Why don’t women just leave abusers?

Anytime there’s a mainstream (read: “not an egalitarian safe space”) news report about abused women, some commenters show up to ask, “Why didn’t she just leave?” In their minds, it’s the simplest thing in the world, like leaving a party where you’re not having fun. By not leaving, the abused person has demonstrated that she willingly tolerated her abuse for some suspicious reason, and therefore is most likely somehow partly complicit.

For our regular readers who know better, this may be a boring article. But I wanted to have it handy to link the next time someone asks that question: why didn’t she just leave?

Remember Dominique Dunne, the young actress who played the teenage daughter, Dana, in Poltergeist but didn’t show up for the sequels? Ever wonder what happened to her? Today, she should be turning 51. But she never even turned 23.

After finishing Poltergeist, she met and eventually moved in with a boyfriend. The relationship turned physically abusive, so she ended it soon thereafter, like everyone blithely advises women to do. A few weeks later, the boyfriend came to her home and asked her to come back. She refused, like everyone blithely advises women to do. He strangled her. It took her five days to die.

Why didn’t “just leaving” work? And was this result to be expected? Yes.

“The overwhelming majority of domestic violence happens when someone tries to leave, is getting an order of protection, or filing for divorce — somehow resisting his control,” noted Ellen Reed, executive director of Lydia’s House, a shelter for abused women. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a woman say, ‘I can’t get an order of protection, he’ll kill me’.”

Let’s go over that again. The “overwhelming majority” of domestic violence happens not when the abused party is cowing before the abuser, but when the abused somehow resists the control of the abuser. Abused people figure this out quickly, instinctively: fighting back makes it worse. Standing up for yourself makes it worse. Connecting with family and friends who might help you triggers the abuser to make it impossible, or at least terrifying, for you to see those people further. If you pack a bag so you can dash out during the night, make damn sure he doesn’t find it first, or you might pay with your life.

Because abusers see resistance to abuse as an infringement on their right to abuse, and in some cases, even a vicious attack on their personhood. That’s how warped their perception is. They fight to defend what they perceive as theirs – your agency, your right to do anything without their permission – the way most of us would fight to defend a child threatened by a murderous thug.

It’s true: sometimes leaving goes smoothly. Sometimes the abuser just curses the abused behind her back and moves on. Or sometimes they yell and threaten all sorts of terrifying retribution (which is a more traumatic experience than you realize, unless you’ve been there yourself) but don’t actually follow through on their threats. But other times:

Most spousal murders happen just as a woman is planning to leave, or actually leaving the relationship. Staying is dangerous, but usually less dangerous than leaving, hence they stay.

Now. Sources are important, so listen up: it’s painfully telling that this quote comes from an article not on the topic of why women stay with abusers, but on why women sometimes kill their abusers. If staying and leaving both put her and her loved ones (kids, pets, her parents he’s threatened to kill if she leaves) at risk of being killed, what’s the third option here? Eliminate the threat. Kill the abuser. This article I’m quoting is from people who would like to prevent “battered woman” killings – not so much out of concern for the abusers’ lives as for what becoming a murderer does to the abused person.

How’s this for irony? Feminism has saved a lot of abusive men’s lives.

Data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics tell us that in the United States, more than 1,000 women and more than 300 men are killed annually due to intimate partner violence. At one time, these numbers were roughly even. This was before women’s shelters and other services for female victims were introduced to provide an alternative avenue of escape. This fact—that domestic violence services are saving the lives of more men than women—is little noted. In any case, today, men clearly are more likely to kill their partners than women are to kill theirs.

Bold emphasis mine. This clearly suggests that the more empowered women feel to leave safely, the more likely they are to do so. Peacefully. Sensibly.

Two other factors that have helped improve statistics: people getting married later in life (with more life experience to draw from) and the increased ability of women to provide for themselves monetarily. The once very common question of “How will I feed myself (and the kids) without his income?” is less of a consideration today. It’s not gone – we can’t yet say we’ve done enough to empower women to help themselves. But we’ve made some steps in the right direction, and we can take some more.

Even in cases where no physical abuse has occurred, emotional abusers work like terrorists. In order to control their abused partners, they (often calmly) threaten to do things that non-abusive people would rarely even think of: kill the kids, shoot the dog, kill her parents, get custody of the kids and rape them, track the partner down no matter where she goes (a good threat if you know he has the resources to pull it off – some of them can be bothered). It’s truly shocking stuff designed to make an abused person realize her abuser has no boundaries, and she can’t begin to guess what out-of-bounds behavior he might engage in if she “provokes” him. And she’s typically already demoralized because most abusers cut their abused partners off from everyone who might help them.

