It would seem that mass repressions in Belarus, which became a response to peaceful protests, had to teach society that the perpetrator of violence is always to blame. Over the past two and a half years, a lot of texts have been written about how the mechanism of state repression is similar to domestic violence.
But to this day, I hear the question over and over again, “Why doesn’t she leave?”, when it comes to a woman living in a situation of violence. And no matter how illogical this answer sounds at first glance, they don’t leave because they want to live. With roughly the same motivation, Belarusians now refuse street protests. And we – those who are abroad – ask people to take care of their own safety first. Ideally, of course, we recommend going out. But if for some reason a person doesn’t want to or can’t do it, then we ask you to at least avoid danger on the spot as much as possible.
And what do we advise people who still decide to run away? Be silent until they are safe. Make sure that the authorities do not find out about this plan in any case. The same rules apply to women fleeing domestic violence. A woman should be told that she has had enough, that she cannot and does not want to do this anymore and that it would be better to get a divorce or simply run away, as the risks of being severely beaten or killed instantly increase.
In order to improve one’s own chances, one must lead a double life and plan salvation in the second life. Save money, make and keep copies of all documents in a safe place, always have your passport with you, come up with a future storage and security plan. And how many people have the opportunity to lead this second life? The aggressor often cuts off the victim’s social connections and makes her believe that she is not needed by anyone. But it is not so easy for her to really believe that the person she once loved can kill her.
But he will be able to. Yes, it recently became known that last summer a Belarusian brutally killed his wife in front of their son after she said she wanted a divorce. And this is not a unique incident – you can easily find similar stories in neighboring Russia and faraway Mexico.
By the way, the Belarusian was sentenced to 15 years in prison, because various mitigating circumstances were taken into account, and no aggravating ones were found at all. It turns out that if, in the presence of your 9-year-old son, you inflict at least 26 blows on his mother with an ax, knife and other objects, you will be saved in court by a good report from the workplace and a mandatory appearance. True, during the appearance you will say that you did not intend to kill your wife, but it will still count in your favor.
And no, of course, I’m not going to say that you don’t need to leave the aggressors. We must teach girls from an early age that they deserve only the best treatment and that violence cannot be an expression of care or love. But if an adult woman still finds herself in a situation of violence or even simply does not want to be in a relationship anymore, she cannot be blamed for the fact that she will not leave anyway.
Better show her that you are always on her side, that your house can be the very shelter where she will live for the first time after the breakup, and that you will help her with a safety plan. This will be a real benefit. And she herself knows that it is necessary to leave. As we all know, you cannot put up with a dictator in power.
Thoughtsexpressed in the blogs, convey the views of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position.