Guest Post: What I Didn’t Know About Abusive Relationships

10V-Visual-2By Kathy West

I know someone in an abusive relationship. Chances are, you do, too.

The day I discovered the extent of physical violence and abusive language and manipulation in my friend’s relationship, the thing that surprised me as much as the abuse itself was how much of the relationship was NOT abuse.

I had thought of domestic violence as something obvious and constant—something you would recognize immediately and walk away from.

But it wasn’t.

An abusive relationship looked like my friend, tip-toeing around a spouse who only seemed controlling and out-of-control part of the time. It looked like meals and holidays and jobs and grocery shopping that (even if they were laced with fear and vigilance) looked average on the surface, mundane even.

This abusive relationship looked like a shared history that wasn’t completely bad. In fact, my friend said that enough okay moments outweighed the terrifying ones and decided to stay.

I can’t change my friend’s choice to remain silent. But I had to do something.

So I created Ten Voices, a Kickstarter project that ends today.

10 writers and artists created 10 pieces of art meant to inspire voice. We’re organizing a creative workshop for survivors of domestic violence. Our goal is to support and inspire the voices of those who have survived domestic violence and decided to leave.

You probably know someone in an abusive relationship.

And chances are, that person has remained silent.

We would love you to raise your voice with us. Support the workshop and own the art here, only through the end of today, 2 December 2013:

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2 Responses

  1. jks says:

    My best friend is in an abusive relationship. Her husband is controlling and emotionally abusive.
    However, she loves him and still thinks of him as a good husband and good father because of all the good things he does. She knows he has a problem but it would never occur to her that he has crossed a line that would require leaving him. She absolutely thinks abused women should leave and has even helped physically abused women in the past. However, since her husband is faithful, never raises his voice, never swears at her, and has never been physically abusive she considers him a loving husband.
    We all have to live with the faults of our spouses. How do you decide when a fault is too damaging and therefore it is better to leave the marriage?
    I know I would not put up what he does, but I don’t like some stuff my husband does either yet I manage to put up with it, don’t I?
    As a friend, I know that I am there for her and she is open with me (only me) and I help her gain some perspective that she is not crazy and her wants and needs are not wrong. Also, when she is able to have control over her own self and her own feelings, she can discuss where her line is and how to detach from trying to please him and instead doing what she thinks she should, rather than only what he thinks she should.
    All I can do is support her. She lives within the confines of the limits of the relationship. But don’t we all?
    I have many things that I appreciate about my marriage when comparing it to hers. A husband who cares what my needs are. A husband who considers my opinion as valid as his (well, most of the time). A husband who puts effort into working on the marriage. A husband who respects me and teaches my children to respect me.
    I wouldn’t trade husbands. But then, she wouldn’t either….

  2. Caroline says:

    A very worthy project, Kathy.

    JKS, I appreciated your insights on this topic.

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