It’s crazy when the thing you love the most is your detriment. It’s awful to live in an environment where the person who promised you love and protection can one day decide to chop you into pieces. It’s even worse to think that the one you think he loves you… can kill you. That’s what domestic violence is made of.
For the past decade, more than 35% of women worldwide have undergone domestic violence precisely by people they are in a relationship with. Personally, I think it’s more than the statistics given because the female victims of violence generally remain silent due to fear. But also coming from a place where women and young girls are beaten, abused and killed every single day, makes me believe that this issue is even worse than the statistic mentioned.
So, throughout the month of October which was declared as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” with the topic, “breaking the silence,” several activities regarding this issue were organized around the city precisely in Mesa community college, the school where I study.
I recently joined an event on campus related to the campaign against women’s domestic violence tagged “Why don’t you just leave?” A group discussion that welcomed several speakers and students who went through sexual abuse, domestic violence, and so much pain. The component of this group discussion was to understand why it is so difficult for the women-victims of abuse to leave from the nightmare in which they are stuck in. It seems easy to just pack your bags and leave when you can’t bear the situation. It seems easy to say to a woman who is a victim of domestic violence.
“Why don’t you just leave him and be free! Just leave him!”
Believe me, after listening to the crazy stories some victims shared with us during the discussion, I realized that it’s really challenging to just run away. Basically most of the reasons stated by the victims about why leaving appears to be a challenge is that:
- The fear of getting killed: leaving an abusive relationship can be life-threatening. In fact, the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is post-break-up. Women are 70 times more likely to be killed in the weeks after leaving their abusive partners than at any other time during the relationship.
- Religious or cultural beliefs and practices may not support divorce or may dictate outdated gender roles and keep the victim trapped in the relationship.
- Dependency: marriage, children, and shared finances are often huge reasons why people in abusive relationships stay in them. This dependency is heightened in relationships where one partner is differently-abled.
- Lack of somewhere else to go. Some victims even slept on the streets.
- Fear of isolation.
- Lack of education.
- Fear of losing custody of any children if they leave or divorce their abusers. Or fear the abuser will hurt, or even kill their children.
Another common reason they also shared is love. Indeed, people stay in abusive relationships because they love their partners and think that things will change. They might also believe their partner’s behavior is due to tough times, or feel as though they can change their partner if they are a better partner themselves.
Let’s take action…
Asking “Why don’t you just leave?” Is no more an action. As human beings, we should help those who are victims of abusive relationships by giving them support and protection in order to help them escape from these relationships. Also, we should increase awareness about whatever the level of love in a relationship if fear, insecurity or danger starts showing up, don’t wait for things to get better just leave because love doesn’t hurt.
Your life depends on it!
Thanks for reading!
#EmpowerHer #Communitycollegeinitiativeprogram #exchangeourworld #Endingviolenceagainstwomen
My name is Ble Adjeli Grace Divine. I am from Cote d’Ivoire, I’m a native french speaker and I am 20 years old. I’m an interpreter-translator with over 4 years of experience and a two-time U.S. scholarship grantee. I study Business Management and Social Media Networking at Mesa Community College in Arizona. Skilled with graphic design, event planning, and social media management, I’m currently working as a Development Intern at Boys Hope Girl Hope in Phoenix, Arizona, an organization providing free schooling, housing, and resources to disfavored kids; where I deal with project planning, data entry, graphic design, and social media marketing. Moreover, passionate about Women Empowerment, my goal is to empower young African women through digital learning, English and entrepreneurship, and also raising awareness about domestic violence and gender equity in order to achieve the SDG no5 in 2030.
Follow Ble Adjeli Grace Divine on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Also read a male and female guide on what to do when sexually harassed.