A victim thinks, “Here I am, caught in the snare of domestic violence, wondering how I can possibly put an end to all this horror. Do I dare confront my abuser?”
There are three definitive answers, and they are “Yes,” “No,” and “Not right now.” But put yourself in the place of the victim. Confronting the abuser could be a sentence of expedient danger or severe repercussion. During a training course I attended recently, the story was related to the class of an abuser who called his wife at work to tell her she would not have to worry about caring for the dog any longer, and next time it could be her, if she dared to open her mouth about the ongoing abuse she was experiencing at his hands. Fear is a formidable weapon wielded by perpetrators of domestic/intimate partner violence.
Then there’s saying nothing. Ah, there you have it. Just maintain status quo. You may not get free, you may have to continue to endure the abuse, and just maybe you won’t get a busted lip, broken arm, or killed…
The third answer is the one I eventually chose, after attempting confrontation, then remaining silent for well over a decade. I waited on “not right now” to pass. Once I developed a safety plan, had all my ducks in a row, knew the proper steps to obtaining a restraining order and how to put it to best use, “right now” finally came. I was able to escape safely. Yes, he reared his angry head a few times after all that was in place, but with some strong “suggestions” from our Sheriff’s deputies, he finally got the message and backed off. I still remained diligent and watchful. You see, a victim of domestic/intimate violence is always looking over their shoulder, scanning their surroundings as they walk to their car after work, varying the routes they take, and staying in constant communication with someone who is their support system.
No, confronting your abuser is not usually the best answer. But then, neither is eternal silence, either. Be safe. Right now, be safe. If you make the decision to escape your abuse (and it is always your choice), do everything within your power to remain safe. Guard yourself and your children, but as the charge officer used to admonish his officers as they left briefing to hit the streets, “Let’s be careful out there!”