Purge

Purge
© 2012 Irene & Reed
Struggle, Strength, Reclamation
Lyrics by Leslie Benson, 2009

In this moment
you tell me to run,
but I stand firm
in the face of your gun.

I see you flinch
as you lift your finger,
but my eyes are open
as you pull the trigger.

I choose
to purge you.
I won’t bend
any longer.
My purpose here
is getting stronger.

I choose
to purge you.
My purpose here
is getting stronger.
I’m getting stronger….

So wave your war toy!
Scream your battle cry!
I won’t play no more;
your rules don’t apply.

Wave your war toy!
Scream your battle cry!
I won’t play no more;
I won’t be denied.

I choose
to purge you.
I won’t bend
any longer.
My purpose here
is getting stronger.
I’m getting stronger….

So wave your war toy!
Scream your battle cry!
I won’t play no more;
your rules don’t apply.

Wave your war toy!
Scream your battle cry!
I won’t play no more;
I won’t be denied.

About the Song

A few years ago, singer-songwriter Leslie I. Benson received a long distance call from a friend. He was in hysterics. A girl he had just been on a first date with had been assaulted that night with a hammer to her face, near to the point of death, by a jealous ex-boyfriend. The man, in his young twenties, was shot dead by the police. His mother was left forever asking “Why?;” the girl he nearly killed had to have facial reconstruction surgery and would face a lifetime of traumatic memories and mistrust; and Benson’s friend was left feeling guilty for a crime that wasn’t his fault.

It’s an unfortunate truth that domestic violence has been on the rise in the last century, whether due to economic stressors paired with new mental illnesses and drug dependency, or other reasons we can’t quite understand. It’s a disturbing subject that for Benson, hits too close to home.

When you’re in an abusive relationship, you become part of a cycle. It happens fast. Suddenly, you begin feeding off each other—emotionally, psychically and physically. As one person hurts the other, the other person rebels—often through passive aggressiveness, but then feels overwhelming regret and guilt. The relationship becomes a toxic codependency.

It may start with emotional outbreaks, like an incident when one person tries to control the other. The dominant person uses emotional triggers to put the other into submission until the incident becomes a series of similar incidents that form an unhealthy pattern. The pattern is then repeated over and over until the emotional abuse becomes physical. Not only does one person now fear for their safety and feel isolated from friends, family, and the hobbies they care most about, but they may also fear for their life. And sometimes the idea of speaking out against the violence is scarier than putting up with it. It’s that “What if it gets worse?” that keeps them from stopping the cycle.

Domestic violence is a dangerous situation that is not easily squelched. One way to attempt to end such a pattern is for the submissive person to take control of the situation and make it very clear to him/herself, as well as the perpetrator, that it is not acceptable behavior. This “victim” must purge the “victimizer” from his/her life. The only way to end violence is to reject it and walk away—any way you can.

Benson wrote the lyrics to “Purge” in 2009, when—in a moment of strength—she could envision facing her own demons and letting them go.

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