This week, we wrap up our series on domestic abuse.
The idea for the series started with a story out of Barnstable District Court back in early August about a Sandwich man accused of the serial abuse of three women over a 10-year period who was ordered held without bail until his trial later this year.
The following week, we ran a story that featured interviews with two of the three woman he is accused of abusing.
In the weeks that followed, we published a story about an abuse victim calling for a “batterers registry” that would require convicted abusers to register publicly, similar to that of the sex offender registry; an editorial exploring the registry idea further; and a story that included interviews with lawmakers, lawyers and police about the challenges in finding a workable solution to the domestic abuse problem.
We finish the series this week with more stories from victims. The original plan was for this story to be in a vignette format, with snippets from many victims. But in the end, we found that some of the victims we contacted were reluctant to talk.
For some, it was out of fear; others, out of hopelessness. Many also worry about the stigma associated with domestic abuse.
“Why didn’t she just leave if it was that bad?”
“Why does she put up with it?”
“It’s partly her fault if she won’t leave him.”
Questions like these are not uncommon when domestic abuse is discussed.
There are many answers to the first two questions. They include: It’s complicated. She can’t afford to. She has nowhere else to go.
For the last question, the answer is an unequivocal “no.” The victim is not to blame. Not one little bit.
But sadly, society sometimes doesn’t hold victims in high regard.
That needs to change.
To the brave women who chose to share their stories in our series, we thank you. You have done a great service in opening our eyes more to the problem that exists around us.
To the equally brave women who were not ready to talk, we hope that you can see that you are not alone, that there are others who have walked similar paths and have found their way to safety. There is always hope.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We could have delayed our series to line up with this fact, but we felt time was of the essence to let these stories run.