Most people know what GTFO stands for, so there’s no need to state the obvious. It seemed to be a very fitting name for this site because it’s blunt and suggests a sense of urgency. I also thought it would lend itself to some clever alternative meanings (i.e., Get the Facts Out).
Grammatically speaking, GTFO is a command, an imperative statement. As in, it is imperative for you to leave an abusive partner. However, I recognize that it’s not that simple. As of 2013, the National Domestic Violence estimates that an abuse victim will try to leave an average of 7 times before leaving for good.
There are lots of reasons that people stay in abusive relationships. You can read about some of those here and here, but some of the main reasons are fear (for self, children, or even the abuser), lack of resources (money, family, friends, etc.), guilt (for “failing” the relationship), religious/cultural reasons, and the worst of all: love. When it comes to abusers, what you “love” about them can blind you from the truth about them. That’s a very difficult bond to break.
If you are the victim, you probably understand this already. You may have tried leaving once or twice, maybe more. If so, don’t worry–it’s absolutely normal. If not, good. Don’t try to leave until you are ready (except in cases of emergency).
If you are an ally, you may have no idea what would make someone stay with an abusive partner. That’s okay; you don’t have to understand why. You do need to understand your role in this. You are there for support when the victim needs it. If you try to offer helpful advice such as, “Just leave,” you will be disappointed. If you try to intervene by threatening, intimidating, bribing, or pleading with the abuser, you may actually be jeopardizing the victim. Just be there. Be ready to help when the time comes. Your love, encouragement, and support will go a long way.
So, while I have chosen a potentially insensitive name for this website, it is entirely out of compassion. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to be free. You deserve to be yourself. To accomplish those things, you will have to GTFO.
The next few posts will be dedicated to some specific steps to take in planning and executing your escape. Stay tuned.