This week there was an article in my local newspaper. A woman had been struck twice while running along inner state 10, just out of New Orleans. First thoughts: she must have been nuts. After reading further, eyewitnesses state that the car that the woman was in had been pulled over so that the woman's boyfriend could better beat her. Beating your girlfriend while driving can cause unsafe driving conditions, and we wouldn't want him distracted now, would we? Somehow she was able to get out of the car and escape the fists of her boyfriend. Unfortunately, she was hit by the cars she was trying to flag down.
What led her to this? How could someone be so pathetic as to find herself here? Why not just walk away? When he first started hitting, you should have walked out of that door? What could he possibly have that you needed? There are so many shelters dedicated to helping victims of abuse, why not go there?
Because there answer just isn't that simple.
Abusive boyfriends, husbands, wives, girlfriends don't start out beating the crap out of there significant other. In all truth, the beginning of many, not all, abusive relationships are heaven sent. You are their perfection, placed on a pedestal, floating on a dream of worship from this person, who in every way, shape, or form, is perfect. Life couldn't be any better.
Then there is something that happened at work, change in lifestyle, a big promotion. Still, the abuse doesnt' come in the shape of a fist. It's words. Small words like "You're lucky to have me, because no one would want your fat ass now." "I don't know why you want to hang out with those people, they are always talking about you." "God, you're so pathetic. Stop crying. Even your family can't stand having you around." "Who is going to love you like you are?" And the list goes on and on and on. It's subtle, the demoralization of your self confidence. It's like a wisp of smoke slipping through the crack of your bedroom door. Harmless...undetected while your living room blazes out of control. This stage is when you have become isolated. You have been slowly picked away at by a pirhanha nipping on this, tearing on that, until you honestly feel you have no one, no where, except the abuser.
THEN they start hitting you. Or not. Don't kid yourself into believing that emotional abuse isn't just as destructive.
I was lucky. Even though I honestly believed that my family thought I was nothing but a useless, pregnant, burden, my dad, my amazingly roaring bull of a dad, rescued me. I was lucky. Sometimes you can be pulled out of a burning building, sometimes you can run out, and sometimes you can be consumed.
Just leave him already.
Wish it could be that easy.
The woman was killed; struck by two cars she was desperately trying to flag down. The boyfriend was arrested: charged with domestic abuse and manslaughter.