Dominique Dunne did everything women are advised to do by people who have never been abused by someone who supposedly loved them, and she did it properly and in a timely fashion, after the second violent “fight” showed her his physical abuse wouldn’t be a one-time incident (click here for a picture of her playing an abuse victim in Hill Street Blues the day after the second fight – she didn’t need makeup). The results were that she was murdered and her murderer didn’t suffer a whole lot for it:

the jury in the case acquitted him of these charges and found him guilty only of the lesser included offenses of voluntary manslaughter and misdemeanor assault. He was sentenced to 6½ years in prison, the maximum sentence he could have received; but he served less than four years before his release, having been given credit for time served before conviction. He was then hired as a chef at a restaurant in Santa Monica, California; Dunne’s family then publicly protested his employment there, and he was fired. In interviews, Dunne’s father said that for a time he employed the services of private investigator Anthony Pellicano to follow and report upon Sweeney. According to Dunne’s father, Pellicano reported that Sweeney had changed his name to John Maura and moved to the Pacific Northwest. Dunne’s father said that he later decided that he no longer wished to squander his life following Sweeney and therefore discontinued any attempts to keep tabs on him.

I wonder about the jury’s reasoning. Were they still not satisfied with Dunne’s response to finding herself in a violent relationship? Is there anything women can do that would satisfy any twelve people in this nation?

Update 4/28/2015: a reader just sent this in as a resource for anyone looking to help. If anyone would like to submit some resources for this page that may help domestic abuse survivors in need, please feel free to submit them.

HopeLine is a program that connects survivors of domestic violence to vital resources, funds organizations nationwide and protects the environment. To date, they have collected over 10 million phones nationwide, while donating over $20 million dollars to domestic violence organizations. A great explanation of the program can be found here: http://www.verizonwireless.com/aboutus/hopeline/index.html


  1. says

    Or sometimes they yell and threaten all sorts of terrifying retribution (which is a more traumatic experience than you realize, unless you’ve been there yourself)

    Thank you for this. Psychological abuse can include ensuring that one’s victim lives in constant fear for the safety of themselves or their loved ones. This can also include physical threats and threats to privacy, property, career/educational career, relationships, etc., and using threatening language or actions to imply those threats without necessarily saying them outright.

    • says

      Very true. Especially that very last bit you mention: the smarter they are, the better they are at conveying it without actually saying anything that could possibly get you a restraining order. Or even the sympathy of family and friends, in many cases. “That doesn’t sound so bad to me” and “I think you’re reading a lot into that” are typical responses when you try to explain why you are certain this person is capable of doing serious harm, and you have good reason to be afraid.

      • Maria says

        This. And that’s one of the reasons I find shows like Tool Academy so problematic. A lot of the language the “tools” use is verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse, and not naming it as such (and acting like they can be rehabilitated if they and their partner work hard enough) is a really dangerous idea to present to teens, particularly teen girls.

  2. Casey says

    “Is there anything women can do that will satisfy any twelve people in this nation?”

    I doubt it, if a woman is stuck with an abuser and is killed somebody will say “that stupid bitch didn’t leave, she got what she deserved”, but if she leaves her abuser in a timely and reasonable manner, avoids him at all costs, files a police report/restraining order, moves across the country AND changes her name, and he still finds a way to track her down and kill her, somebody will probably say “well he must have had a good reason to go to all that trouble so the stupid bitch got what she deserved.”

    Or maybe I’m just grasping at straws/being too extreme…(but you can never be too careful/underestimate human cruelty)

    • says

      No, sadly, you’re pretty much right. If she doesn’t leave, many people blame her for not leaving. If she does leave and all that, and he still hurts her, SOME people will figure she did something wrong, because no man would go to that trouble unprovoked (which is just not true, and/or the “provocation” is something only a warped mind would respond to in that manner).

      I will say, with some optimism, that I don’t hear the “she must’ve done something to deserve it” reaction as often as I used to. I think the concept of psychos who make hurting people a sort of intense hobby has become better-known through TV shows about serial killers and other pop culture expressions. More and more people react to a story like Dunne’s by immediately assuming the boyfriend was deranged and Dunne was simply unlucky. I hope I’m right about this perception. If so, it demonstrates the power of pop culture to *improve* gender relations and social awareness, which is really why I find pop culture so intriguing.

