Have you ever heard this or maybe you have even said this about women in an abusive situation, “Why doesn’t she just leave?” What most people don’t realize is that’s like asking, “why don’t you jump off that 100-foot cliff?” What those of us who work on the front lines with women fleeing abusive situations have come to know is that for the women who come to us for safety and support, the fear of the unknown, the unfamiliar and change of any kind, is paralyzing, gripping. The fear of leaving is so much more intense than the fear and uncertainty of sleeping in their cars, when the next beating is going to happen, not being able to pay bills, or knowing how they will feed their children. Her mind, body and spirit have subconsciously convinced her that she will DIE if she takes action to change her life. That is the baffling nuance that drives a life of unmanageability. Whether it is domestic violence, chronic homelessness, or drug & alcohol addiction, TODAY I am in awe of each woman that comes to Stepping Stones and makes a conscious decision to change the things she can. The women who take that leap and surrender to something greater than themselves, even when everything in their being is screaming STAY WHERE YOU ARE…IT’S EASIER…THERE IS TOO MUCH PAIN AND PROBABLE DEATH IF YOU TRY TO ESCAPE. I am honored on a daily basis to be able to watch the grace of serenity replace the grip of pain, to hear the freedom of honesty replace the prison of deception, and to feel the lightness of love replace the heaviness of shame. I witness true acts of courage that, to people looking in from the outside, may seem insignificant – “well it’s about time she left”. But over 8,000 women have taught us otherwise and we are forever grateful to them for teaching us about the depth and mightiness of courage. We are better servants, teachers, leaders and advocates because of them.
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Robin C. Burke
Stepping Stones Agencies CEO