Thursday, May 6, 2010

Why Doesn't She Just Leave?

The murder of Yeardley Love, the senior at the University of Virginia who was killed by her boyfriend this week, has sparked a lot of debate across the country. So many people are wondering why she just didn't leave him if he had a history of alcoholism and being abusive (to her and others). The blame has been placed on the roommate, her friends, his friends, the school, etc. when maybe the blame needs to be placed on all of us. As a society, why aren't we teaching people how to interact with each other without having to have alcohol or having to use violence? Why aren't we offering courses in junior highs and high schools about respect, love, and conflict resolution? Why aren't we telling children that the best way to deal with life is NOT by having a drink, popping a pill, or screaming at somebody?

I was in an extremely violent relationship my Senior year in high school. I have been beaten with a baseball bat. I have been pushed out of a moving car without my shoes (so that it would be harder for me to run). I have stared down the end of a shotgun while somebody yelled at me "if you didn't act like such a slut then I wouldn't have to do this stuff". He saw me talking to a boy that I had know since kindergarten one day after school. That was what brought on the shotgun attack. He never hit me in the face (the seasoned abuse pros NEVER hit in the face), but my arms and legs were usually covered with bruises the size of grapefruits.

It doesn't start out as physical abuse. If you went out on a first date with a guy who walked you to the door and then punched you in the face, you would run as fast as you could and you would call the cops. It just isn't that simple. It's a slow process where they start to wear you down to the point that you really do believe them when they start telling you that you are a fat slut that nobody but them could possibly love. They get inside your head and you know when they tell you that if you ever leave then they will hunt you down and kill you ... they will. People would tell me all the time to "just break up with him". It wasn't that easy. I was brainwashed into believing that it was my fault and if I just wouldn't do the things that made him angry then we would be happy again. The victim just can't see it ... until one day they either have enough of it and realize that they deserve better and walk out (still living in fear that he will find them) or they stay and they endure it (especially if they have children). A protective order is just a piece of paper and if she doesn't have a major support system then it seems impossible to function without him. That is why I honestly believe that any woman who kills an abusive husband should be given a minimal sentence ... sometimes it is the only way out.

It's also a vicious cycle. My ex's father treated his mother the same way that my ex treated me. When you grow up (both boys and girls) believing that a woman is a servant to the man and that the man has the right to abuse her, then that is all that you know. We have to break the cycle. WE HAVE TO !!!


  1. I was in a heinously abusive marriage for 15 yrs, and after I left I kept hearing "what took you so long?" Well, like you said, that's the way I thought marriage was supposed to be. That everything was my fault made sense to me. In addition to the fact that he would tell me in horrendous detail what he would do to me if I ever tried to leave.

    I broke the cycle. Now my two daughters and I are in healthy, loving relationships.

  2. I dated a guy years ago whose dad used to abuse his mom. She had suffered a stroke. My guess was it was from one of the times he was beating her head into the floor. Funny thing about it was my boyfriend never told me about the abuse. HIS MOM DID. The husband's brother was also an abuser. I believe the mom was trying to warn me. There were a few times when he had too much to drink (or drugs?) and he scared the crap out of me. Glad to have gotten away from that scene. I can totally see how it would be hard to make that break sometimes, though.