Amanda Palasciano, founder of Don’t Stay Inc., discusses her experience as a survivor of domestic abuse and her mission to help others in similar situations.
Amanda Palasciano knew there was something off with her relationship. She and her partner were together for a number of years, they lived in a nice, affluent neighborhood and her partner made a healthy income. That’s what was so confusing for her.
Palasciano is a survivor of domestic violence (DV). While she wasn’t being beaten or pushed around every day, he did control their finances and influenced her ability to make decisions for herself. Palasciano was being abused psychologically and emotionally in a calculated manner that allowed her partner to manipulate her and her actions.
What Palasciano experienced is called coercive control—a tool used by narcissistic abusers to gain control over their victims. This form of abuse is often invisible; there aren’t always bruises for survivors to point to. Instead, abusers create a sense of worthlessness in their victims that makes them susceptible to this type of mind control. It’s a pattern of mental manipulation that affects a person chemically, toying with their serotonin levels until they have become addicted to their abuser to the point that they believe when something feels wrong, it must be their own fault. They blame themselves for their abusers actions and behaviors, even when it was in no way their fault. Coercive control is designed this way, and that is where the danger lies.
Domestic abuse has become all too common, with one in four people experiencing intimate partner violence at some point. They have become so normalized that many people often don’t even realize they are in an abusive relationship.
When something feels wrong in a relationship, many lack knowledge about patterns of abuse, leading victims to think they’re wrong or crazy for believing their situation to be abuse because it isn’t physical. They continue to return to their partners, who promise to be better, only for things to get worse each and every time.
Victims of abuse typically return to their partner seven or eight times before they leave the relationship. Amanda’s situation was no different, but when she did leave, she vowed to help others by creating and providing the resources she needed but couldn’t locate at the time.
Now that’s all I want to do, is help a lot of girls that I know are exactly where I was. Exactly where I was.Amanda Palasciano
In 2021, Palasciano founded Don’t Stay Inc., a nonprofit that aids victims stuck in abusive relationships by working to provide the funds to remove them from abusive dwellings into safe, stable homes. They procure funding to cover the first and last month’s rent, along with the security deposit. Supporting victims financially gives them space away from their abuser to regroup and decondition themselves, providing them with the opportunity for a new start.
Part of Don’t Stay’s mission is to also provide education on coercive control, along with other forms of abuse. They aim to raise awareness about these issues through accessible resources, such as social media and podcasts, which describe the psychology behind things like coercive control in more accessible language and context.
Palasciano is also in the process of writing and publishing a book titled All the Little Pink Flags, which is currently being uploaded on the Don’t Stay blog. With this book, she hopes to raise awareness and help others to identify the abusive situation they are in. She aims to inspire them to leave their own abusive relationships by providing them access to the tools and information they need.
“If I can just get this piece of knowledge out there, that explains to you, that lets me lift that fog for you. Because I really wish it had been done for me. Then maybe women start leaving on their own volition at that point, because after reading this book they realize that they deserve more, that they are worth more. They realize that they’re in a coercive relationship and there is this weird control, and they don’t want to be. Maybe they don’t even need my assistance financially and they’re just gonna bolt. To me, that’s amazing.”
Don’t Stay Inc. has already helped successfully rehome one victim of domestic abuse, along with her children. They are currently in the process of vetting and rehoming two other victims as well.
This success has largely been supported through donations, financial support and the assistance of others, such as Beverly Hills 90210’s Brian Austin Green, who has helped to raise funds and awareness for Don’t Stay.
You can help support Don’t Stay and its mission by donating. If you would like to learn more about coercive control, the types of abuse, or their services, check out their website.