Why did I stay?
This question kept lingering in the mind of Leslie Morgan Steiner who was living in the comfort zone where domestic violence thrived.
Giving a talk on TED conference, Leslie said she never knew she was in an abusive relationship. Even though the ex husband made her face helly situations like pushing her down the stairs, threatening to kill their dog , pulling the key out of the car ignition as she drove down the highway and other awkward experiences.
In her words: ” I never once thought of myself as a battered wife. I only saw myself as a very strong woman who was in love with a deeply troubled man.
” I continually told myself that I was the only person on earth who could help Conor( my ex husband) face his demons,” she narrated.
When one is a victim of domestic violence, the question of the hour is – ” Why doesn’t she just leave or walk out? “
In Leslie words , she actually gave an answer why victims of domestic violence don’t run away when they are opportune to.
” I could have left any time but we victims know something that others usually don’t know. We believe that it is incredibly dangerous to leave an abuser because the final step in the domestic violence pattern is , ” kill her.”
According to her, over 70% of domestic violence murders happen after the victim has ended the relationship, because then the abuser have nothing left to lose.
“Other outcomes include long- term stalking , even after the abuser remarries; denial of financial resources and manipulation of the family court system to terrify the victim and her children who are regularly forced by family court judges to spend unsupervised time with the man who beat their mother.”
THE BIG BREAK
” I was able to leave because of one final sadistic beating that broke through my denial. I realized that the man I loved so much was going to kill me if I let him.
” So I broke the silence , I told everyone: the police, my neighbours, my friends and family, total strangers.
“And I am able to share my story today because all these people helped me.
“Abuse thrives only in silence, You have the power to end domestic violence simply by shinning a spotlight on it, ” She said.