Agoraphobics are afraid of public places. Some can’t leave their homes and remain locked behind closed doors, ordering out, having the pizza man leave food at the door. This condition is real. Now imagine what happens when their building catches fire. Imagine the smoke penetrating their eyes as their brain struggles to calculate what to do. Imagine the horrific fear they must feel as some other force beyond their control decides whether they live or die. Imagine that and apply that same feeling to people stuck in abusive relationships.
Family violence in Cherokee County is just as real as the agoraphobic in a burning building. Some of us (and I am guilty from time to time) wonder out loud how in the hell someone can stay in such an abusive relationship. “How can you let him order you around like that?” “How can you let her flip out and push you like that?” “How can you both sit there and exchange blows one night and act like nothing happened the next?” Oh, yes, family violence is alive and well in Cherokee.
The Courts here treat some family violence cases like a dog bite – one free bite, meaning probation and a chance to get the case dismissed if you behave. After that, you’re on the shit list. And rightfully so. As far as the victim is concerned, you want so badly to say, “the dog who bit once will likely bite again.” You want to say, “Get out now. It’s not doing either of you any good.” But then you think of the agoraphobic, the fear. And you realize it’s easier said than done.