Why Women Die

Artist Karol Bak

Today a White House staffer resigned due to allegations of domestic violence by two ( yes, you read that right), two of his ex-wives. These allegations included photos. The response from General Kelly regarding the staffer was that “ he is a man of integrity, and a good friend.” Others, including Senator Orrin Hatch, who the staffer also worked for, encouraged the staffer “ to stay and fight” these allegations. This attitude of denial about domestic violence is why so many women die at the hands of intimate partners. Let’s look at some statistics, shall we?

From the NCADV, ( National Coalition Against Domestic Violence) “in the U.S, 20 people are abused by intimate partners EVERY MINUTE. There are more than 10 million abuse victims annually. 1 in 3 women have been physically abused by an intimate partner. 1 in 5 have been severely physically abused. 1 in 7 women have been stalked. On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines receive approximately 20,000 calls.”

1 in 3 female murder victims are killed by intimate partners. 19.3 million women have been stalked. These statistics are staggering. Unfortunately, the response we see across the board from men like those in the White House is always the same. Denial. Minimizing. Victim blaming. Blatant lying. Cover-ups. Let’s face it, the current President has allegations of sexual assault made against him by 19 different women, while openly bragging he can grab women by the pussy. And people still voted for him.

I have made no secret about being a survivor of domestic violence. Severe domestic violence. And you know what I heard from customers in our restaurants who knew nothing about what was going on in private? “ Oh, your husband is so charming “, or, “ you are so lucky to be married to a man like that”. People see what they want to see. The culture of patriarchy and misogyny that we live in makes it easy for men like this to get away with being violent bastards behind closed doors. Almost every survivor I know has heard the same things about her offender. It hurts.

Domestic violence crosses all communities, religions, and races. People may wonder why women don’t speak out. We do. 20,000 calls a day to hotlines is speaking out. Women tell friends, family members, therapists, and the police. They get restraining orders. They report stalking. So often, all of this ends in tragedy. Why? Because this has never been seen as the blight on humanity that it is. Women are just not valued as much as men. If men were being treated this way, it would be stopped.

I found the news today to be disgusting. The response from Kelly was appalling. Typical, but appalling. This, right here, is why women die at the hands of intimate partners. What has to happen to us for us to be believed? Believed about being raped, molested, beaten, emotionally abused, bullied, intimidated? Short of filming it as it’s happening, what proofs can we offer to a culture that doesn’t believe us, or if they do, doesn’t care enough to enact laws to protect us?

I say, it’s time for this to end. I say that those of us who have survived this are fucking miracles. I’m lucky to be alive. I made it out. For all of those who have, own your courage. You know what it took to escape, and then, to heal. For those of you still in it, don’t ever give up. Tell someone. Keep going. Many of us made it, you can, too. I send love and light to all of us, millions of us, over decades of this. Centuries, really. We are fierce. And to the deniers and enablers, the perpetrators of violence, we’re coming for you. Our voices will not be silenced. Your time is over. Your Karma is catching up with you. I have two words for you. Fuck. You. ( Namaste). Judith