For those who haven’t ever experienced domestic violence or been exposed to it, it can be very hard to understand how this is still happening in our society.
I have often heard people question why a woman wouldn’t just leave if she was being physically, sexually or emotionally abused. Surely, if they choose to stay it can’t be that bad?
That is a fair question for someone who hasn’t had exposure to domestic violence.
Firstly a large component of domestic violence is not only physical abuse but also financial. Consider this – you have children with the man you married who works hard to support the family. You have a home for your children, you have them clothed and fed and attending school every day. They are safe. Your husband bashes you – maybe when he drinks a bit too much, maybe when he gets angry after a hard day at work, maybe because he has mental health issues which he doesn’t know how to deal with. He doesn’t hit the kids and he always says sorry. It’s not ok, nothing about it is ok and you have the option to leave. But if you do, you have nowhere to go. Financially you have none of your own money because he controls all of the family finances. The women’s shelters are full and there is a very high chance that you will be taking your children and living in a car or on the street. How do you keep them safe, fed, clothed and at school when you have no money or home? Would you leave if that was your option or would you stay until the children were older?
The abuse is so much more than physical.
Or maybe you don’t leave purely because you are safer with him than leaving. How could that be the case if you’re being bashed and raped by your own husband every week? How is that safe? Well if you leave he has said he will kill you and the children, and you know he will. Or maybe he might just kill the children so that you can live that pain for the rest of your life. The statistics tell us that the months following separation are the greatest time of risk for escalated violence and death. If you can just hang in there and secretly get help maybe just maybe you might survive and have a future.
Would you leave?
As a child I was unfortunately exposed to domestic violence by someone outside of my immediate family, but I am lucky enough to say that as a grown woman domestic violence is not a part of my life. It is hard to put yourself in other people’s shoes and truly understand why people make the choices they do. But in relation to domestic violence we must not judge the women who are in these horrific situations or their inability to leave. We must support them in any way we can, for however long it takes.
We must educate our children on topics of personal safety, anger management, respect of women and equality.
Women’s Legal Service do amazing work to assist women free themselves from these situations…safely. I am very grateful to be involved in their largest annual fundraiser Dancing CEO’s. 12 CEO’s are dancing up a storm in front of 850 people to raise money that will be used to provide legal support for women experiencing domestic violence situations.
I would love for you to get behind me and with any donations you can make by clicking on this link below: