Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Why Stay and More

In light of the recent events in the NFL in regards to the Ray and Janay Rice situation, the hashtag #WhyIStayed has been trending on twitter.  Across the world victims and/or survivors of emotionally and physically abusive relationships were using the hashtag to share their stories.

It's easy for an onlooker not in such a situation to question why any woman or man would stay in such a relationship. Why not just leave?  If only it was that simple, yet situations involving abuse rarely are.

Some speculating she must have stayed because of money, or not wanting to give up the lifestyle of being married to a professional athlete.  Others speculated she may be too scared to leave.  And some just feel she loves the guy and doesn't want to be apart from him.  Honestly people can assume things, they can speculate on why she or any woman would stay with a man who knocked her out and then dragged her body from the elevator not even trying to help or get help for her. 

Truth is there are many reasons why victims of abuse don't leave.....fear, children, lack of money or resources, no where to go, little education or work experience, don't have a good paying job, they don't think they are being abused, they love their partners/their partners love them, don't want to give up lifestyle they are accustomed to, mental brainwashing, threats to those they love including pets, many externalize or rationalize the reasons for their abuser's behavior, lack of money or resources, too few shelters to go to, lack of social support, isolated, afraid of being alone, avoid provoking more violence, not enough help of protection from justice system. And there are many other reasons as well.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence an abused woman is 75 percent more likely to be murdered when she tries to flee or has fled than when she stays. Let that sink in.

It's sad to think that any one could be subjected to abuse in their life.  Especially from very people they love and are suppose to love them?  There should be no abuse period....no child abuse, no animal abuse and no abuse of woman or man period in this world.  We have to start treating abuse as the crime it is. 

The worst part is often there are no easy or quick solutions.  When a victim is isolated with no social support, financial means, job, safe place to go; living with threats to their children, pets or life, etc., it becomes very hard for them to imagine escaping the situation.  Where to turn for help becomes both the problem and question. In general the victims can feel they have a lot to lose by seeking help. Not to mention many shelters are full or have long waiting lists.

So then what is the answer?  How do the people who need help get it?  How can others assist them in getting the help?  And what should the punishment for abusers be?  How do we get people to stop making excuses, stop justifying abusers, stop blaming victims and instead see abuse for what it really is?  How do we get defense lawyers to stop attacking the victims of abuse and tearing apart their character? (this might be the most horrible aspect of the justice system when it comes to abuse or assaults....insinuating the victims some how ask for it is absurd and vile)

We as a society have to stand up for the victims, even if they feel too scared to stand up for themselves.  We cannot let the Ray Rice's of the world get away with this kind of behavior, we have to see to it that they do receive a substantial punishment along with much needed mental health help.  Justice needs to include some type of mandatory long term counseling issued as well.  The legal system has to take abuse more serious, and strictly reenforce restraining orders.  More money has to be raised to help the organizations, shelters and programs who help victims of abuse, so that hopefully more victims of abuse will have the opportunity to leave their abusive situations.  That's the key finding the money to put into not only helping the victims but rehabilitating the abusers.

Here is information and signs of both physical and emotional abuse.  Don't be afraid to open up to a trust friend, family member, clergy, counselor,etc..  And to anyone in a current abusive situation, know this....you are perfect the way you are, you did nothing wrong, no matter how bad your situation may feel at the moment there is a better life awaiting you and help is out there.  Here is a link on how to seek help.

Please if you or someone you know whether woman, man, child or even animal is experiencing any form of abuse seek help.  Don't be afraid to speak up. We all need to stand up and stop abuse, enough is enough!

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