      • Genevieve says

        And if she leaves, and he doesn’t try to track her down, and she lives the rest of her life in relative happiness and safety, but tells someone about her abusive ex, someone is going to think she’s being crazy and paranoid and probably a liar, because he’s leaving her alone now, he can’t be that bad, so she’s probably making everything up.

        No way to win indeed.

  3. Scarlett says

    I was in an emotionally abusive relationship a while ago. His MO was to say stuff like ‘the profession you’re aiming for is full of crooks, and you can do better than that. I only say this because I care’, making it damn impossible to argue without looking ungrateful.

    His emotional wellbeing was tied to my presence. If I wasn’t around, he got sad. If we did the things that I enjoyed that he didn’t, he got sad. If we did the things he enjoyed that bored me to tears and I made no attempt to hide it, he got sad. In short, the only things that made him happy was doing the things HE wanted and pretending to enjoy them.

    He may or may not have been suicidally depressed. (I’m not disputing teh existence of the illness, but he was conveniently diagnosed shortly after I exerted some independance in our relationship. In the end, I left because I realised that if we stayed together, I would forever be doing what made HIM happy. And I wasn’t even scared for my physical safety, just that without me, he would tried to kill himself. (He didn’t.) I just felt like I was responsible for his happiness and to put mine first would be detrimental to his. And if that was *all* that was keeping me there, I can’t imagine how strong a tether the threat of violence is.

    • says


      This seems to be a very common starting point in a lot of abuse relationships, especially in long-term relationships. They start off by making you do things their way (often in a calm, reasonable manner) and then progress to psychological abuse before finally emotional and physical abuse,

  4. M.C. says

    So this got me pondering how the media portray abusive relationships and I can think of only one example that shows this stuff in a realistic way: the BBC show ‘Being Human’ (though I’m sure the american remake will ruin that too).
    The thing that all three main characters have in common is that they are abused and/or abuse someone themselves. Annie is eventually killed by her fiancé Owen, who then moves on to another girl he can abuse. Mitchell kills Lauren. George manages to leave Tully, but not without having both emotional scars and a physical desease.
    It’s really a no-win scenario. Annie doesn’t try to leave but ends up dead anyway. Lauren tries to leave but can only do it by dying. George is the only one who gets out alive, but only because he has friends who help him through it.

  5. Baba Yaga says

    *WARNING: SEXUAL ASSAULT/VIOLENCE TRIGGERS* My ex was emotionally abusive and sexually predatory when we were together. He didn’t rape me nearly to death and make me fear for my life until after I dumped him.

  6. Lizzzzzzzz says

    I can’t wait to share the idea that battered women’s shelters protect men too. bell hooks is so right: Feminism is for everybody!

    But I would love to know when intimate partner murders were roughly equal. When exactly is “at one time”?

  7. kristinc says

    Here from Alas.
    “Psychological abuse can include ensuring that one’s victim lives in constant fear for the safety of themselves or their loved ones.”

    Along with shelters for battered women themselves, I urge that people should consider supporting Ahimsa House. It’s an organization that helps keep pets safe from batterers (so that women need fear less that their pets will be hurt or killed if they leave). They network with safe houses for pets in many places and provide assistance with resources for prosecuting animal abuse or co-occurring animal abuse and domestic violence, all kinds of things. As someone who at one time could not consider trying to leave an abusive relationship because my beloved cat would be left behind, I understand the huge importance of what they do.

  8. Casey says

    Something happened today that reminded me of this discussion, kinda…our next-door-neighbor (who technically is a live-in girlfriend/single mother who’s in an abusive relationship and can’t afford to move out) asked my mom if my little sister could babysit her daughter because her boyfriend’s best friend murdered his wife and her boyfriend is “really bummed” and needs to go “vent/chill out” at the bar and she’s accompanying him…just…the sheer lassez-faire attitude of these people and my mom* just astounds me…it really hit home to me how violence committed against women is seen as no big deal/hum-drum.

    *who’s contempt/annoyance/resentment at our neighbor for constantly reaching out to us in her time(s) of need (then drinking all my dad’s beer in the garage-fridge) are seen to her as an inconvenience, so much so that she says to me after the neighbor leaves our house, “UGH! Don’t get me emotionally involved in your drama” despite the fact that her first husband was abusive…then again, she apparently got out of that all by her lonesome so she’s all hepped up on bootstraps/victim-blaming in that regard.

