Thursday, June 16, 2011

Why Didn't You Just Leave?

 Many times in my life I've been asked the question, "Why didn't you just leave?"I was one of the thousands of women who are victimized each and every day.  All over the world women and their children suffer at the hands of their husbands or other domestic partners. Emotional abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, and battering are all too common. This is a complex issue.

The effects of battering last a lifetime, traumatizing not only for the woman but also her children. Recently I discovered an article online that explains how it is that women stay in toxic relationships.

The following was published online on August 1,2003 online on a site called Common Dreams.
It is titled Hunting for Bambi. Hoax? Reality? Does It Matter? This article was written by John E. Glass, Ph.D. and a chairperson of a Violence Against Women Committee in Texas. The part that is relevant is thus: "For the past four years, I have worked in the field of domestic violence. Doing the work that I do, reading the social scientific literature that I have read, and making general daily observations, I know that women in their "right mind" do many things that are incomprehensible to those not in their situations. The "why doesn't she just leave?" mantra in the field of domestic violence is perhaps the best example of this.

When hearing about someone being abused by a partner, the first question usually asked is, “Well, hell, why doesn’t she just leave?” Well, she doesn't “just leave” for some very good reasons. Reasons, in fact, that reflect her being in her “right mind.” For instance, she will be homeless, she will have no financial resources, her children will have no home, their school will be disrupted, she will be seen as "breaking up the family," she may be threatened with deportation, she might be reported to child protective services, her family of origin will disown her, her church group will shun her, she will be "sinning," etc.

Do these sound like good reasons to not leave an abusive situation? Reasons that someone in their “right mind” might use to justify staying? Absolutely. Not that hard to figure out.

Actually, the question of “Why doesn’t she just leave?” is the entirely wrong question to ask. The real question is, "Why isn't the abuser held accountable?" Why does everyone expect the victim of the abuse to do something about it? When it comes to other violent crimes, do we expect the victim to do something about it? Imagine someone having just been assaulted in their home during a burglary and the police saying to the victim, "Sorry, Mr. Smith, you have to leave your home now because you have been assaulted and your home has been burglarized." Huh? Or what about a neighbor, after finding out that someone down the street had his car stolen, asking the question, “Good lord, we all know that this is a high crime area, why doesn’t John just move?”

So the question isn’t why would some woman in her right mind subject herself to this? The question is, “Why would anyone in their right mind want to subject women to this and why would anyone in their right mind think this would be okay?”"

Here is another telling dysfunction of our society:

   Often, not only is the woman victimized by her husband, but also by the court system. For a mother to be separated unrighteously from her children is cruel.
   In a country that is supposed to be so advanced and progressive it is appalling that we are so backward in this issue of human rights.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Life in Cyberworld/How the Internet Changed My Life

          For most of my adult life I lived in the woods in a yurt without electricity or an indoor bathroom. Life was basic; taking care of my children, keeping the fire stoked, gardening, preparing food, and contributing to the community in which I lived. Because I had always loved to write I made time to keep a pen to paper journal, just as I had when I was a girl.  I also had a Royal portable typewriter that I used to type out my essays, stories, and letters to my family. The years passed and my desire to write escalated.  I wanted to take a writing class and enrolled in a correspondence course through a university, since at that time I had no car.  My mother helped me to acquire a battery run word processor which was a step up. I completed a year of school on that word processor, which is quite battered but I still have.  I knew of the internet, of course, this was the 21st century after all, but I didn’t have the means to plug into the World Wide Web.

I entered the cyber world in 2002, a late start in some respects, but then I have always been a late bloomer. When my husband and I were still courting he recognized that I would really enjoy having a computer and bought me a laptop.  We had moved from the country into town and into the world of some creature comforts, and best of all, electricity!   It wasn’t long before I had an email account and was learning to navigate my way around the internet.  Now it seems like I have always had a computer. We have home office complete with a desk and a beautiful view out into the wildlife park out behind our house. What more could a writer want? Not only is it extremely easy to write (copy, cut, paste, delete, and spell-check) I now have the world at my fingertips. Research is a snap.

            My kids and I all have Face book accounts, and that is such a fun way to stay in touch. Then there are the blogging and online journal sites which I find fascinating and I spent a good part of my day networking and writing and designing. My first online favorite was a poetry site that a poet friend of mine told me about and I began writing and posting poetry. Previously I had been too reserved to share any of my poetry with anyone. Once I started, I was hooked; thrilled I had found a family of poets, just like me. I was invited to host a room on one particular site (Galadrial’s Respite) and found myself warmly welcomed.

Being online has opened up a new world on many levels. I prefer to communicate through the instant message than by phone, and with the video chat it’s almost as good as visiting in the flesh. Sending photos, playing games has made connecting fun and spontaneous. There is nothing like the convenience online shopping. I do most of my Christmas shopping this way, and I get my books half price over the internet.  I got into EBay, both as a buyer and a seller and what fun this turned out to be. Politics?  Being online enables me keep up to date on world events.  I can get my news from sources other than the main stream media. I do my banking online, and yes, I am cautious and obey all the guidelines so as not to get my identity stolen or my accounts compromised.  It is so handy, and I like it that I don’t have to deal with so much paperwork. Think of all the trees I’ve helped to save!

             My grandsons play all different kinds of online games which they seem to like, but as for me I stick to Scrabble and I always have three or four going at once. There is a version called Lexulous that can be played by email or in live time. I was amazed at how many Scrabble players there are from all over the world.         

I am happy for the change of lifestyle, especially now that my kids are out of the nest and I have more time to pursue my hobbies and interests. Although I loved living close to nature, I don’t miss the yurt, camping out lifestyle. The time was ripe for change. I feel right at home in cyberspace.

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