As we all know this is Domestic Violence Awareness month. We held an event this Saturday in honor of Breast cancer and Domestic violence in an attempt to raise awareness and gain support for both. As I watched volunteers donning pink ribbons making calls and donations being dropped off for a local women’s shelter I couldn’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment for doing something to further the cause.
Later that evening while browsing the web I landed on an awesome website whose purpose was to empower women to make change. In their lives and in the world. Now this is something that I am really passionate about and part of the inspiration for this blog. There was a section on their site that discussed how they empower women to recognize the signs of domestic violence and to act to end the cycle in their own lives. It took me back to the events of the day where we were attempting to raise awareness for domestic violence. It also raised the question that no one seems to be able to answer: Why some women (and men) stay in abusive relationships sometimes even AFTER learning the signs of abuse.
There are many theories out there: fear of more violence, fear of not being able to support themselves financially, fear of what others think…and the list goes on. I believe that some of these theories are accurate but I pose a different perspective. I believe that in order to solve this and many other problems that women face, we need to get to the root of the problem. I believe the root of it all is this: Self-worth. Yes. it sounds simple but when you think about it it makes sense. At least to me it does. You see, the way we treat ourselves (and allow others to treat us) and others, in my opinion is directly related to how we feel about ourselves. How we value ourselves. Our self-worth determines whether we think we can accomplish a certain task, date a certain someone, get into a certain school, speak publicly…I could go on all day but I think the point has been made. How we see and value ourselves determines what we do in our lives. Whether its choosing to stay in an abusive or unhealthy relationship or choosing to stay in a dead end job I think the root is the same.
I realize that this is a delicate subject and that there are no absolute answers. Everyone has an opinion about why women stay in abusive relationships. But my focus here is not why women chose to stay in these kinds of relationships (at least not directly) but more on how we see ourselves that determines what we do in our lives.