Why Didn’t They Leave?

As the media began covering the brave escape of Amanda Berry from accused kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro, the question asked over and over was, why didn’t they leave? In case you don’t know about this story, three women, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were held captive for about 10 years in what has been called, a house of horrors.

“Why didn’t they leave” brings back memories of my first marriage, which was wrought with domestic violence. I was asked about leaving a number of times, even by the judge who granted my restraining order. My ex-husband’s acts were heinous, so why was I blamed?

Now, imagine being abducted as teens (Michelle Knight was 20 years old) hidden in a house, being chained and raped for ten years. How can anyone in their right mind, wonder why these women didn’t escape? After the length of time spent with an abuser, their fear was overwhelming.

Don't Blame the Victim - Domestic Violence

Abusers know how to brainwash their victims. They put the fear of God into them. But, what Ariel Castro did is beyond abuse. Starving these women, raping them, causing miscarriages through beatings, and never allowing them out of the house, is torture.

He kept the women separated from each other most of the time. These girls, who became women while abducted, knew only Ariel Castro and were totally dependent on him. Gina DeJesus told her family that she doesn’t remember how to speak Spanish anymore. Michelle Knight is still hospitalized after being rescued (as of today, it has been 5 days). She was pregnant a number of times, but Ariel Castro starved and punched her in the stomach causing miscarriages. Ariel Berry was raped and has a child, whom Ariel Castro threated to abuse.

By questioning these tortured women’s ability to “leave”, they are made scapegoats. They are humiliated.  And victim blaming continues.

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Connie Roberts

Professional Blogger
Living in the Tampa Bay area, I'm lucky enough to see beautiful sunsets almost every day. Although life can be difficult at times, focusing on the positive and being with my family is what gets me through.

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  1. I had seen headlines about this a couple of times. However, I was afraid to read much about it because I didn’t want to hear all of the gory details. I think it’s really hard to predict what any of us would do in an given situation. We should stop judging others. Period. Thanks for highlighting this issue with our society, Connie.
    Lindsay wrote this fabulous post..My Southern Manners: What Happens When I Leave HomeMy Profile

  2. I know it isn’t always possible to just walk away from an abusive situation…especially if you are chained up. I do know the abusive relationship I was in, I tolerated the mental and sexual abuse for about 6 months as I kept convincing myself he “loved” me. Oddly enough though, the first time he hit me I left and never looked back.
    Cindy wrote this fabulous post..Family Entertainment: Ring the Bell Review and GiveawayMy Profile

    • You are very strong, Cindy. I’m happy to know that it didn’t continue into physical abuse. But mental and sexual abuse can be just as bad, or even worse.

  3. It’s just so hard to believe that anyone would be so ignorant as to question that.
    Angela wrote this fabulous post..The Qualities of a Princess and Merida’s Royal CelebrationMy Profile

  4. It breaks my heart that people would judge these women – how dare they assume that leaving was an option at any time!

    Good for you for putting this out there, Connie!
    Becca – My Crazy Good Life wrote this fabulous post..Welcome to My Crazy Good Life!My Profile

  5. To assign them any kind of blame whatsoever is absurd!
    Liz wrote this fabulous post..Surface RT 4 Months Later… #WindowsChampionsMy Profile

  6. I can’t believe people would question them especially not being in the situation! I just can’t imagine!
    Melissa wrote this fabulous post..Summer is Almost Here! Plan Your Disneyland Trip with Red Lion Hotel Anaheim!My Profile

  7. Let’s not blame the vicims but blame the horrible creep who imprisoned and tortured these young girls.

  8. It just makes you want to say a prayer and be thankful for everything you have and say a prayer for all those who desperately need it. Thanks for reminding everyone what they true focus should be on.
    Kerri wrote this fabulous post..Shake It Up IMy Profile

    • Yes, Kerri, the statistics of missing children is astounding. Then learning that when some reach adulthood, they may be taken off of the missing person list makes me feel grateful too.

  9. Such a sad story. No one should blame the victims unless they went through this. I can’t even imagine.
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  1. […] not seen as often as the other victims and not heard from at all after her rescue, Michelle Knight became the voice of the three survivors […]