October is Domestic Violence Prevention month.
Many say they are tired of hearing about it. Why doesn’t she just leave?
They don’t ask why he continues to be insane.
Why does he kick the woman carrying his child to the ground?
Why he hates someone who is devoted to his happiness?
Why he refuses to take responsibility for the smallest of his behaviors?
Why churches continue to look the other way?
Or worse, tell her it’s her God given duty to take it?
Unless someone has been there, they can’t understand.
It doesn’t start out this way.
Slowly and subtly the abuser begins to build, first, invisible mental and emotional bars around his partner.
Then eventually the bars become physical. They were already real.
And that is what those on the outside don’t understand. The bars are real, even though they can’t see them.
They are the same bars built in concentration camp tactics, cults, or any form of abuse.
Someone wants to follow a high ideal. They meet a charismatic person, charming, loving, kind, solicitous. The charmer convinces them that their best life will be following them.
Then a process of demoralization is executed. Distrust and condemnation of one’s thoughts, instincts, and feelings is taught and enforced. The name of God is always a handy tool.
After the demoralization is achieved, confusion and chaos are created in order to make escape bewildering.
Physical abuse is often the last stage, the stage that others see, the stage where she calls the police as he screams, “I’ll cut you into little pieces if you call the police.” If the policeperson understands, she’s lucky.
If someone reaches out to you, even if they have left 2, 3, 4 times, don’t judge. Keep providing the critical social support needed. Bars don’t break with only one try.
Realize that many have died trying to leave or even after leaving as the abuser hunts them down. They are leaving a certain trauma for a gamble on freedom and safety.
Realize they suffer as much from PTSD or CPTSD as any war veteran. They have been tortured just as surely. It’s just that they are the only one in the camp. And if there are children, they have birthed the other cult members.
And push for battering to be classified as the form of sadistic mental illness that it is.