October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Unfortunately I have personally known several victims of domestic violence. I have witnessed many knock out drag out brawls as a youngster. For some of the abused women, it was a one time incident that led to an immediate dissolution of the relationship. Other women and men I have known stayed in the abusive relationship for what I felt was an eternity under the circumstances. I have also cared for patients that I had to hide under the guise of an alias after being hospitalized after a brutal run in with their abuser. There was one scary incident in particular where a family member leaked the patient’s fake identity to the abuser and then he called to threaten my patient that he was headed to the hospital to finish the job. I had to move the patient and put the security team and police on high alert for the suspect. It was bananas!
I have always tried to figure out why someone would ever chose to stay after being battered repeatedly. Then one evening in September I got my answer from the most unexpected source- Twitter. Something magical happened on the night Janay Rice took to Instagram to defend her husband after he lost his job in the NFL due to the elevator debacle. #WhyIStayed became a trending topic. #WhyIStayed helped me to realize that it is not as easy as packing up your stuff and hitting the road. Abuse can escalate violence quickly when the victim tries to leave. Sometimes the abuser has broken the person down so much that they start to believe that they deserve the abuse. There can be many reasons but I figured it would be best for me to allow the survivors own words to explain the reasons why they stayed.
— jane wells (@janewellsrun) October 23, 2014
— Mandy Webster (@missmandy76) October 23, 2014
— Baltimore Alumnae (@BACDST) October 22, 2014
— Maria L. Gonzalez (@myndhunter0603) October 22, 2014
— jadejd1 (@Jadejds1) October 22, 2014
Full time pay check, didn't believe in divorce, couldn't be lonely, it was only when he drank. #WhyIStayed
— callie (@the_calinator13) October 21, 2014
— Kim S. Hawkins (ツ) (@_kimshawkins) October 21, 2014
— Robin D. Ashe ??? (@VampWriterGRRL) October 21, 2014
— Vicky Ann Stanton (@va_stanton) October 20, 2014
Because you always think it will never happen again, they were REALLY sorry this time #WhyIStayed
— Brittany Smith (@DevilsPartyHost) October 20, 2014
I took vows before God. #WhyIStayed.
When he abused me, he broke the vows. #WhyILeft.
Vows are broken by #Abuse
— Maxine Browne (@MaxineBrowne) October 19, 2014
#WhyIStayed he told me that he'd kill me if i left. not immediately, but five years later, when i had a husband and kids. he'd kill us all.
— galchiana (@galchiana) October 19, 2014
#WhyIStayed "My partner said she would kidnap the children and disappear if I left her."
— WCA Boise (@WCA_Boise) October 19, 2014
Because the fear of what you don't know is greater than the fear you do know. #WhyIStayed
— deb nava (@deborahmichael) October 18, 2014
I stayed because my mind was so broken that I could no longer function independently. #WhyIStayed
— Sidhlairiel (@ChandraNalaar38) October 17, 2014
— Alexia Ocean (@alexiaocean) October 17, 2014
— Andrea Feaster (@a_feaster) October 17, 2014
#WhyIStayed i thought the mindgames would end. i thought the mental abuse would stop. i thought if i loved her enough she'd forget the pain.
— Tony Purvis (@tonypvrvis) October 16, 2014
— Neen (@DenineL) October 16, 2014
I thought he would change if I did what he wanted me too #WhyIStayed
— Nicole Red (@IamNicoleRed) October 16, 2014
"I fear my children will blame me and resent me if I move them out of the home with their father." #WhyIStayed
— WCA Boise (@WCA_Boise) October 16, 2014
Contrary to popular belief, domestic violence is not just an issue that affects women. It is one that affects men and women worldwide. It’s a sad epidemic. This thread made me shift my thinking from why do people stay in abusive relationships to how can I help someone in an abusive relationship? What is one thing I could do to support someone trying to leave?
For starters, I would definitely let the victim know that you are not alone. There are people who are willing to help you escape the violence. There are various organizations that help victims leave these types of situations. Contact the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or head to their website to identify resources in your area. You are worthy of love that doesn’t hurt physically, mentally, or emotionally.