, followed, hurt or worse. And he almost always does.

And where is she supposed to go? Family? Friends? He’ll find her. A hotel isn’t safe. So you tell me… where does she go?? In this weakened state. Where?

That she leaves at all is extraordinary. It takes monumental courage.

And the women that manage it should be applauded and protected. They aren’t just ‘leaving’, they’re fighting for their lives. I see them at the women’s shelter where I volunteer. They land on the doorstep not because it’s an easy fix but because, for a short time at least, they’ll be safe. The windows are bullet proof; there are cameras at the door, you have to be buzzed in. The police are on speed dial.

Sadly there are never enough beds, never enough shelters. The problem of abuse is only getting worse. Sometimes women are sent out of town, wherever a place can be found. Imagine leaving your home with nothing, your abuser’s voice still ringing in your head, screaming that if you leave he’ll kill you or someone or something you love, and it will be your fault he says. If you leave, he won’t be accountable for what he does. It will be your fault.

What now?

The shelters are a place to breathe and think and get some help with what to do next. They’re a place that reminds women they aren’t alone, that their problem isn’t unique to them.

Why does she stay?

Because until she finds the strength to do anything else, it’s all she can do.

And even if she finally musters the courage to leave, she may very well go back at some point. For all the same reasons.

She wants things to be better. She really does. That’s part of the problem.

Factor in a situation where names and faces, celebrity and corporations and big, big money are involved, and you can be sure there are those that will do their best to convince her staying is to her advantage, in order that those others save face. And money.

Her face for theirs.
**

Why does she stay?

Here’s a better question: why does HE stay?

Black_eye_2Black_eye_2

Black_eye_2

 

 

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For further information and assistance, including a list of shelters in Ontario, and across Canada:

OAITH

Public Health Agency of Canada

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10 thoughts on “why she stays?

  1. He stays because it builds his self-image as the man in control, even if he has to kill her to control her. This is the image of masculinity we have now…sadly for some men. They fear that if she escapes his control, he will be seen as emasculated, from here their anger and violence to retain and control her…In my story, my own personal development and learning began to threaten him, so he escalated the pressure on me to submit to his demands, even using violence. My own story about my shame of being so humiliated in public is here: http://ln.is/bit.ly/AK5zM

    1. Nora, thank you for this. Every story gives someone courage, makes someone feel less ‘wrong’, less alone. The hope is this conversational flame gets bigger and bigger, rather than eventually going out. The strength of women is amazing. Now to use it wisely…

      I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through and I thank you for sharing it so eloquently. I’m glad you’re well.

      1. well, you are in life to learn, and some lessons are more costly than others…recovering myself after abuse was one terrifying lesson I’m glad I survived to.
        I’m still sad because nobody told me how to prevent or manage abuse, given the fact that in my childhood home there was a lot of it…I left to get married to my abuser, already with two broken ribs,
        There was not so much information, and everybody played blind to abusive behaviors in their own homes…it was just a fact of life. Now, I’m glad we cal talk about it, teach our daughters how to recognize it, even I have coaching clients who need to hear abuse is unacceptable. So, there is progress!
        Many thanks, Carin for having this page…

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