Revisiting #WhyIStayed – two years post abuse

by | Rants & Reactions

Facebook likes to remind me of memories. Today it reminded me of this Mic article, “19 #WhyIStayed Tweets That Everyone Needs to See” – If you haven’t seen/read that article make sure you do!

Here are some of the tweets (both current and from a year ago) that really hit home for me.

I still struggle with trying to understand why I stayed. In my situation I felt that I didn’t have a choice. I felt trapped. Trapped for financial reasons. Trapped for legal (child custody) reasons.  Trapped for religious reasons.  I was paralyzed by the decision. I wanted out. I didn’t love him anymore.  (I don’t even remember ever loving him.) I knew that he was abusive, emotionally, psychologically, sexually… but he never hit me.  Until he finally hit me.  Then, then finally I had an excuse to leave. I had a reason that my church and his family would finally understand. Then lawyers told me that it would be a “He Said vs She Said” argument.  So I stayed even longer…

Here is what the creator of #WhyIStayed, Bevery Gooden had to say

There is still so much confusion about “staying”. After #WhyIStayed went viral, subsequent (and necessary) hashtags arose, such as #WhyILeft and #HowIHelped. So many voices were heard that day, and it was beautiful.

But society is not opposed to victims “leaving” or communities “helping”. It is “staying” that is the scandal.

It is staying that society at large condemns. It is staying that breeds victim blaming. It is staying that we struggle to comprehend. We rejoice when survivors leave. We celebrate when communities help. We demoralize victims who stay.

So, I think we must reexamine our reactions to the power of individual choice. I stayed because I knew what was best for me. I stayed because I wanted to make it out alive.

On this one year anniversary of #WhyIStayed, let’s recenter our thoughts on those who have made this impossible choice, and learn how to support them right where they are.

Now that I am 2 years out of the abuse (how I got out is for another story on a different day) but I still ponder my choices and the consequences of my choices.  I also stayed because I felt, like Beverly, I just needed to make it out alive.

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