This painfully, mind-bogglingly question has been asked a gazillion times throughout history. And if you’ve done your research, you’ll find a gazillion different responses to it.
“I’m just trying to help!” you might be saying. Okay, yes, your heart might be in the right place and maybe you are asking this question because you are just trying to help (hopefully). Regardless, asking this replayed question of why did she stay? seems to have an answer that varies across the board by everyone who answers it. And still, we get nowhere; or at least move at a snail’s pace to get anywhere. Even with the vast amount of information out there, many still don’t understand why woman stay at all.
Well, by asking why did she stay? you are placing attention on the woman who are still staying in abusive relationships. The only question we should be asking is…
Why did She Leave? How did she do it!
By shifting our minds into provoking this question first, we place attention on the victims who have actually had the strength, the power, the force, the oomph, the something, to leave! And well, just a thought here, isn’t that what we want for woman living with violence? For them to leave?
What separates a Woman who Stays from a Woman who Leaves?
I didn’t have the answer, but was firing with curiosity for one. I had no intention to take a survey either when I approached a group of Domestic Violence Survivors and asked them directly. Their responses were so compelling, that as I started to read through each woman’s emotionally provoking stories, I immediately began to find a common response.
Out of 61 women each gave a powerful story, but for the sake of their privacy this is as much detail that can be divulged:
Why did She Leave?
|Children ( single or multiple daughters & sons)||30|
|Fear of Death||9|
|Simply had enough (for multiple reasons not categorized or unknown reasons.)||8|
|God (faith & religion)||7|
|Other (Rape, family & friends, more)||5|
|Combinations of all above||1|
|Cheated (unfaithful, infidelity from abuser)||1|
Children were considered the most common reason why mother’s left. Their specific reasons ‘why’ changed from person to person, but in every beautiful, empowering 30 responses Children were at the forefront of their strength to leave the abuse. Many continued to say they have never gone back to violence and have found happiness in life again.
Being a child to a mother who lived a life with violence; this spoke to me. In more ways than I can explain. The power to help woman living with violence is in knowing and understanding why & how they will leave, not why they will stay. It’s already known that staying with an abuser isn’t the option.
As a victim, having people just tell you “You need to leave” isn’t helpful in the slightest. You need to know how. And you must have a reason that means more to you then the reason you have for staying. This is different for everyone.
To woman in violence reading this, I hope that you find your reason to leave and eliminate the reasons to stay. And with time, I hope you find the ability to transform that reason into strength and leave.
(Disclaimer: Even if you believe you know how to leave an abuser, seek professional guidance. Leaving is the most dangerous part, because it is the final clutch of the abuser’s control. Do not act irrationally. Find help ♥ Find guidance ♥ Be Safe ♥)