“He won’t lay a finger on you,
He won’t wreck your pretty face.
But he’ll tell you that you’re worthless
Just to put you in your place.”
Little Big Town, Evangeline
They said you can’t truly understand something until it happens to you.
They were right.
When I was young, I remember hearing a story from a friend about a woman and a man who started fighting in the car in front of my friend. The woman ran from the car and the man followed, brutally beating her and a passerby who tried to help, in front of dozens of people staring in shock.
Certainly after that she would leave him, wouldn’t she?
Only a few months later, we spotted the same woman – with the same man – in line together at a local restaurant. I asked myself for years following why she would stay. She was an idiot. She knew better. It was an obvious choice. He had done it once, and he would do it again. She was an idiot.
Now I understand.
Let me be clear – this man never laid a hand on me. But there are forms of domestic abuse other than physical abuse.
“You’re a stupid bitch”.
“You’re nothing but a slut”.
“You’re a piece of trash, you’re worthless”.
These incidences escalated to the point where one night I sat sobbing in front of a restaurant full of people. A table of girls behind me told me that I was too beautiful to put up with being spoken to like that, and that I should leave.
So why didn’t I leave?
With every low there is a high. With every fight, there is a morning full of tearful apologies and promises that it will never happen again. And for a while, everything is perfect. Until it happens again.
And again, and again, and again.
Not until everything was over for good, and I was left alone, did I realize what I had put up for far too long. It was as if I was brainwashed, broken to the point where I believed it was my fault and that I deserved the abuse. Somehow I believed that if I changed, that if I could only be better for him, it would stop. But it never did.
I truly believe everything happens for a reason. This experience has opened my eyes to millions of women in this world who endure and accept physical and emotional abuse. So often society judges these women so harshly when they choose to stay, but not everyone understands why. Until a woman completely realizes what she is experiencing in her relationship is wrong and is in no way, shape, or form true love, she will stay. And you cannot judge her for that.
You may not know why she stays, but I do.