In the News – “Why Women Stay”

This morning, the following story was at the top of the list on Huffington Post’s website. The article speaks to the status of women in the U.S., yet it focuses on individual stories where deviant perpetrators shoulder the blame for violence. By doing so, the article reinforces the myth that abuse is somehow removed from the historical and cultural contexts that sanction violence and increasingly perpetuate oppression in systematic ways throughout social welfare policies and institutions.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/12/why-didnt-you-just-leave_n_5805134.html

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About Carol A. Hand

What matters are not the titles I’ve held or university degrees I earned or the size of a house or bank account. It’s really what I’ve learned from ordinary people like me whom I’ve met along the way. They taught me to live with gratitude and give thanks for each new day.
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8 Responses to In the News – “Why Women Stay”

  1. nicciattfield says:

    This is such a complex situation. I agree that domestic violence is always wrong, but from the outside, as a counsellor, I remember watching women go back. Whatever the glue was, within the abusive relationship, the fact that she would return (sometimes after sustaining horrible injuries) was horrible to watch. I also always feel so terrible for the children, who are either abused too, or risk abuse in the process.

    I remember a post which said “don’t ask me why I stayed, ask me why I left.” I think that may be the real key. What made women strong enough (or feel enough despair) to leave in the end, and how would it be most helpful to prepare women to leave? No person should have to go through violence and the fear and intimidation which comes with that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolahand says:

      Thank for sharing your experiences, Nicci. Your insights are a valuable contribution to the dialogue. As you point out, it’s a complex, multidimensional issue. I can understand women’s reluctance to leave. Poverty and lack of decent affordable housing place lone-parents at risk. And the adversarial judicial and child welfare systems create additional challenges for people whose energy and esteem have been depleted. And then there’s the reality that women who do leave are at even greater risk of violence. Yet, I’m glad that people with your kind heart work to support women during times of crisis.

      One of the questions that is the most important is how can we stop spousal abuse? The adage “hurt people, hurt people” may be true. How de we really create opportunities for people to heal the wounds that lead them to violently assert their power by harming others? How do we rid our policies, institutions, and society of violently oppressive components? Certainly not an easy task in the U.S. – in fact, from my perspective, I see us rapidly moving into an ever-more oppressive police state.

      Your concern for the children who are caught in this situation highlights another crucial issue. I know these challenges could be solved if enough people cared – but I’m not sure what we can do to encourage that to happen.

      Like

  2. ShirleyAnn says:

    I have some scars on my back….made with a burning cigarette. the other scars are internal.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mandy says:

    I read this yesterday, Carol, and it took me a while to gather my thoughts. I know when people question women for not leaving their abusive relationship, they haven’t walked in her shoes. Of course every woman has her own answer. Mine was: I was more afraid to leave than to stay. It took me 8 years (after many many attempts) to leave, but when you share children, he is never gone, so the fear is never gone. Like all forms of abuse, we need to keep it in the spotlight so it’s not quite so easy for abusers to go unnoticed. Thanks for this post, Carol.

    Like

  4. New Zealand is near the top for domestic violence, with 1 out of 3 women experiencing physical or emotional abuse. It’s also quite a poor country, with income inequality nearly as extreme as the US. As the gap grows between rich and poor, the violence against women increases.

    Like

    • carolahand says:

      This is disturbing news! I’m disheartened to hear that he violence of economic policies trickles down to those with the least power in New Zealand as well. It’s a tragic response to increasing corporate-led inequality and oppression.

      Like

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