    • says

      It’s really depressing how the peer group you’re born into kind of blesses or condemns you for life. Some women, upon announcing the kind of abuse they’re experiencing, will get lectured by all their female familial and peer group: “All men are like that. At least yours has a job! Count your lucky stars!” because that’s the expectation they’ve all been raised with (or because the women in their familial and peer group as are abusive as the men – that happens, too). Meanwhile, other, more fortunate women, will instantly get offered a spare room and help going to the police and a lawyer.

      And if you’re born into the first type of group but work hard to find yourself a better group, good luck with that – unless you learn to behave like your new peer group, all the way down to subtle unconscious signals, you will always seem like an outsider. Even if they want to help you, you might not know how to reach out to them, or they to you. It’s not enough to move somewhere else and start joining in the local activities. Something of “where you came from” keeps clinging to many people who do their best to change their lot in life.

      • Casey says

        Also, the woman in particular is a Mormon (or at least a former Mormon) and her parents/brother ostracized her and refuse to help her ‘cuz of her situation, but IDK if that’s neither here nor there.

        Jeez, I think the older my mom gets, the more progressively -ist-everything she becomes…either that or I’m simply more aware of it (which is exacerbated by the shite economy/lack of jobs and the fact that all she watches is daytime trash TV and court shows, whenever I’m home all I hear is “FUKKEN BEANERS this and FUKKEN HOMOS/FUKKEN LESBOS that and N*GGERS N*GGERS N*GGERS and worst of all I’D RATHER EUTHANIZE MEXICANS THAN DOGS BUT THIS IS TOTES NOT ABOUT RACE IT’S ABOUT CLASS AND IF ILLEGALS FROM A EUROPEAN COUNTRY WERE COMING IN I’D SAY THE SAME THING (as if that’s any better…not to mention I SERIOUSLY doubt it).
        I recall one time there was a discussion of “grey rape” on some daytime court show where the defendant said her boyfriend’s best friend pressured her into sex and my mom’s all like “OH BIG DEAL, ALL MEN ARE LIKE THAT BOO-HOO” also, when the news of a date rape on a nearby college campus broke and mentioned the woman waited like…IDK a day or so to report it she was all, “THAT SOUNDS SUSPECT TO ME”. I tried to confront her with something along the lines of, “Y’know, if something like that were to happen to me and I ended up waiting on reporting it for whatever reason how do I know you wouldn’t cast doubt/victim blame me too?” and she’s all “OH COME ON I’M YOUR MOM AND IT’S TOTES DIFFERENT ‘CUZ YOU’RE A GOOD GIRL AND BLAH-BLAH-BLAH”…so it’s slut-shaming intersecting with “parental privilege”. Oh boy.[/sigh]

        • says

          Also, the woman in particular is a Mormon (or at least a former Mormon) and her parents/brother ostracized her and refuse to help her ‘cuz of her situation, but IDK if that’s neither here nor there.

          It’s very relevant. Mormonism, as I understand it, predisposes women to see themselves as having no value other than providing sex and offspring to men. Additionally, having no family backup is awful, because then you have absolutely no recourse if you’re suddenly without income or a place to stay or need a character witness or something.

          • Attackfish says

            They’re also really big on the cult of motherhood, and sanctity of marriage. There is temple divorce, but good luck getting one. Part of what drove my father to leave the Church was the way he was treated when he was trying to divorce his abusive ex and take the kids. 25 years ago, in his town at least, it was assumed that only a monster who wanted to do perverted things to his children would take them away from their mother. The Mormon church is also huge on appearances. So long as you look like a good Mormon mother/husband from the outside, no one cares about what you’re really doing.

            I think abusers of both genders tend to work the system very ably though manipulation. Men have the system of privilege to back it up, though.

            • says

              Ouch to your father’s story.

              I think abusers of both genders tend to work the system very ably though manipulation. Men have the system of privilege to back it up, though.

              Exactly what I suspect. Abusers always have an edge in anything, because they have no boundaries. There’s nothing they won’t do to get their way, so of course they have an advantage over those of us operating under any kind of moral code.

