March 11, 2016

It May Have Been Easier.

unsplash/Nicole Mason

It may be easier to stay.

It may be easier to be the victim of another human, than a victim of society.

It may be easier to subject yourself to verbal and emotional abuse, than it is to be a full-time college student while trying to single-handedly raise children.

It may be easier to allow your abuser to monitor your spending and use money as a means of control, than it is to shut yourself in the bathroom and sob silently over unpaid bills, including the childcare bill that amounts to more than your monthly rent.

It may be easier to stay in the perfect house, in the nice neighborhood, with the near perfect schools than it is to live in a low-income apartment building with a few drug-abusing, unsafe neighbors surrounding you.

It may be easier to subject yourself to repeated sexual assault than to struggle just to put your children in swimming lessons or sports programs.

It may be easier to stay with your abuser than to venture out into the world—a single mother who just wants to get her degree without becoming homeless.

Yes, life will be easier financially if you stay—but is money truly worth the cost of your life?

Is money worth your mental stability?

Is money worth rape?

Is money worth verbal and emotional abuse?

Is money worth more than your children’s safety?

These are the questions to ask yourself, over and over again, when contemplating leaving toxic, abusive relationships.

Would you condone being someone’s property in order to avoid struggling financially?

To be honest, I do not know which path is the right path, but I do know what you’ll feel like when you have your very own apartment—your own safe space. I know that you will love seeing your children’s faces light up when you play and laugh carelessly with them inside of that safe space—instead of being in a state of high alert and in fear of your safety when “he” drinks. I know that you will love sleeping in your very own bed with confidence that no one is going to touch you or hurt you.

You are going to love being an individual who belongs to no one—someone who can make simple decisions without being criticized any longer. I know that you will love freedom. I know that you will love the person who stares back at you in the mirror—more and more, every day—as you grow and heal.

Please—love not being abused more than you love money. And even though you will struggle—every single day—please choose yourself over someone else. Choose freedom over being financially, emotionally and mentally trapped by someone who has no right to your life. Everyone deserves happiness. Everyone deserves freedom—and every single child deserves a chance at a life free of abuse.

That being said, everyone also deserves a good education, affordable health care (including behavioral health) and equal opportunities for their growing children—not just the few.

Single parents are victims of society in many ways, and that needs to—and will hopefully, eventually—change. Instead of shaming women for being single mothers, society needs to welcome them with open arms, because there is always a reason behind the struggle.

I would rather a single-mother raise her kids on her own, than see a family with catastrophic secrets who are allowing generational trauma to continue on their watch.

It may be easier to stay, but easy doesn’t always keep you safe. It may be easier to stay, but there is an art in struggling that is worth so much more than all the money in the world.


Author: Jane Hart

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Unsplash/Nicole Mason 

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