To Anyone Who’s Ever Thought, “Why don’t they just leave?

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I’m answering the question over at Stories That Must Not Die today.

Stories that Must Not Die

A version of this post was originally published at Fish Of Gold, but in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the fact that today is my abuser’s birthday, a date he would never let me forget, I’ve reworked it here. It might help those who have no experience with domestic abuse understand why it’s never as simple as “just leaving.” Victims of domestic violence need help and support, not judgment.

“Why do they stay?” or “Why don’t they just leave?” are common questions in response to domestic violence from those who’ve never been touched by it. I should know; I used to think that way before it happened to me.

I can clearly remember saying to someone, “I’d never stay in an abusive relationship.” A decade later, I found myself with two black eyes, strangulation marks around my neck and more bruised and scraped skin than not, limping…

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