"You’ve got to go. You’ve got to find a way to get out.”
It’s estimated that almost 25 percent of adult women will experience some form of severe physical violence in their lifetime. It is the leading cause of injury to women, with more than three US women per day murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. Unfortunately, these statistics aren’t surprising – we are too familiar with the reports of abuse that make national headlines, and many of us know women personally who have been victims of abuse by a domestic partner.
What we also know is that it takes great courage to leave an abusive relationship. Some women have been further victimized when choosing to leave – their lives and those of their families are threatened, giving the abuser even more power over the victim. Who doesn’t remember the viral video of NFL player Ray Rice punching his girlfriend into unconsciousness on an elevator, and the Twitter “Why-I-Stayed” hashtag stories that followed explaining the difficulty of leaving an abusive relationship?
It takes temerity and determination to share our stories – even talking about the abuse can be traumatizing. But as more women come forward other women gain strength. The video below is one woman’s story of how she overcame the horror of domestic violence and found the will to go on, even after her abuser violated a restraining order, hacked his way through her personal data to find out where she’d moved to get free of him, and threatened the life of her son. Her message to others? If you are in a relationship that makes you feel unsafe in any way, “you’ve got to go. You’ve got to find a way to get out.”
Sources: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence Statistics.org, The National Domestic Violence Hotline