#WhyIStayed and #WhyTheyStayed are posts about domestic violence and the many reasons we tell ourselves not to leave abusive partners.
This is about taking back power and agency in moments of abuse.
- Because you don’t abandon someone you love – especially when they are sick.
- Because I said I would never leave him.
- Because no one would have believed he was physically/ emotionally/ mentally abusive – all of our friends loved him.
- Because I didn’t want to acknowledge defeat and move back home with my mother after he drained me financially.
- Because it wasn’t abuse – it was “dominance”.
- Because it’s not abuse if s/he doesn’t hit you.
- Because he told me no one else would want me.
- Because it wasn’t his fault he didn’t find me attractive enough to have sex with me for more than a year.
- Because I didn’t want to be right… because that would mean I had put my trust in yet another person who betrayed it.
- Because it was “all in my head”.
- Because my mother was abused and I never got to see models of a “healthy” relationship
- Because my childhood taught me that violence in relationships was normal.
Why talk about #WhyIStayed?
Because it’s EMPOWERING to know it was a choice!
In knowing I CHOSE to stay – and recognizing the logic that kept me there in an unhealthy relationship – it helps me (and others) to see it if there is ever a next time. I choose to focus on MYSELF – the only thing I CAN change. I’m not excusing, apologizing, or even blaming – I’m taking OWNERSHIP so I can move on and PREVENT it from ever happening again.
In order to give their stories a voice, I have also anonymously posted the reasons #whytheystayed.
What can YOU do for someone choosing to stay?
Tell them you love them. Tell them their worth it. Tell them they have other options. Most of all: Don’t abandon THEM.
As Jacq said,
“The best way to help is to stand in witness. Let the survivor know they have worth & that you respect their choices. Don’t vent your rage at their partner (they see plenty of rage). Don’t tell them what to do (their abuser is doing that plenty). Be present. Be respectful. And don’t try & fix it. It’s not yours to fix. The biggest gift you can give a survivor is respect & an overt recognition of their autonomy.”
Lastly, STOP and remember that it isn’t about YOU. Bearing witness and choosing to love is DOING something – and may be the hardest thing you ever do.
Thank you to all of my brothers, sisters, and fellow fabulous creatures that revealed their true strength and courage by being vulnerable and showed solidarity for survivors today by sharing the reasons #WhyIStayed.
May our conversations bring awareness and rid us of the SHAME that prevents us from speaking our truths… so that we may walk away with heads held high.
Today and every day, let us show solidarity for survivors of intimate partner violence. <3