An excerpt from Break From You, my contemporary YA novel about dating abuse:
questioned why I had even come, why I let him convince me of his innocence once
again. What he did to me was wrong, this I knew. I had to let go. But why it
was so hard to say goodbye was beyond me. I had a hard time finding the
strength, even though I knew I needed to. Maybe it was because we had been together for
over a year now, maybe it was because I knew relationships weren’t always easy,
or maybe it was because I knew I loved him.
(-Brooke Myers in Break From You)
There are many reasons victims stay in abusive relationships. And like Brooke, they may not even be able to pinpoint why they stay. Brooke wants to believe she has it all: the perfect guy, the perfect
relationship, the perfect life. She wants to believe it so much, she’s willing
to overlook all the pain her boyfriend, Drew, has caused her and forgive him for it. Besides, she loves him- isn't that enough? She thinks it is. But is it truly love when you've lost yourself in it?
There is a cycle to an abusive relationship. Most victims know it is wrong, but they can't seem to escape. They easily forgive and make excuses. It could be due to fear- fear of rejection, fear of isolation, fear of loss, fear of being seriously hurt, or fear of the partner that keeps them from walking away. Or it's because of love, embarrassment, thinking the abuse is normal, or having low self-esteem. Some stay due to the pressures of peers, culture, or religion. Maybe they are pregnant or they distrust adults and/or authority. Feeling shameful about the abuse also stops victims from seeking or wanting to get help. Being dependent on the partner for money, food, or shelter will also keep many from leaving.
It doesn't matter what the reason is...breaking free from abuse is hard and takes a lot of strength. If you know someone in an abusive relationship the most important thing to do is be there for them and listen. Do not judge them. Let them know they have options and there are others who can help.
If you are in an abusive relationship, know that there is help!
Sometimes there feels like there is no...
Ask for help!
For more information please go to loveisrespect.org or breakthecycle.org