Honor those who choose to flee violence

Published 7:33 pm Saturday, May 9, 2009

As Mother’s Day approached, children were scrambling to find just the right gift, card or sentiment to express their love. Since its official national inception in 1914, Mother’s Day has been a day to express love and appreciation for all those little things mothers do to care for their children. Some of us go so far as to wish a happy day to our aunts, sisters, grandmothers and friends whom we feel are exceptional mothers.

But during this time of year, seldom do we hear about the millions of women who have done all they can to protect their children from abuse. Most mothers who have escaped relationships riddled with domestic violence have done so for the sake of their children.

For years, they’ve suffered hits, slaps, punches, kicks, name-calling, isolation and other detestable acts. Then one day the abuser rears back at a child. Or perhaps the abuser threatens to take the children. Or the mother realizes she can no longer allow her children to see her treated in such ways.

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In the first few months of 2009, The Genieve Shelter has helped 13 mothers flee violent relationships. Mothers who flee make some of the hardest decisions of their lives. They have chosen to leave a man they once loved. They have chosen to become single parents. They have chosen to become solely responsible for their own and their children’s lives. Mothers who turn to domestic violence shelters for aid tend to feel ashamed and weak.

However, these mothers should be commended, not only for their love and compassion, but for their bravery. If it weren’t for the courage of these women, they and their children would remain in abusive situations.

While we are all out recognizing women in our own lives, by buying gifts, choosing just the right card or sending flowers, we need to remember these women. Today, we should take a moment to be aware of other mothers who are attempting to find better lives for themselves and their children by fleeing domestic violence.