It is commonly said that women and children experiencing domestic violence should be able to ‘stay put’. That it should be the perpetrators of abuse who have their lives disrupted – that it should be them who have to move out or be held to account. That it should be the perpetrators who have to make the journeys.
That may be true.
However, that would be all the more reason that – as a society – we need women’s refuges all around the country for women and their children to escape to.
Because an option to stay put is only an option if there would be the possibility to escape. It is only a choice to stay put if there is somewhere to go to if you need to escape – in the short or long term. If there is nowhere safe, non-judgemental and supportive to escape to, then you are not ‘staying put’, you are stuck. You are not choosing to stay put – you are imprisoned in the location of the abuse.
There needs to be both options – staying put and leaving – so that women know that they can get all kinds of help.
“I wish I had the voice to cry out to the world – do not keep quiet; if you fear something is not right with your partner – or whoever is abusing you; if you feel the signs of abuse – talk to somebody.” Gloria