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 It’s the question many are left puzzling over upon discovering a woman has chosen to stay in a relationship in which she’s been the victim of physical abuse: why? Shedding light on the answer to that has proven to be an unexpected result of American footballer Ray Rice being caught on camera knocking his then fiancée unconscious in an elevator. While much of the fallout of the highly publicised incident focused on the inadequate response of the NFL [Rice was initially given a two-game suspension before it was made indefinite], fellow victims of domestic violence quietly took to social media to share their own experiences. United under the hashtag #whyIstayed, women expressed solidarity with Janay Palmer, now Rice’s wife in sharing their own reasoning for not leaving a partner who physically attacked them. “I believed him when he said it was the last time,” was one explanation ventured, as was the harrowing “because he told me he’d kill me if I left”. The public confessional was exactly the outcome hoped for by HR manager Beverly Gooden, who was abused by her ex-husband and felt moved to create the hashtag in response to the video’s release.

                 “The internet exploded with questions about [Janay Palmer],” Goode wrote on her blog. “Why didn’t she leave? Why did she marry him?” With the often heartbreaking insights conveyed on Twitter via #whyIstayed answering those very questions, the conversation soon branched out into addressing #whyIleft and #whenIleft. “Because my children begged me to and at that moment my eyes could finally see a reality I had a become blinded to,” revealed one woman. “People don’t realise that we’re asking the same question everyone else is asking,” Gooden told  The Washington Post of the complicated psychological, social and economic factors that can stop a woman from leaving an abusive partner. “We’re wondering why we’re still there and why we’re even trying.” With Palmer’s decision to stand by her husband having prompted much speculation – fellow wives of high-profile NFL stars even gathered on breakfast TV to deliberate as to why – Gooden says it’s time to start asking a different question. “I hope this will help move the conversation from ‘Why doesn’t she leave?’ to ‘Why does he hit?’”

Sarrah Le Marquand

 

Talking about or exposing people that have abused you isn’t hate towards them. Don’t be fooled by thinking that keeping silent is ‘love’. It isn’t ‘love’ to communicate that they can act any way they want without consequences. Keeping the silence contributes to the invalidation you have already been burdened with.

Darlene Ouimet

No more lying friends
Wanting tragic ends
Though they do pretend
They won’t go when i go

All those bleeding hearts
With sorrows to impart
Were right here from the start
And they won’t go when i go

And i’ll go where i’ve longed
To go so long
Away from tears

Gone from painful cries
Away from saddened eyes
Along with him i’ll bide
Because they won’t go when i go

Big men feeling small
Weak ones standing tall
I will watch them fall
They won’t go when i go

Unclean minds mislead the pure
The innocent will leave for sure
For them there is a resting place
People sinning just for fun
They will never see the sun
For they can never show their faces
There ain’t no room for the hopeless sinner
Who will take more than he will give
He ain’t hardly gonna give

The greed of man will be
Far away from me
And my soul will be free
They won’t go when i go

When i go
Where i’ll go
No one can keep me
From my destiny

They Won’t Go When I go - George Michael 

Child bride saved from arranged marriage

                   A 14-year-old girl was saved at the last minute from an arranged marriage after she and her uncle were stopped at Sydney Airport from boarding a flight to Lebanon. The teenager was intercepted on Friday afternoon after a joint investigation response team learned she was being taken overseas to wed. After several hours of questioning the pair was released but not allowed to leave the country. The girl had been known to both to state and federal authorities which place children at risk on an airport watch list. Authorities have been on high alert for cases of arranged marriages in the wake of Islamic State extremists launching a social media recruitment campaign to lure young jihadi brides to wed terrorists. “The government can confirm that an adult male and a female minor were prevented from boarding a flight at Sydney International Airport” the spokeswoman said. Dr Eman Sharobeem from the Immigrant Women’s Health Service last week warned IS’s public appeal for wives could leave Australian girls vulnerable to being dispatched overseas against their wishes. “Regardless of whether or not a marriage has purportedly taken place, sexual relations with an underage person is a crime and will be dealt with as such by both FACS and NSW Police,” the spokeswoman said. Ms Goward who last year launched an investigation into the practice wrote to Mr Morrison and other senior ministers in relation to the case of a 12-year-old girl allegedly being married to a 26-year-old overseas student by an imam. The Sunday Telegraph revealed last year that girls as young as 14 were being forced to go overseas to marry, with parents luring them on planes under the guise of a “holiday”. Another 14-year-old avoided being smuggled out of the country by her parents to be wed after pleading with her school counsellor to intervene. In a separate case in 2012 a 14-year-old Iraqi girl returned to Australia pregnant.

                   Linda Silmalis 

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