#Talkaboutit is the international version of a project that originated under the name #prataomdet in Sweden in 2010. Its founder, Johanna Koljonen, discussed “sexual grey areas” with a friend on Twitter under the hashtag #prataomdet; eventually, hundreds and then thousands of people joined the conversation to discuss their feelings and behaviors concerning these grey areas as well as abuse, force, and doing things that one does not feel comfortable doing.
Last week’s news that Charlie Sheen threatened to kill his wife, and then the astounding news that Brooke Mueller wants to work things out is eerily reminiscent of the Rihanna/Chris Brown situation. Lots of people might be wondering why Brooke Mueller doesn’t just leave Charlie Sheen, but the fact is that she did try. And that’s when Charlie Sheen pulled a knife on her.
The sad truth is that this is exactly what happens to a lot of women in abusive relationships. Women are at the highest risk of being killed when they actually try to leave the abusive partner. It’s fairly easy to tell ourselves that “I would never let myself get in that situation,” or “I would leave someone who treated me like that.” I think that we all want to believe that about ourselves. But the reality is that life is complicated, and leaving an abusive relationship can present many challenges.
For example, many domestic violence shelters do not allow women to keep their children with them, especially if the children are boys. I recently heard a news story about a church in Flagstaff, AZ that has set up an emergency homeless shelter for children because there has been an enormous increase in the number of people living on the streets. Two of the residents in the story said that their mom is in a domestic violence shelter, but that they had to live somewhere else because they weren’t allowed to stay with her. When forced to choose between their children or leaving a domestic partner, many women might choose to stay. [Read more...]