16 Days: Call to Action – Day 15 Start a discussion with your friends around the question “why doesn’t she leave” – see resources attached below. In the meantime, let’s explore that.
First and foremost, to answer simply; there are a myriad of reasons that a woman doesn’t ‘just leave’ and IT IS NOT EASY. This includes threats made by the perpetrator and the increase in danger at the time of leaving as the perpetrator loses control. In addition, often assistance is needed to have a safety plan.
Perhaps this is not the question we should be asking.There is a growing concern that we need to shift our focus from attempting to justify or explain a woman’s inability to extricate herself from the abuse and instead move our focus onto questions that we are NOT ASKING which may be perpetuating the abuse in the first place. We were fortunate enough to have Guest Contributor Kellie Mills available to give some insight around this. For those just joining us, have a look at Kellie’s amazing work through her 100 Alice Stories Project seeking to Empower and Inspire Survivors of Domestic Violence and Encourage those currently experiencing Domestic Violence toward Future and Hope.
Why doesn’t she just leave?
Guest Contributor, Kellie Mills
Whenever there is a discussion around domestic violence I generally hear someone ask the often well-meaning, but ignorant question ‘why doesn’t she just leave?’ For those people who have never experienced abuse, it’s hard to understand why anyone would tolerate living with financial, emotional, sexual or physical abuse and control.
The big problem is that they are asking the wrong question.
The question shouldn’t about the victim and what she should do, as it places the responsibility on her to get out of an intolerable situation.
The real questions we should be asking are:
Why is he doing this to her and thinking it’s acceptable?
What are we as a society doing to stop him?
Why do we minimise the violence but adding in the term ‘domestic’?
What support are we providing for the victim and (in many cases) her children?
We also need to increase the general public’s awareness of how strong the control factor is in most of these relationships. In the nearly 50 Alice Stories we have received so far, we have read about varying levels of financial control – women with no access to money or the opportunity to earn any; isolation – from friends, family and community; and above all, fear of something horrific happening to either themselves or their children or other family members if they try to leave. Statistics show that this is when women are most vulnerable, as the perpetrator’s abusive behaviour increases as they start to lose the control.
So next time you hear some ask the ignorant question, you might want to help educate them on how things really are.
Kellie Mills, Founder 100 Alice Stories Project.
Want to understand more? Here is a great resource for review
Still want to know Why she isn’t leaving – here is a tool which may assist in understanding a FEW of the issues which may be preventing her day-15-action-why-doesnt-she-leave