I can’t believe I stayed. I can’t believe I put up with the abuse for so long. I should have known better. I took a class on this in college and I fell right into the classic situation I was educated about. Why didn’t I leave? Why did this happen for so long?
These were the exact words a client uttered to me during her first meeting with me not so long ago. This client had endured years of physical abuse from her husband, hiding the bruises and black eyes with makeup, sunglasses, and scarves. When I asked her why she stayed with him for so long she stated she stayed because she was afraid to leave. She stayed because the good times, between the episodes of abuse, were really good and she chose to hold on to the good memories and push the bad ones aside. She stayed because she felt on some level she had deserved the abuse. She stayed because the evil you know can be easier then the evil you don’t know. But then she added she wasn’t going to stay any longer and wanted help to move on. I worked with this client for over a year. She participated in counseling and support groups and at the end of the year she was divorced. I asked her how she felt as we were leaving court after the final divorce hearing and she responded, “free.” For the first time in years my client wasn’t afraid. She was standing taller than I had ever seen her and I could tell she was ready to conquer the world. I can happily report that she has since started a new chapter in her life. She has embarked on a new career path, purchased her first home, and is in a new and healthy relationship.
However, not all women are able to escape. The Justice Department reports that on average in the United States three women are killed each day by their boyfriends or husbands and it is estimated that 24 people per every minute experience intimate partner violence in the US.
The reason I’m writing this is because its October, and October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you’re reading this then I can tell you without a doubt that someone you know, someone close to you, is a victim of domestic violence whether you are aware of it or not. If you are aware of it then I encourage you to talk to that individual and support them, encourage them to seek help. I have attached a list of resources for anyone in need of help.
Domestic Violence Victims often have an extremely hard time finding legal representation. Many times victims are in urgent need of an attorney to help with a restraining order or file a divorce and don’t qualify for pro-bono services or can’t find an attorney fast enough. At Levine-Piro law, we make a point to never turn a domestic violence victim away. We frequently work on a sliding fee scale, payment plans and even defer payment for clients so that they can focus on getting the help they need. Our doors are always open so that women who need legal help can get the help they need when all other doors seem to be closed.
If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
Safelink-MA Toll Free Domestic Violence Hotline
Other Domestic Violence Hotlines
MA Laws about Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence Information and Resources