Dear Victim Of Abuse,
I am writing this letter to tell you that you deserve better. It isn’t your fault! No matter how hard you try to please an abuser, no matter how many times you try to do better, sooner or later more than likely they will abuse you again. It’s not your fault!
Part of you wants to believe that if you could somehow change yourself the emotional/physical beatings would stop. If only you were a better person that this would not be happening to you. Despite the logical part of your brain telling you that it isn’t your fault, the emotional part of you is probably saying that ‘if” only you did something different the abuse would stop. Don’t believe it!
There are millions of people around the world, just like you, many of them sweet, caring wonderful people, who feel that they are doing something wrong, that if they somehow change their behavior that their abuser will stop punishing them. No matter what they do, no matter how hard they try, as long as they stay with an abusive person, the abuser will ‘find” something to get angry at them for. The abuser will find a reason to hurt them emotionally/physically, and afterwards the abuser will say “I didn’t want to hurt you, you made me do it, if you are more careful and do things better it won’t happen again”.
Abuse, is a cycle of emotional/physical violence. Think of it as a circle where things go around and around. The victims does something that the abuser gets mad about. The abuser takes out their anger on the victim. Then they apologize. Then they say they are so sorry, that it won’t happen again. Soon after they start saying that it was your fault. That you made them do it. Then they start warning you not to make them do it again. Sooner or later something happens (they come home in a bad mood, etc) and they find an excuse to hurt you (again). The circle starts again apologize (I’m sorry), promise (I’ll never do it again), blame (if only you had…), threats (be good so I don’t have too..), violence… You have to decide for yourself, no one else can do it for you, are you being realistic, will the abuse stop or are you making excuses because you are afraid to leave.
If you want to change your life, if you want the abuse to stop, first you have to accept that “It wasn’t your fault!” If you make the decision to leave, then you should also decide, am I leaving and then going to come back or am I going to leave and never come back. If you believe that the abuse would just start again (be honest with yourself) perhaps you need to make a decision such as “there are no second chances, that you are leaving and never come back”.
This is your decision, no one else can or should make it for you, all we are suggesting is that when you make a decision, one way or the other, that you should also decide to stick with it, that constantly changing your mind may only make things worse.
Leaving and never coming back sounds scary. As terrible as abuse is, sometimes leaving is too scary. Things like where do I go, where will I live, how will I find a job, how will I eat, etc… can be so scary that you may try to convince yourself to give the abuser one more chance. Then one more chance after that. Then one more chance. Etc.
Stop a minute. Ask yourself, How many times have I given him/her one more chance? If it’s more than one, it’s probably too many. Yes, a few abusers do change, but for everyone that promises to change and does, there are hundreds that promise to change and don’t.
Want to leave, but afraid? There are people all over the world that want to help. The people who wrote this letter wrote it because they cared. Hundreds of people researched all kinds of things to help you, because they care. There are hundreds of agencies and organizations just waiting for a chance to help you, because they care. Because they feel you deserve better.
Only one person can make the decision to leave, that is you. What we are trying to do is make it an easier choice for you, to show you that there are people and places you can go for help. We are offering you a place to start, the first step towards a new life, but it’s up to you to decide whether to take that first step or not. If you are ready to change your life, start by understanding your fears and what you can do about them.
Let’s start “not” by addressing your fears of the abuser, but may be a bigger fear. Your biggest fear is may actually be “Where will I go, who will I talk to and how will I survive if I do leave?”
First, there are all kinds of places on the Internet you can go to find out about the causes, effects and feelings associated with being a victim of abuse.
If you have reached the conclusion that you deserve a better life, and that you want to leave, your first concern is where will I go? If you don’t have friends or family that can offer you a place to stay, there are abuse shelters, that will offer you a safe place to start your life over. There are abuse agencies and organizations that can offer you call kinds of advice from where to go to how to protect yourself. Some of your concern might have to do with what if the abuser tries to stalk you.
Whether the victim is you, or a child that you believe is being abused there are things you can do. There are state and federal laws to protect you and you can find them (they are called STATE STATUTES) by visiting the library and asking the librarian to show you the STATE STATUTES ON ABUSE. These are the exact laws on abuse, the responsibilities of the police and the courts to help protect you. Maybe you need to find a lawyer, a good place to start is at the American Bar Association Website or by finding bar associations in your state.
You may also have financial concerns. You can go to an abuse shelter for a few weeks or a few months, the people there will assist you in finding work, but what about money? If you, and you children, need financial assistance there are many public assistance programs that can help. These programs can help with everything from food, shelter, school lunch for the kids, to assistance for those with medical and disabilities. There are even programs to assist the poor with free medications. If you are a senior citizen you might need help with programs like social security. If you buried your emotions (sadness/anxiety/depression) in an addiction such as food, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs or even coffee there are addiction recovery programs and organizations that can help.
Maybe you need information on the cheapest way to travel by bus, plane or train across the country (online maps) to a safe place and hotels or campgrounds along the way. Maybe you need advice on how to save money on things like cars, homes, apartments, utilities, etc. Perhaps you would like to go back to school but need advice on how to get scholarships, etc… Whatever it is, you can either find it find it here, or you can contact us and we will put the information on the website for you and everyone else.
If you need someone to talk to in an emergency situation or just a listening ear you can call one of the hotlines listed in our Rape/Abuse/Violence Resources Section, or you can look in one of the online yellow page directories and type in your city, state and what information you are looking for (abuse, police, suicide, etc) and a listing of local and national numbers will appear on your computer.
Help is a click or a call away, now you know that people care about you, that there are others just like you, that you are not alone and you now have information on how to overcome your biggest fear in life (leaving the abuser and starting over on your own). The decision is yours, and yours alone, no one can do it for you, but if you are ready to start a new life, there are good and caring people all over the world willing to provide you with information on how to begin a new life.
You are not alone, people do care and you deserve better.