IN HONOR OF NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MONTH
Why Doesn’t She Leave Him
I wish a had a penny for the number of times I hear the statement, “Why doesn’t she just leave”. Why aren’t we asking the questions, “Why does he continue to abuse her and why does he believe its ok?” I think so often in the case of our loved ones, we really do not care why; we simply want them out of those unhealthy relationships. I heard Janeen McGee, Executive Director of RAVEN (Rape and Violence End Now) ask a group the questions “Why does he continue to abuse her and why does he believe its ok?” The answers were priceless! Most of the members in the group admitted they never thought about it that way and I can honestly say as an advocate, I used to have those same thoughts with some victims. I even asked myself that question because I am a survivor. It seemed easier to live on that side of judgment because it is hard to understand how someone that loved you would knowingly hurt you. However as the saying goes, “When you know better, you do better”. After I heard Janeen’s questions, I have made a choice to help others understand how judging the victim is not the answer. It is important to know victims are doing what they believe will keep them safe. Although we may not always agree, they are the experts in their lives. If we really want to help them out of those abusive relationships and EmpowHer, it must happen absent of JUDGMENT! Remember domestic violence is about power and control so let us not change places with the abuser by trying to control the situation.
The next time you witness a victim in an abusive relationship, try not to judge why she is there or why she did not leave. Remember she needs your support because the abuser has convinced her no one cares! Be prepared to listen without judgment and share with her that she doesn’t have to suffer in silence. Help is only a phone call away! Remember, if you or someone you know is a victim of abuse, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or 911.