How often as survivors of domestic abuse do we hear this question?
Well, I have an answer for it in this episode.
Give it a listen and send it to the dummies who ask you this question ;)
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Hey my friends. Another week. This year is just flying by for me I can't believe it's almost April already like where has the time gone. All right, so this week I wanted to talk about this question that I feel like gets asked all the time. I see it pop up online all the time and it's why didn't you just leave? And this is a question that gets asked all of the time of abuse survivors. Well, if it was so bad, why didn't they just leave? And you can always tell that someone has no experience with abuse when they asked this question. It shows an incredible naivety because as you know, and as I know, the answer is incredibly complicated. I saw an Instagram post this week from Dr. Ramani and Dr. Ramani talks a lot about narcissistic abuse and the recovery from that. And her post said that the suggestion that someone just leave an abusive situation is an incredibly privileged point of view. She stated that it does not take into account money, safety, employability and affordability. Especially if a person has children. It doesn't account for the lack of societal power that people have. And this is true. Leaving is incredibly complicated for some people more than others. I personally was incredibly privileged in my leaving. I had somewhere to go where I could stay for free. Somewhere that I could even take my animals. I had a job. I had a car. I didn't have any kids. It was easier for me than it is for some people. That is very true. Some people will have financial and economic hardships when leaving. The other thing that all would be leavers of abusive relationships have to confront is the matter of safety. In a normal relationship, you can just leave, but abusive relationships don't work like that. In an abusive relationship, you end up having to confront your own mortality. I remember packing shit into my car and just being absolutely terrified that he would come home while I was doing that. I knew I had to be out of there before he got home or I would not be leaving. But I had decided on purpose that I wanted out and out was out. Whether that was leaving on my own two feet or in a body bag. Out was out and I was leaving but that's a hard place to come to. And it's something that anyone who leaves an abusive relationship has to confront. And I was lucky there too, because I did make it out. Not everyone does. Some people get killed first. So while I agree with Dr. Ramani's post, I disagree with the way it was presented. Because when you talk in terms of these privileges, it makes it seem that if you don't possess these privileges that you can't leave, and that is fundamentally false. I firmly believe that anyone can leave. It will be a hell of a lot harder for some people than others. Yes. It sucks for everyone. But for some people, it will suck worse. But I believe that even the shittiest life outside of an abusive relationship is still better than a life of being inside one. The life inside one can never get better. It only ever gets worse. And so many times it ends in a brutal death. I remember a few months ago seeing a woman from Texas in the news who had been beheaded by her husband. Any of us could have been her. That is the reality. The life outside of the relationship though, the financial and economic hardships that may be present, those things can get better. Those things can be improved. They can be changed. Inside, you have no chance of a better life. Outside, you at least have a chance and I will always think it is a chance worth taking. You are so much more powerful than you think you are. And I know that people can improve their lives even if it is hard. I know that everything, even the hard things ,get easier when you don't have someone shitting on you all the time. I believe that freedom is worth its cost. But how does one respond to someone who has the naivety or the audacity to ask a question as dumb as why don't they just leave? I like to ask a better question. I think the question we need to be asking is how can we make it easier for people to leave? How can we make it so people don't feel so stuck in these situations? Where are the halfway houses for people to go to while they get back on their feet? Where are the training centers where someone who hasn't worked for 20 years can learn some skills to become employable? Where are the grants to help support those who are starting their new economic lives in these situations? Where is their support? I think those are the questions we should be asking. So I would counter the ridiculous question of why don't they just leave with how can we support people so that they can leave? If you've made it out of an abusive relationship, make sure you take credit for that. That is one of the hardest things to do. It takes an incredible amount of strength and resilience and determination to get out. Make sure you give yourself some goddamn credit for that. I've put some resources on domestic violence in the show notes. And these are worth looking into no matter what your current situation is. The stats are that one in three women will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives. One in three! Chances are someone you know is going to need those resources. So check them out, bookmark them, share them on social media. You never know whose life it will save. Alright, my friends. Until next time, be well