The lesser-known truth about finding freedom from abuse

By Stepping Stones Agencies

2022 marks 42 years of Stepping Stones Agencies providing 24/7/365 advocacy services and safe shelter for families in West Yavapai County. As a new year begins, we reflect on what thousands of women and children have taught us about courage.

You’ve likely heard this question asked about women in abusive situations: “Why doesn’t she just leave?

What many people don’t realize is that asking that question is similar to  it is similar to asking someone, “Why don’t you jump off that 100-foot cliff?”

Those who work on the front lines with women, men, and children fleeing abusive situations know that they are seeking safety and support, but the fear of the unknown and of change is paralyzing. The fear of leaving is so much more intense than the fear of the abuse and chaos they’re currently experiencing.

It’s less scary to anticipate the next beating or sleep in their car than it is to leave and not have any idea of what may happen next.

For that woman, the mind, body, and spirit have subconsciously convinced her that she will die if she takes action to change her life. That is the baffling nuance that drives a life of unmanageability. Whether it is domestic violence, chronic homelessness, or drug and alcohol addiction, we are in awe of each person who comes to Stepping Stones and makes a conscious decision to change the things they can.

The person who takes the leap of surrender to something greater than themselves, even when everything in their being is screaming, “Stay where you are! It’s easier…there is too much pain and probable death if you try to escape!”

We are honored, daily, to be able to watch the grace of serenity replace the grip of pain, to hear the freedom of honesty replace the prison of deception, and to feel the lightness of love replace the heaviness of shame. We witness true acts of courage that to people looking in from outside may seem insignificant (“Well, it’s about time she left”). But thousands of women have taught us otherwise, and we are forever grateful to them for teaching us about the depth and mightiness of courage. We are better servants, teachers, leaders, and advocates because of them.

Courage doesn’t always roar

Sometimes courage is that quiet voice

At the end of the day, saying to me

“I will try again tomorrow.”

–Mary Anne Radmacher

To learn more about Stepping Stones Agencies, visit Stepping Stones provides safety, support, and hope for adults and children affected by domestic violence and other forms of abuse. Advocates available 24/7/365: 928.445.HOPE (4673).