Why would you stay in an abusive relationship? Just Leave!
This is the common expression that many men and women hear who are in abusive relationships. From the outside, getting up and walking out the door sounds like an easy task. It is not always as simple as packing your bags and walking away.
One in four women and one in seven men experience some time of domestic violence during their life. According to the White House Archives, “three women are killed every day as a result of domestic violence.” Men and women are less likely to report the abuse if they are in long-term relationships.
When Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulted his wife Janay Palmer, with video footage catching him dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator, many people immediately questioned why she would stay with a man like him. In response, Beverly Gooden, a popular author who had been in an abusive marriage, started using the hashtag #WhyIStayed, to tell people who do not understand domestic abuse just how hard it is to leave.
It makes me sick to my stomach to hear about domestic violence victims, and I too used to ask myself why someone would stay in a violent relationship. After seeing a close friend of mine go through the experience herself, it made me learn that escaping violence is more complicated than the decision to stay or go. The aggressive phone calls, the stalking, the threats, and the constant fear of abuse is a weight she had to carry around with her every day. Even calling the police would not always help because not all abusive partners respect a restraining order.
Domestic abuse is a horrible cycle and most victims will leave their abusive partner seven times before finally breaking off the relationship.
I think the one of the best ways to help women in these relationships is to show them the #WhyIStayed hashtags so they realize that they are not alone and that not all relationships are like theirs. The #WhyIStayed hashtags help build a community of women who can gain the strength and confidence to leave for good.
@bevtgooden I tried to leave the house once after an abusive episode, and he blocked me. He slept in front of the door that entire night. #WhyIStayed
@omgcornflakes Because when he said he was sorry, I trusted that meant it wouldn’t happen again. Again. Again. Again. Again. #WhyIStayed
I really love seeing women transition from tweeting about #WhyIStayed to #WhyILeft.
@CathyAyrton1 #WhyIStayed I was scared #WhyILeft I was scared. Domestic violence is incredibly complex & isolating. 20 years after leaving I still can’t explain…
@erikaartwork1 of the reasons #WhyIStayed he hadn’t hit me yet. #WhyILeft I realized it didn’t have to be physical to be abuse. Loveisrespect.org
Domestic violence is not a choice and is not something to easily escape from. If you or a friend suffers from domestic violence, click this link for resources, hotlines, and even shelter programs for victims.