Domestic VIolence

Keep the Reasons Women Don’t Leave in Mind When Working with Abuse Victims

"North Hampton is a Domestic violence fre...
“North Hampton is a Domestic violence free-zone” (Massachusetts) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Care2’s article, 10 Reasons Why Women Dont Leave Their Abusers, a salient point is made. When we’re working with victims of abuse, we need to keep in mind not only will not everyone leave such a situation, but that there are even barriers to leaving that keep women (and men) from leaving such situations.

Many women do not have the social network to leave safely. Not only does an abusive partner often cut off a social network, but often, the pattern of returning to an abusive mate will cut them off from their network, alienate them from family members, and leave the abused woman isolated. Sometimes religious or social beliefs about marriage and or partnership will keep a woman in place.

Another barrier to leaving is the financial reality of striking out on one’s own. There may not be enough saved up to put a deposit down on an apartment. Some women will stay because they would need to go to a shelter first – and the shelter won’t allow their children to stay with her or the shelter may have a CPS investigation for the benefit of the children, leaving the woman fearful of having them taken into foster care.

We still have a long way to go before conquering the problem of domestic violence. What have you seen as barriers when working with women (and men) in such situations? Fear, naturally is a barrier. This is especially so when leaving is the most dangerous period for a woman in a violent relationship.

How can we overcome these barriers to leaving? What sorts of protections can we put in place as activists, volunteers, and officials that will help women to safely escape unsafe situations?

If you are interested in helping survivors of domestic violence, there are many different organizations to involve yourself with. Determine, first, whether you would like to work in your local community or with a national organization. You can find many of the organizations listed here.


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