By Mackenzie Harris
October 2, 2014

Graphic designed by Joey Rettino
Graphic designed by Joey Rettino
Graphic designed by Joey Rettino
(Joey Rettino/Managing Editor)

“I tried to leave the house once after an abusive episode, and he blocked me,”Beverly Gooden (@bevtgooden via Twitter) said. “He slept in front of the door that entire night, #WhyIStayed.”

The social media torrent flooded feeds on Monday, Sept. 8, when Gooden sent the previous tweet. Shortly after her tweet became public, thousands followed her lead and within the next few days, Twitter became a common ground to find the #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft tweets that started a conversation about domestic violence.

Domestic violence is not just an issue for women.  This is an issue for everyone because everyone is affected whenever a situation escalates to an abusive level.

An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.  According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “the cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.”

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Clearly there is need for a conversation about it. Circumstances surrounding domestic violence are complex and need to be looked at deeply.

What happens after you preach to men that they should never hit a woman?  Does he listen?   Determining when a relationship is abusive is a difficult matter because abusive may take many forms. It is important to become informed from reliable medical and psychological sources, and Loquitur urges anyone who has a suspicion to look more deeply. What is the fine line between abuse and rough house in relationships? And where is that line drawn? All of these are questions asked every day because the reality is, domestic violence is very prevalent in our society today.

Gooden’s #WhyIStayed inspired so many females to speak out against their abuse, but domestic violence happens to males and that needs to be discussed.

Accurate numbers of how many men are being abused – whether by women, by a male partner or in a mutually violent relationship – are hard to determine, but it is safe to say that many men also suffer abuse.

There are so many reasons that domestic violence can occur, but what about why people stay in their relationships? Why would you stay with someone who has hurt you so badly? Why wouldn’t you want a better life for yourself?

Those of us not in an abusive relationship find it hard to comprehend why the abused partner does not leave. Education is needed not just for those in an abusive relationship but for the wider society as well. However, raising awareness about violence in relationships is an important first step.

Mackenzie Harris

Junior communication major, social justice and leadership double minor, Editor-In-Chief for The Loquitur, Social Media Intern for Cabrini College Office of Admissions, Head of Communication for Cabrini's CRS Campus Ambassadors, Admission's Student Ambassador, Public Relations Manager for Cabrini's Alpha Lambda Delta National Honors Society, member of the Ad and Promotion Club and a published poet.

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