Tell me something, would you swim in a pool of cruising sharks? Let's say, you don't have a choice. For whatever reasons, you're in there, amongst them. You can feel them swishing passed your legs and you can all but hear the theme tune to Jaws pounding in your ears - I wonder what survival skills you would quickly adopt. Goes without saying that panic would set in. You'd probably find yourself pinned against the edge of the pool. Knees up around your ears. Every morsel of your being on constant high alert as you ready yourself for the inevitable - a face to face confrontation with these man eating giants.
Hardly seems like a fair fight really but here's the thing - some people put other people in that exact same life-threatening position for every single wrong reason known to man. I'm referring to men who beat women, children who are forced into sleepless nights because of the monsters in the house, the real nasty silent ones, even the gutless bullies at schools these days...
Now imagine you've thrown a lifeline to that person.
All they have to do is take hold of it and be free from that hideous environment, only they don't take up the offer. Instead, they stay there, in the pool of cruising sharks, struggling to stay afloat and never knowing what's it like to sleep in peace. Why would someone do that, we wonder.
I've wondered this when thinking about women who return to their abusive partners - why would they do that if there were options for them to leave? It's not like there aren't Women's refuges to go to and, for what it's worth, a Government ready to help out financially (if you got the mindset for yet another battle). I've also wondered this when referring to people who have had the option to seek counselling over problems, how they could do it for a while and, for whatever reasons, say it's just not working and return their former selves and/or situation.
Then I realised.
What would it be like if someone yanked me out of an environment that I didn't like, was certainly no good for me, but then just threw me into a pool with no basic life skills to manage? What I mean is, if you've spent a life learning skills like fighting cruising sharks, knowing their every move, anticipating the next outburst of violence, when would you ever have had time to learn how to swim? Especially as you'd spent most your life pinned against the pool walls fending off these bastards? Any skills you would have learned would soon become redundant - you would be redundant; literally, a babe in the woods.
Like anyone, victims of violence need to feed their self esteem in order to merely breathe. Comes as no surprise then, that some of these people return to their former lives of violence because, at the very least, they are damned good at surviving it.
It's not because they're useless - any more than it is because they like the violence thrust upon them. They are human beings, like each and every one of us, and they too (I now believe) just need some time and patience and someone, even a nonchalant friend, to teach them... how to swim.