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There is no Mason Dixon line over which women can run and escape and be home free.
The perpetrators can and do hunt her down anywhere. When you do the same exercise, but merely shift to other forms of violent relationships, a group’s responses are dramatically different.
To be sure there’s truth and need for remedy in every reason given.
But the one thing that should top the list, the thing that freezes so many women in place, is not even mentioned at all.
“Why doesn’t the field slave,” for example, “Run away from the plantation in the middle of the night while the master sleeps? “Because the slaves know they’ll get hunted down.” “Because they know if they’re caught they’ll get beaten like never before.” “Because they stand a good chance of getting killed.” The first answers out are ‘learned helplessness’, ‘low self esteem’, or ‘not enough money’ even though there’s no question these same psycho-social factors are just as much at work. Violence, and the sheer terrorizing threat of it, has always, everywhere, worked better than anything else to keep victims compliant and pinned in place.
In fact, if one were to lead off their explanations as to ‘why slaves don’t leave’ with the ‘learned helplessness’ or ‘not enough money’ aspect, the insult of it would ring perfectly clear. So why the glaring blind spot in regard to domestic violence victims?
I jot down the familiar list until the group exhausts their thoughts. How, at this date, with this group, - with almost every group - do so many miss the obvious?
The glaring blind spot is rooted deep in the self-preservation mechanisms of patriarchal rule.
If the violent repression of women were to be recognized on a par with other violent repressions it would require nothing short of upending the missions of law enforcement, prosecutors, courts, and service organizations, and not just the adjustment of rhetoric we have now.
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Copyright © Marie De Santis, Women’s Justice Center, of the help out there is a joke, they hand you phamphlets and other crap and then leave you alone to confront the abuser.