Yesterday I was watching a Law and Order: SVU marathon—not much of a surprise because I do this quite often. One of the episodes, Crushed (season 10, episode 20), was about a girl who, while at school, fell down a flight of stairs after finding out that a sexual photo of herself had been texted to everyone at her school. At the hospital it is found that she has old bruises on her head and signs that some of her bones had been broken at one point, which indicates that she is being physically abused on almost a daily basis. What’s amazing is that this girl doesn’t want to tell the police who it is that has been hurting her even if it means that she will continuously be beaten and humiliated.
Victims will often protect their abusers especially if they’re a loved one, boyfriend or girlfriend. People often ask “why?” because they don’t understand how someone could remain in a relationship in which they’re abused. This is actually a common occurrence and there are many reasons for it happening. One primary reason that someone will stay with their abuser is because they think their abuser loves them and because they said “sorry” that they’ll never do it again.
Another reason for staying with an abuser is because they have nowhere else to go. They’ve relied on this abuser, may have children with this abuser and don’t know how they would survive without them. Often the victim’s abuser is also controlling them in a sense that they make it so their victim is financially dependent, such as in the movie Enough starring Jennifer Lopez where when she does try to get out, she has no money because her abusive husband has cut her off completely. Abusers are oftentimes also master manipulators that convince their victims that even if they tried to run away or get out of the relationships that no one would help them and that all they had was the person who’s abusing them. Or perhaps they’re simply afraid of what their abuser may do to them if they try to get out of the relationship or try to run away from it. The fact of the matter is there are many reasons why someone stays with their abuser, but there also many ways to get out.
You may think that you’re alone in all of this, but you’re not. You’re not alone. Even if your abuser tries to cut you off from all of your family and friends, they will still be there for you. Get together with someone and tell them what’s going on. Even if you’re not ready to get out of the relationship at least you’ll know that you have people to fall back on, that are willing to help you get out when you’re ready. It’s better to have people know what’s going on so that they can help you.
If you feel as if you are in an immediate danger, make sure to call 9-1-1. They will help you to get out of the relationship and into a place where you (and your children, if you have them) can be safe. They will be able to get you a restraining order against your abuser and they will arrest them if you press charges against them for abusing you. Authorities can and will help you.
Talk to Someone:
Again, talking to friends, family and even co-workers about what’s going on is one way to make sure that you have assistance in handling the situation; however, sometimes you may not feel comfortable telling those closest to you. Another possibility is for you to go see a counselor. If you are being abused and you aren’t sure what to do a therapist will be able to help you to get the aid you need. They will also be able to help you to move past the abuse and help you cope with everything that has happened to you.
These are especially important if you have children because it could save their lives. If you need to get out fast, you need to have a safety plan in place. Make sure your friends and family know your plan in case you need a place to stay or need help to get out. You should have a bag packed and hidden where your abuser won’t find it. You should have money stored away in case your abuser tries to cut off your income. The main priority of the safety plan is to get yourself and your children somewhere safe.
The most important lesson is not to allow the abuse to go on. You are better than that and you deserve better than that. You are stronger than you think and you can overcome it. Get help and get out of the relationship as quickly as possible.
Stay safe readers!
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
National Domestic Violence Website: http://www.thehotline.org/
Línea de Emergencia Nacional para Violencia Doméstica: 1-800-799-7233
Asian multilingual 24-hour crisis hotline: (408) 975-2739
How would you help someone you know to get out of an abusive relationship?Photo Credit: Katherine Evans
Posted on August 12, 2012 by Felicia