Honestly, I understand where people are coming from when they publicly beg women to leave abusive partners. SO, so, so many celebrity tweets and posts saying things like, “Do whatever you have to do, call a hotline, go to church, go to a center, but get out of there for you and the kids. Do it for the children.” This actually makes me boil with rage, because we always, ALWAYS assume that it’s a woman’s job to leave. If she doesn’t, she wants it. Or deserved it. Or is sticking around for the money (the power structures in abusive relationships, particularly surrounding money and self-hood, are a separate conversation). It’s like we assume the aggressor is unchangeable or non-human and therefore not responsible. Here’s my message:
If you abuse your partner, leave. Get out. Do whatever you have to do. Call a hotline, go to church, go to a center, but get the fuck out. Get out of here, for the kids. Do it for the children. If you abuse your partner, your neighbors, friends, and family members will not abandon that person. We won’t stand silently and accept your abuse.
I wish people would stop saying things like, “If he ever lays a hand on you, just leave.” News flash: if he ever lays a hand on you, that means you’ve probably been pretty well groomed by him over the past few weeks/months/years. What I WISH we were telling our girls and friends:
If he ever belittles you in public, just leave.
If he ever tries to control the way you look, the things you eat, or they way you feel comfort in your body, just leave.
If he ever tries to control your money, just leave.
If he ever tries to convince you that you don’t need contact with your family, just leave.
If he ever tries to tell you who is and isn’t allowed to be your friend, just leave.
If he spies on you, just leave.
These are all signs of an abusive relationship, before the physical abuse starts. Don’t ignore them. If you observe abusive emotional behavior in a friend’s relationship, let them know you love them and you’re here.
A lot of people don’t understand the power structures behind an abusive relationship that are built sometimes years before physical abuse enters the picture.