Abusive relationships often involve deep psychological ties and habitual living that’s extremely hard to escape, but one of the other key hurdles to leaving an abusive partner is the real, physical work of packing up and getting out.
California moving company Meathead Movers, which was founded in 1997 by student athletes, this week said it has partnered with domestic violence-prevention nonprofit Good Shepherd to help identify instances of abuse and help the victim move at no charge.
According to Refinery29, since 1999, the moving company has offered cost-free moving services to people experiencing intimate partner abuse to leave their relationship quickly and safely. However, they have now added L.A. to the territory they cover.
President and CEO Aaron Steed of Meathead Movers pointed out to LA Weekly that moving company employees know firsthand how difficult it is to completely pack up and move to another location, and it only gets more complicated when children are added into the equation.
“Not only do these services help the victims of domestic abuse but they directly impact Meathead employees — consisting of predominantly young men who believe that real men don’t hit women, real men help those in need,” a spokeswoman says.
The company, which has a sales and marketing office in L.A., says it will donate services to be doled out by Good Shepherd on a monthly basis. Those who think they might qualify will have to work through the nonprofit.
“We know how hard it is to pack up someone’s life and move it to a new location — but it’s unimaginable to think about a woman and her children trying to pack up all their belongings and flee before the abuser returns home,” said Steed. “When we realized we had the resources to help provide a fresh start for these victims, we knew Good Shepherd was the perfect organization to connect us with those who need our services most.”
He later clarified to Bustle over email that the program is not restricted to women, either. “We are fully cognizant that both men and women are survivors of domestic abuse. A few people have wondered if we will offer the same service to male victims of abuse and the answer is simple: absolutely!”
The reasons why a victim of abuse stays with their abuser are complicated. However, there’s no doubt that financial and physical barriers play a role. For someone in an abusive situation, boxing up everything and leaving without their abuser’s knowledge could be nearly impossible.