She Stayed

By Edwina Williams

Published July 31, 2015

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Original Art Piece by Edwina Williams, 2015

Nothing could have prepared her for that moment. That moment when he would use the strength she admired so much, not to protect her, but to cause her harm. No one could have described to her the pain she would feel not only physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. The bruises that everyone could see were in no way as dark as the bruises he left on her soul when his fist violently met her face. Yet she stayed. Even after he hit her and severed the trust in their relationship, her decision was to stay. She’s judged for her decision with the question that keeps being brought up: Why doesn’t SHE leave?

Jones stated the following:

This question, which we can’t seem to stop asking, is not a real question. It doesn’t call for an answer; it makes a judgment. It mystifies. It transforms an immense social problem into a personal transaction, and at the same time pins responsibility squarely on the victim.

Even if we do not necessarily say it aloud, in the back of one’s mind, we tend to ask ourselves why a woman would choose to remain in an abusive relationship. We look for reasons as though it is our position to provide a rationale. Perhaps she is financially dependent on him. If she were to leave, she would have nowhere to go. Maybe it is because of the children. It is because she wants to keep her family together, right?

Whatever the reasons may be, society continues to focus on the woman and why she neglects to leave. Directly or indirectly, the blame is placed on the victim, the oppressed. Yet less focus is directed towards the abuser, the oppressor. Western culture has a way of approaching certain social problems in an accusatory manner. We get close enough to an issue so that we may pass judgment but as a society, we tend to shy away when the solution calls for us to gather collectively. In the year 2015, why do we continue to ask the question: “Why doesn’t SHE leave?”

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