    • says

      I went to a suburban high school primarily attended by Whites and Jews. We had deseg(regation) kids, mostly Black, bussed in from the inner city. My eye-opening moment came in my history class. One of my deseg friends came in the morning of the test yawning and drooping. I scolded him for not getting enough sleep the night before a test; doesn’t he care about his grades? He told me that at 3 AM his downstairs neighbor shot and killed his wife, and the “fucking” cops kept harassing him about was he sure he hadn’t heard the shot.

      He had no empathy for the dead woman, no concern for the murderer living in the same building as him. He was mad at the police for interrupting his sleep the night before a test. It shocked me to realize: how much violence must he have seen to be so immune to it, to be selfish in the face of it? And how could he ever get the same education as me, even going to the same school, when my home life was conducive to studying and my health, and his home life was so chaotic and unsafe?

      • says

        That’s amazing. And kudos to you for recognizing it was his background and not a deficiency in his character that gave him that perspective. A lot of people would have assumed he was just incredibly narcissistic and written him off, but he’s probably actually pretty well-adjusted… but adjusted to a situation most of us enjoy the privilege of finding shocking.

  9. says

    Anecdotally, around my parts anyway, men who have wanted to take full custody of their kids were treated as being so upstanding, extraordinary and dedicated by their friends and families. Automatically. It wasn’t really known if there was any type of abuse and no one ever thought of it. If the mother contested it, SHE was the one put under the microscope, socially.
    Conversely, mothers seeking full custody were either not talked about at all (because it’s just normal, her duty, nothing special, etc.) OR evidence of her horrible, manipulative harpyhood. The latter more if her ex was gunning for custody himself. The former was more for the “typical” divorce where the dad has no problem being the “weekend dad”.

    Either way, and the lesson here is, that the womens’ motivations are always suspect. It’s almost verboten to suggest a man wants custody for abusive reasons. Even breathing the suggestion of it makes you an anti-dad manhater.

    • says

      YES. This. That’s my anecdotal experience, too. Men who really want their kids – or really fear leaving the kids with the wife – are atypical and unusual, yet people PRESUME any man seeking custody to belong to this minority. Meanwhile, women seeking custody to control their husbands or some other abusive reason are atypical and unusual, yet people PRESUME any woman seeking custody to belong to this minority. It’s a terrific example of people overemphasizing the presence of stereotypes in women and anti-stereotypes in men.

  10. Cloudtigress says

    I think your ire at jury in the Dominique Dunne murder trial is somewhat misplaced, if the following link is any indication.


    This is a link to a Vanity Fair print article (later reprinted in Cosmopolitian and Readers Digest) written by Dominique’s father Dominick Dunne about her murder trial. I won’t go into a detailed summary of the article, since that’d be longer than the original piece (I don’t always trim my wordage like I should when posting 8) ), except to mention two things. One is that the jurors DID NOT learn of Sweeny’s past history of violence against girlfriends until after they delivered their verdict, and that the manslaughter verdict WAS NOT a case of them believing “the bitch got what she derserved”. According to the article, that had more to do with the judge in the case developing a rapport with the defense attorney and giving him almost every legal thing he asked for. Fascinating reading, if you haven’t read the article already.

  11. says

    Cloudtigress, Did the jury not hear of his prior violence to Dominique? They shouldn’t require serial violence to find him guilty of the crime. There is absolutely no question he strangled her to death. The jury had no question of this. They just decided he didn’t mean to, poor thing, men are just beasts like that.

    So, no, my ire is placed very nicely.

  12. says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    Sorry, on a re-read, this sounded really harsh in my head. I just meant that manslaughter is for accidents. Strangling someone – outside of a BDSM scenario gone horribly wrong, perhaps – is not something one does accidentally. I can’t see how the jury concluded manslaughter was the appropriate charge. I can’t imagine what they heard or didn’t hear that would justify that.

    And I suspect it was just symptomatic of the early-mid 80s thinking. We’ve actually come a long way since then in terms of understanding that a zero-tolerance policy for violence actually makes sense in relationships, as convoluted as they may be at times. Back then, I think people still thought it was a sign of passion, or just sex hormones gone wrong.

  13. Attackfish says

    Jennifer Kesler, and Cloudtigress

    It depends on the manslaughter statute. Involuntary manslaughter is accidental but easily preventable, whereas in voluntary manslaughter, is the unpremeditated use of deadly force. His lawyers argued one form of voluntary manslaughter, provoked manslaughter, in which they said that her actions or words would have provoked a reasonable person to violence before he could regain his cool. His lawyers are still full of shit. And the jury is still culpable in my opinion for falling for this. Handing some of the culpability to the judge does not diminish the culpability held by the jury. There’s enough shitty behavior to go around.

