During an interview with CBS This Morning host Gayle King, artist FKA twigs was asked the question that domestic abuse survivors get asked all too often: “Why didn’t you leave?” In context, it was asked by King with the caveat that it is a question that it a lot of survivors don’t like. Twigs acknowledge that it was “asked with love” but then declared, “I’m not going to answer that question anymore because the question should really be to the abuser, why are you holding someone hostage?”
Gayle King asks FKA Twigs why didn’t she leave her relationship with Shia LaBeouf
“I’m not going to answer that question anymore because the question should really be to the abuser, why are you holding someone hostage?” pic.twitter.com/6gzXGKOiVJ
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) February 18, 2021
One in four women and one in seven men will be victims of domestic abuse in their lifetime, according to the CDC, but we as a society still struggle to deal with talking to and about victims. We also enter these conversations with our own biases and feelings if those figures are in the public eye.
We also know that the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic abuse or IPV (intimate partner violence) is when they are trying to leave the situation. That is when the risk of homicide is highest.
So how can we as a society help victims of domestic violence when they are trying to leave a violent partnership? According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, here are some key things:
- Acknowledging that their situation is difficult, scary, and brave of them to regain control from.
- Not judging their decisions and refusing to criticize them or guilt them over a choice they make.
- Helping them create a safety plan.
- Help them by storing important documents or a “to-go bag” in case of an emergency situation.
- If they give you permission, help document instances of domestic violence in their life, including pictures of injuries, exact transcripts of interactions, and notes on a calendar of dates that incidents of abuse occur.
Even now, FKA twigs is dealing with defenders of her ex Shia LaBeouf, but she has been really strong in speaking about her experience and being an excellent advocate for herself. It is saddening that she has to go public with this in order to get any sort of justice or acknowledgment from LaBeouf for what he allegedly put her through. Twigs is suing LaBeouf for alleged sexual battery and assault.
What is especially telling is that what she wanted was for him to get help privately and donate some money. If he’d done that she asked, she wouldn’t have filed a lawsuit against him. But he didn’t so here she is, relieving something truly traumatic to the world because he privately wouldn’t hold himself accountable.
(image: Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
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