"Why?" - Because I asked for it.
"Why do I feel I have to continue to feel like I was in the wrong?" - Because I was in the wrong.
"Why do I feel like it is my fault things happened the way they did? - Because it was my fault.
"Why do I feel I have to continue to apologize?" Because I should have done what I was told, what was expected of me.
"Why?" - Because it was my fault. I was in the wrong. I didn't listen. I wasn't good enough.
All of these questions and responses, and more, are what goes through the heads of individuals who have been or are being domestically abused or sexually assaulted. I want to let you know that it is not your fault. In situations like this, the fault is always in the hands of the abuser, NEVER the abused.
Domestic violence has a wide range of meanings. Domestic violence is not just physical abuse, but mental and emotional abuse as well. It is a serious problem that is happening more often than people realize. A lot of the individuals that are in abusive relationships do not come forward due to the fear that if they do, they will be in more trouble or make their situation worse. Helpers at domestic violence shelters can work with you to set up a safety plan to help you leave if you believe you need to. We are here to help.
I recently read a blog entry from Jerry Strausbaugh entitled "It's Not Your Job To Fix Broken Men." He makes some very powerful points. Strausbaugh states that "Healthy relationships are built upon a foundation of freedom, trust, and supporting the intellectual, spiritual, academic, economic, and creative growth of your partner." We are supposed to encourage the growth of our partner and support them in all their accomplishments.
I also really enjoyed Strausbaugh's point that states, "Healthy men focus on what they can give to their partner not what they can take. Love flourishes in freedom and is diminished in an environment characterized by threats." We are supposed to focus on what we can give to the relationship we are in and not what we can take from it. I do understand that sometimes you have to sacrifice things for a relationship, but that should be an equal give and take. Also, you shouldn't have to sacrifice things that mean a lot to you or that you love. There should be an equal amount of responsibility in the relationship.
If you have kids, both of you should be responsible for their care. One of you should not be expected to do all the work with the kids and the house. You have the right to have a job outside of the home. I also understand that when kids are a factor in the situation of domestic abuse or sexual assault, it can be very difficult to get yourself out of the toxic environment. I cannot stress enough how much help is out there for you. I know of a lot of shelters what will take you and your children if they have room. Workers/volunteers at the shelter will work with you to develop a safety plan to aid you in the leaving process.
As a volunteer at a domestic violence shelter and a social work major, I am very passionate on helping any one and everyone I can. I am here to say that it is not your fault. You do not have to apologize. You are believed. There is help. NO ONE should have to go though this pain; emotionally, physically, and/or mentally. If you or someone you know is going though a situation like domestic violence or sexual assault, seek help. Reach out to your local shelter or police station.
YOU ARE BELIEVED.
THERE IS HELP.
YOU ARE WORTH SO MUCH MORE.
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)