She recently informed me that she has been slowly putting a plan into place and feels no choice but to execute it soon....in two days.
Women, unfortunately, are much safer in an abusive relationship than they are leaving one. It is far too common that a woman is murdered with an order of protection clutched in her hand after carrying out her escape plan. This is the most dangerous, life threatening thing that Sarah may ever do. She does have a good plan. She knows her abuser well, has tried leaving before, and knows that her actions this time around will be concrete, will provoke a powerful response, and will truly burn bridges. She’s never done it like this before.
One of those bridges is financial. Sarah’s abuser has always been financially abusive. She's been tucking away one dollar at a time for months and months, readying herself for the fallout. She has managed to save just enough for the move, some legal fees, one week in a high security living space, and plans to go week by week. She does have a job, but her job does not provide her adequate income to cover the initial cost of setting up a whole new life from scratch. Sarah has no family who can help her, and also feels that she must do this on her own. (Abusers love to challenge their victims to try and survive without them. They create a sense of helplessness and dependence by convincing them they’re not strong enough to do it without “charity” and shame their victims for needing help.)
I would love to offer her an alternative to going it alone. Sarah's chance of success would be greatly hightened with some financial breathing room. If she had just one year...even six months of rent covered in a safe place, she could build a life free of violence. The goal I set is a rough estimate of her basic needs for the next six months. The more time she can buy, the more likely it is that she'll have space to build a life without her abuser. The longer she’s free, the better the chances that she will stay free.
It may sound discouraging to hear that she’s tried leaving before. Please understand that every attempt gets a victim closer and closer to success. It’s not a pattern of failure. It’s a pattern of determination. Most women succeed on their 9th attempt.
This is Sarah’s 9th attempt.
A leg up from us will be put to good use.
I won't provide details, but I can assure you that her abuser has committed egregious, heinous acts of violence, debasement, and dehumanization. I can assure you, without a shadow of a doubt, that her life is in grave danger. She has a real shot at this if she can be afforded basic things; food, shelter, safety, legal council, and most importantly, the support of a caring community. That’s where we come in.
I know she feels so alone and she can't even imagine that someone might want to help her. I'm not her close friend. I don't know her in an intimate way. She’s merely been in my professional life for three years and I can’t stand by offering my thoughts and prayers when I have the amazing resource of this social media community. I had to reach out. She felt comfortable sharing with me because I have shared my story with her. I was in her shoes once, but I had help. I had family who took me in. I had therapy and good advice. I had people all around me that held my hand through it all. If I hadn’t, I would not be here today, doing the good that I do. If we save one, they continue to save more.
She told me today that the police are done dealing with her. That they no longer take her seriously because she's called on them so many times. She said that none of her friends believe that this time will be the end of it all. They’ve abandoned her. She believes that absolutely no one has her back, that no one will be in this with her. She is under the impression that she is utterly alone. And yet, she's going through with it. This is profound bravery.
I want to show her that I’m there for her, and I want to bring an army with me. An army of dollar bills that represents a whole community of folks who care and are rooting for her. If all of us contribute even the smallest amount, we can make an amazing impact. Please give a dollar. Give fifty cents. Please help reach this goal. It would truly be saving a life.
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