I’m pretty sure that is not the outcome we wanted while we were all judging: “Why doesn’t she just leave? “ “What’s wrong with her?” “I would never put up with someone who hit me.” Or some equally dangerous and ignorant assessment.
Here’s the thing. Abuse doesn’t stop after she leaves. From where I sit, and from what I have observed, the abuser only stops when one of 2 things happens: 1. He dies or 2. He finds a new partner to abuse. So the increasingly irritating question of ‘Why’ is still being asked. As a lifelong advocate, it is amazing to me that we still have to answer that question. As advocates, we need a new strategy, because our community education efforts do not seem to be permeating the culture’s collective conscience.
How about every time someone asks us that we say, “Oh they leave, and he is still abusing, harassing, stalking, threatening, filing motions against her, gas lighting, brainwashing the kids, accusing her of parental alienation, accusing her of being crazy, accusing her of being lazy, accusing her of being a slut, accusing her of being a dyke, accusing her of being a bad mother, person, wife, etc., accusing her of abuse, calling child protective services, filing for custody (even though he did nothing with the kids, before she left him), name calling, crazy making behavior, calling cops on her, twisting her arm (sometimes psychologically and sometimes physically), threatens harm, abuses the kids, threatens suicide, threatens murder, withholds child support, hides assets, shows up late with the kids, sends any paperwork late, agrees to mediation and then changes his mind, puts secret GPS in her car, monitors her computer access with spyware, harasses any new friends she might make, stays in control with the judge and other authorities, because he’s the “nice guy”, ya know, kidnaps the kids, or any other controlling behavior, and sometimes KILLS her or the kids or both!
Then everybody says “she” looks like the crazy one. Ya think?
3 women a day are murdered by partners or spouse, 1100 per year! The vast majority of women are killed AFTER they leave the abusive relationship.
How do we solve the problem? The fact is that abused women are still abused even after they did what we told them to do? They left…and in many cases, the abuse is worse.