Many of them say no. Some of them laugh and ask, "Like what? Dumpster diving?" A few of them look down and answer softly, "not really." One said, "I do spend time with my brother." The brother who is caring for two of her three children because when she fled her abusive baby daddy, she didn't think about how it would go. She just needed to stay the fuck alive.
The ones who flee for their lives with children usually have little to no income. Maybe SSI or SSDI. Usually less than $1000/month. They have been home with the kids, so their job skills have waned. And most important, they have no one with whom to stay because their abusers have isolated them -- covertly and comprehensively. The isolation, to my mind, is the sticking point, the biggest of their many barriers. It's emotional warfare. It leads to depression and anxiety and a crippling sense of dependence -- on him.
I'm privileged to help them, to share and absorb their pain. I want them to offload it somewhere, anywhere, so they don't have to carry it.
So they can forgive themselves ... for that which most of them learned as a child. Dad hits mom. Dad controls mom. Mom stays. Mom endures it.
Some become survivors. Their path is uneven and daunting. It doesn't help that there is no affordable childcare in the Land of Plenty and that therefore they can't work and that therefore they cannot find stable housing and that therefore many of them return. To him.
I'm going to do something about that. I want to clear their path, one vic/survivor at a time.
To help them remember ... there are so, so many reasons for living.