06 April 2009

Why doesn't she just leave?

My prayers and deepest sympathy are with Angela Harrison today. Her asshole husband killed all five of her children, and then himself, because she said she was leaving him.

This, dear reader, should once and for all clear up the question, "Why doesn't she just leave?"

Because this shit can happen, and many many women are in a situation of being threatened with it. He says, "I'll kill the kids" or "I'll kill your dog" or "I'll kill your parents" or "I'll kill all your friends" or "I'll hunt you down and make you pay for the rest of your days and then I'll kill you".

Ask yourself something next time you wonder why some woman doesn't leave an abusive relationship. How easily could you disappear tomorrow? Without credit cards. I mean disappear. No contact with your friends, your family, your job. With no money. And could you do it with your kids and pets? Or would you have to leave them behind? And if you could get out of there, would it haunt you every day of your life, wondering if he was still looking for you? Wondering if he'd made good on his promises to hurt the people you love?

And after all that, remember that this woman has likely been told over and over that she is no good without the man, that she can't survive without him, that she's worthless, and that she needs a man (especially that man) to survive. Lemme tell ya, someone tells you that over and over, you WILL eventually believe him.

So now, you're broke, alone, scared for your safety, the safety of your friends and family, and you believe that you're worthless. Why leave? Why not just stay and suck it up to protect your family, after all, you're the worthless one, right?

Yeah. Right.

My prayers go out to people in abusive situations. May you find the strength, support and resources to get out. And may you have better luck than Angela Harrison.


Chrystal Ocean said...

Excellent post.

Beijing York said...

You summarized the dangerous dynamics of abusive relationships well.

One thing we rarely get taught as young women is how to recognize a potentially abusive relationship. I caught myself in one but was thankfully aware of the danger signs after seeing a best friend go through hell and back. Possessiveness and jealousy can be easily masked by claims of deep love etc. Next thing you know, you are cut off from family and friends. That isolation makes it easy to escalate the abuse. Suddenly the pedestal is replaced by a cage.

Luna said...

That's just it, Beijing York, there's no education, and then we (as a society) blame the victim.

I, too, was in an abusive relationship. Fortunately, I was young, and still living at home. I got out safely. But it was just like you said, he cut me off from my friends. I remember once, I hid in the garage of my friend's house while he searched her for me in her home. He'd figured out where I was, and was going to drag me out of there. How fucked up is that?

Beijing York said...

I can relate Luna. The guy I was involved with was all nice to my dad and brother but once they went away (and I had the apartment to myself), he moved in and literally took over.

I remember thinking how odd it was that we were never going out with my friends anymore and when he raised his voice with me, one time, I literally felt a shiver down my back. While he was out, I took off and called my only close friend in town. I begged to go over to his place even though it was fairly late at night. He and his friends were so worried about me (which is why he is still some 20 years later a friend despite the thousands of miles between us).

At that point, I made my plans to distance myself. I told him I had to go back to Canada and he still kept keys to my dad's apartment (which really worried me but I had no choice but to leave). He hounded me with long distance phone calls and tons of mail, including gifts. He even looked up my dad and would hound him about my not staying in touch frequently enough.

I was thrilled the day I got a letter from my dad that said he had been arrested for drug possession. I figured that was the end. And his letters to me and my dad did start to trail off to a trickle and he was finally out of our lives.

Ruds said...

Hi Luna,
The Canadian Women’s Foundation has just launched our fifth annual national fundraising campaign to end violence against women. If you have the inclination and the space on your blog, I would very much appreciate your help spreading the word!

Here is a link to our social media press release which will provide you with links to our video, downloadable badge and images.


Thanks so much,
Sarah Ruddle
Director of Communications, The Canadian Women's Foundation