The choices are yours!

At some time or another every victim of spouse abuse or domestic/intimate partner violence will be asked, “Why don’t you just leave?” We have a list as long as our arm as to why we stay, no matter how deeply we desire to get out of the situation. WE know why we choose to stay, as irrational as our reasons may seem to others.

Helpful and well-meaning friends, coworkers and family members will begin to tell us, “Well, you just need to pack your stuff and get out,” or “If you really care about those children, you will get them out of this mess.” They may even hand you a brochure and offer to drive you to the shelter that provided it to them.

While I am not in favor of staying in a dangerous relationship, I am also not in favor of leaving prematurely and without a safety plan in place. I also feel the need to remind each and every victim out there, it is your life and they are your choices. Not ready to leave yet? Then use this time to gather information, get your head on straight, figure out where you want to go and be in life.

It’s okay to thank those who care about you and are trying to help. It’s okay to take the brochure. The day may even come you decide to use it—I repeat: the day you decide to use it.

What most who have never been victimized do not understand is that for far too long we have been abused by someone who vigorously worked to take and maintain control over us. They wielded their power to the point of putting us into a place of fear, manipulation and intimidation. We are used to being told nearly every move to make by our abuser/batterer. We are already in a set pattern of doing what others tell us in an effort to establish a scintilla of peace or remove a bit of terror that has become a fixed part of our lives. While you are in the process of making your choices, please bear in mind the well-being and safety of the children. They are a vital part in the decision-making process.

So, if you are a victim, please know you have the right to be in control of your life, no matter who the one is throwing around the demands, suggestions or pressure to perform. And, if you are one of those well-meaning friends, coworkers or family members, contact an agency or organization and find out the proper methods to help a victim of abuse or domestic violence. The best place to start is by simply saying, “If you need me, I’m here.”

Carolyn is an advocate for sexual/domestic violence and assault awareness, also focusing on child sexual abuse. She is a Victim Support & Empowerment Coach, working with victims and survivors of molestation, sexual assault, domestic violence or spousal abuse, bringing information and awareness to organizations seeking to properly help and support victims. Hear various interviews at the Broadcasts page of her website:

  1. Hi Carolyn,

    It was my great please to share time with you during my interview today with Cynthia Brennen. I hope we can work together in the future. We know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that’s the message we need to get out there.


    Teresa Joyce

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