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Thursday, 7 February 2013

Why Don't They Just Leave?

By: Mistress Malcontent
Content Warning: Discussions of domestic abuse and violence and victim blaming
Originally posted on Slut-Shaming Tumblr

When the issue of domestic violence comes up - the first thing a lot of people ask is “Why don’t they just leave?”

From an outside perspective, it can be confusing and heart-breaking that people stay with abusers. This confusion causes a lot of people to blame those who stay.

However by blaming the people who stay, you’re reinforcing the cycle of domestic violence. Domestic violence is not only physical - it’s psychological. Abusers break down their partners self esteem, self worth and self confidence. They emotionally manipulate, they gaslight, they isolate their partners from people they know and love and control them very insidiously until the abused thinks they either deserve it, or they’re too stupid to leave so what’s the point in trying, or till they can’t see the way at all. It’s often very dangerous to leave an abuser - they often stalk, threaten and harass after someone has left… and when people try to leave and it can result in the abuser killing the abused. 

If you’re sitting there with a blank expression on your face still thinking “But why don’t they just leave?” I urge you to do some research - because actively blaming the victim reinforces the cycle of domestic violence. It means when someone finally does reach out for help - they have their friends and family blaming them - so the cycle is reinforced (that the abused is worthless, stupid, etc) and they stay with the abuser.

By blaming the victim, you’re reinforcing the abuse and keeping them locked in that cycle. Please educate, please share this video and please help create a culture which supports people who are stuck in this cycle.

Center for relationship abuse awareness - Information to educate yourself and others as well as resources for wanting to leave abusive relationships (how to create safety plans etc) and resources for friends and family

Bad Romance - Gas-lighting and Emotional Manipulation - Brilliant article

A very interesting part of the video posted is where Leslie says she wasn’t made to feel stupid like many others, but she did feel like she was the only person who could help this deeply troubled man face his demons. This is another way abusers can gaslight and manipulate - they make it seem like they’re not abusing at all and like the victim has to be the one to save *them* and they often manipulate people into thinking they have to be the one to help them, or save them - all the time whilst they’re causing and inflicting pain upon them. There is a lot of information out there on the patterns and cycles of physical and emotional abuse - We need to shine a lot on it. 

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