The videos and stories of Ray Rice beating his then-fiancé Janay Palmer have been circulating on social media and news sites for a while. It shows what appears to be a man who is very abusive towards his significant other. Just weeks after the assault, Palmer married Rice. Many people criticized her for staying with a man who would knock her out cold and drag her out of an elevator. This question is often asked of abuse victims who stay with the men who abuse them. Leaving is not always as easy as it seems. Here are stories from women who were abused and why they couldn’t just up and leave like people on the outside seemed to think they could:
Lovern met a man when she was 21. She was young and in love so when he gave her an ultimatum to choose her friends and family or him, she chose him. She was told that she shouldn’t be with him and that he wasn’t a good guy, but she ignored the people who told her that. Then the abuse started. He would punch her, hit her, kick her, and sometimes even strangle her. He kept telling her that her family and friends would never take care of her the way that he did and he would threaten her when he thought she may speak to them.
One night he beat her so badly that after he fell asleep she ran to the ER. On that night she was done. She got her own place which he tried to break into. He started to stalk her. She got a restraining order and finally it stopped. She then told her family and friends what had happened.
Nicole’s husband was verbally and emotional abusive right from the start. In 2009 he began hitting her. They had two children together. One day he ordered the kids to go to their rooms and he beat her, strangled her, and pointed a gun at her for hours. He told her that she needed to apologize to him for making him almost kill her. Finally she told her mother what was going on. She knew that if she didn’t leave she was going to die or he was. She began to collect personal items and give them to her mother. She made copies of all of the documents that she was going to need. She did research while she was at work. Finally it was time to go. She filed a protection order with the court and on the day that it was going to be served she picked up her children from school and went to Canada to be with her sister for a while.
She said that she did what people say that abused women should do and left but it was not that simple. It didn’t stop. He began to stalk her. He would threaten her and tell her all of the ways that he was going to kill her. After multiple arrests for aggravated stalking he was finally put in jail. Even in jail he tried to solicit other inmates to kill her once they were out and told them that he was going to do it himself once he was released. He will be eligible for parole soon. She said that even though she left she still has to live life looking over her shoulder.
Kate was a divorced single mother. She was living her life paycheck to paycheck when she met her future husband online. He was a military officer and had a lot of money. He was romantic, sweet, and seemed to really care for her. There were little red flags that she ignored and dismissed. He wouldn’t allow her to have a Facebook account as he said it would lead to infidelity. She went along with it. They were married after a little over three months of dating and then she became pregnant with her second child a short time later. They moved to a military base. She worked from home and rarely saw any of her friends. He kept all of his money in a separate bank account and told her that they were thousands of dollars in debt. She needed to get credit cards to pay their bills. He said he would help her to pay off the cards.
Three years later they moved into a home in Florida. He again made her put everything on her cards but kept his own money in a separate account that she had no access to. He became verbally and emotionally abusive. He raised a fist and threatened to hit her so she called 911. He smooth talked the police and nothing came from it. One of the officers spoke to her and told her to get a restraining order because if he didn’t hit her this time, he would next time. She did just what the officer said. She left him. She began to drown financially with the mortgage and all of her other payments. Eight months later they began speaking again. He told her that he was coming in to a lot of money and he could take care of her and their son and would pay back everything. Two months later there was an incident between her husband and her son and she left for good.
One day she was at her apartment with her father and her husband showed up. She tried locking the door but it was too late. He held up a gun and shot her twice and then shot her father twice, all in front of her son. Both survived and he was put in jail, but she now suffers from PTSD and has to go to therapy.