  14. Cloudtigress says


    While both you and Jennifer are right, there’s one point I picked up on from that article when it was talking about the jury that I thought was revelant to their decision, that you might have missed (or saw and decided it wasn’t revelant). At the start of the trial, the jury had four possible verdicts to choose from: First degree homicide, Second degree homicide, Manslaughter, and Not Guilty. Meaning if the jury deadlocked over whether Sweeny was guilty of the first degree homicide charge, they could compromise and go for the second degree charge instead. However, when the prosecutor rested his case, the judge granted the defenses’ request to drop the first degree homicide on the grounds the prosecutor didn’t “prove” that charge, which meant that the jury’s compromise verdict became the manslaughter charge.

    All this is a YMMV thing, of course. That’s just the way I read things in this case.

  15. says

    Cloudtigress: However, when the prosecutor rested his case, the judge granted the defenses’ request to drop the first degree homicide on the grounds the prosecutor didn’t “prove” that charge, which meant that the jury’s compromise verdict became the manslaughter charge.

    I have considered this carefully and still disagree. I also did some research that might be helpful. Here’s why the judge was actually not completely full of shit when he dropped the first degree murder charge. From:


    In Cali, second degree murder is:

    “…any intentional, unlawful killing done without justification or excuse is considered second-degree murder….. Second-degree murder can be upgraded to first-degree murder, a more serious offense than second-degree murder, if the murder was accomplished with an aggravating or special circumstance. An aggravating or special circumstance is something that makes the crime especially heinous or somehow worthy of extra punishment.”

    Those special circumstances are things like killing a police officer, using explosives… nothing that applied to this murder. Therefore:

    “If a murder does not qualify by statute for first-degree murder, it is charged as second-degree murder.”

    And “angry guy strangles ex-girlfriend because bitch still refuses to get back with him” sounds an awful lot like an “intentional, unlawful killing done without justification or excuse” to me. If you put your hands around someone’s throat and squeeze, and you’re not doing it for sexual gratification with safe words arranged, you’re intending to kill. It’s not like waving a knife to scare somebody and they trip and fall on it. But now look at this:

    “A second-degree murder may be downgraded to Manslaughter if mitigating factors were involved in the killing, such as adequate provocation by the victim, or the absence of intent or recklessness on the part of the defendant.”

    THAT is why the jury just couldn’t find the poor sweet man guilty of second degree murder – because they blamed Dominique for provoking him. That’s what Attackfish was explaining. There’s no question he committed second degree murder under Cali law. The ONLY question there could have possibly been in the jury’s mind was mitigating factors. They treated Dominique’s desire to deny an abuser access to her a mitigating factor.

    I don’t see any way around that.

  16. Cloudtigress says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    Ah, okay, that explains more what you’ve been seeing that I hadn’t. Attitudes back then obviously weren’t as aware of such abuse patterns back then, (Wonder if a jury would have given a similar verdict if this was tried today with current ‘common knowledge’ about the habits of abusers?)

  17. Attackfish says


    I bet they would. Men still get much lighter sentences for killing their girlfriends than vice versa, and that includes abused women killing their abusers, and abusive men killing their victims.

  18. says

    Cloudtigress: (Wonder if a jury would have given a similar verdict if this was tried today with current ‘common knowledge’ about the habits of abusers?)

    Sadly, I don’t think it IS common knowledge. I’m routinely stunned by how many educated people know jack shit about this stuff.

    I’ve actually been thinking about writing a primer on the 80s for those who were born too late to remember. Seriously, you won’t believe how far we’ve come. In the 80s, second wave feminists raised awareness about:

    –Stalking NOT being romantic or glamorous
    –Acquaintance rape being a reality
    –That men who cut all ties with their kids when they divorced their wives for another woman were deadbeats (yes, this was considered “normal”)
    –That if a woman got raped, that did NOT make her comparable to a totaled car from which her male S.O. should just walk away in disgust
    –That when a woman was raped, it was NOT akin to cheating on her male S.O.

    God, it was a bunch of shit. It’s comforting to realize how much the second wave actually did, but painful to realize that was the world I grew up in. No wonder I joined the cause.


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