During the years I was researching my book, Home Should Be Safe: Hope and Help for Domestic Violence Victims, one of the questions asked most frequently was, “Why doesn’t she just leave?”
So many people were incredulous that women in an abusive relationship didn’t simple leave the relationship. Some thought these women actually liked to be mistreated. Others felt they had “made their bed and should be forced to lie in it.” Regardless of their opinions few people understood what held a woman in an abusive relationship.
My research provided several reasons why women stay, none of them simple or black and white. But, one of them was very simple. They were terrified of the consequences of leaving and there are multiple consequences. But, one sticks out more than all the others and it is this.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 75% of women who are killed by their abusers are killed when they try to leave or are in the process of leaving.
Think about for a minute. Regardless of how you came to be in an abusive relationship how quickly would you try to escape, especially if you had children, if your abuser had threatened to kill you if you left and you him to be violent to follow through on that threat. Who would you be willing to put in danger for you to escape? Or would you be so panicked and frozen by your fear that you could do nothing?
So, before you come to a quick opinion on what a woman in an abusive relationship should do think about what options are available to her and think about if you would be willing to help her get to safety.