FAQ ABOUT ABUSE
“WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?”
“YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER THAN TO STAY WITH HIM.”
“WHY AREN’T YOU OVER IT YET?”
All too often intimate partner violence survivors hear these words from friends and family. Have you ever said this to a loved one? Women’s Center & Shelter (WC&S) is striving to break this cycle of victim blaming. Here at WC&S we take a different approach. Instead of asking, “What’s wrong with you?” our staff asks, “What happened to you?”
“WHY DOESN’T SHE JUST LEAVE?”
This is a common question our staff and clients hear. If you hear someone say this, will you have the courage to counter with, “Why does he abuse?”< BUT REALLY, WHY DOESN’T SHE JUST LEAVE?
What we really cannot stand about this question is the implication that “just leaving” is a simple thing. In reality, it is the most dangerous time a victim of abuse faces. It is when most domestic violence fatalities occur.
Have you ever caught yourself asking a loved one this question? Next time, don’t ask him or her to just leave. Instead, provide our hotline phone number (412-687-8005) so that she will have a safety plan to protect her when she does leave. If she does not want to call, you can call and learn from our hotline advocates how best to support her in this process.
Why *really* doesn’t she leave? There are many reasons:
- She loves him.
- She can’t afford to live on her own.
- She doesn’t want her kids to be separated from their father.
- She’s only known abusive relationships her whole life.
- She does not know where to get help.
- She believes him when he says it won’t happen again.
- Family encourages her to stay overtly, or by minimizing his actions and cleaning up his mess.
- For example, a client recently said that in the early years of their relationship, her husband would not physically abuse her, but he would damage the belongings she purchased, such as household furniture. When he broke the new dining room set she had purchased, her mother-in-law took her shopping for a new set, downplaying the abuse. Her abuser emotionally manipulated her by saying she was too materialistic. Meanwhile, she was financially controlled by continuously losing items she had spent her salary on.
This is only a tiny snapshot of the multitude of reasons women stay in abusive relationships. They are a complex set of interconnecting factors ranging from social, financial, moral, and safety concerns. For every individual, they are unique.
SUPPORT FOR WHEN SHE LEAVES – CREATING SANCTUARY
Women’s Center is focused on creating a sanctuary for survivors when they make the decision to leave. Since 2008, we have been actively practicing the Sanctuary Model, which involves taking a trauma informed approach to working with victims of intimate partner violence. The focus of Sanctuary is to provide services and to engage in activities that meet the unique physical and emotional needs of the women and children recovering from the damaging effects of interpersonal trauma – because most victims of intimate partner violence suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
We incorporate SELF into everything that we do. SELF stands for Safety, Emotional Intelligence, Loss, and Future. When the women and children leave WC&S we want them to take with them this new way of thinking. With the tools and skills that we practice on a daily basis, we hope that our clients will be able to go and live their lives in a healthier, safer and more emotionally satisfying way – free from violence
After reading, do you understand how to be supportive to a friend in an abusive relationship? What are some ways that you can help a friend move forward?
I have allways been abused.Now that I am older and have chances to leave I comeback. I do not want to depend on anyone for help.I am afraid of everything and everybody.But this is the life I have choosen. Hard …..yes it is hard but at least it is not the “UNKNOWN”.I am to old to change now.So please you that are younger ,don’t let anyone tell you how stupid you are – or hand over a check if you have money coming in. That is the beginning of the end of yourself as you know her.
Brenda- thank you so much for sharing. I appreciate your comments. But- are we ever too old to change? 412-687-8005
Brenda, you are never too old to learn something new. On path of learning there will be times when you will need some one to hold you up when your feeling vulnerable and can’t do it alone. Allow us at the Women’s Center help you take the first step, please call 412-687-8005.
I have been to this Shelter. The people who work there are wonderful.
It is me. what it is i dont know. if I did I would fix it.
I am sorry to bother you .was having a down day.
But thanks so much!
Brenda, the feelings you are expressing are normal. Please don’t be afraid to reach out again for help, whether on our discussion board http://www.wcspittsburgh.org/discuss or by calling the hotline. 412-687-8005. Thank you for sharing how difficult change can be.
I think this blog is great for those to afraid or ashamed to speak up about their abuse. It is just another great component that helps in continuing to work towards ending intimate partner violence or any form of domestic violence. It also helps to understand more about the sanctuary model and how to apply to daily activities.
Has anyone here made a difficult change when they were older? What words of encouragement can you give to Brenda?
Brenda change is scary at any age; think of a new baby taking her first steps, sure she’s afraid she’ll fall down–but the prize is in how we all learn to get back up. I will continue to think about you and send positive thoughts your way.
I Left AZ and came to Pittsburgh found myself in the most abusive and manipulitive relationship I’ve ever experienced. She has wipped me clean!! Maxed out my credits cards, and left me high and dry. I Was forced out on the streets and my 15 year old had to sleep in my car. I was rushed into moving into an apartment I can bearly affordto avoid the streets and now 6 months later I lay here anxiety ridden in fear I will loose it all cuz I am alone and broke… and spiraling down the drain… I don’t know anyone here… I have no resources. I need help!!
Please call our hotline 412-687-8005! Our hotline advocates will be able to talk to you about your situation, and direct you towards resources for help, as well as safety plan. Thank you for reaching out.
pati mccomb says
I am also in a bad situation, not being abused phsically but in evert other way posible. My husband threatened to pee on me last night if I didnt do what he wanted. I dont know if that is illeagal or not, but I am from somewhere else and moved up here a few years ago, and my life is a nightmare. I have no family here and am thinking about sucude to escape. No other way out.
Pati thanks for commenting. Please call our hotline right away and they can talk to you about your situation and options! 412-687-8005 x 1 thanks for having the courage to ask for help- it is available! Please don’t lose hope!
i have never been peed on/yet.But do call the number this place has given you! I know these women and there are awesome!