“Why doesn’t she JUST leave?” The number one question I am asked about victims of domestic abuse, so why doesn’t she just leave?
Where will she go? How will she feed her children? How will she pay day care? How will she buy food, clothes, medicine, and other basic needs? Will he find her, and will she be safe if he does? What if he files for custody of her children? Will her children be mad that they left home? Why doesn’t she JUST leave? Because all those questions and more are running through her head. She does not have answers. She has been living in survival mode and has trouble thinking beyond “are we safe tonight?”. She is scared, terrified, and confused. She needs reassurance that she is doing the right thing and she has support in her decision. She knows that leaving is the most dangerous time for a victim of abuse.
Leaving a home of domestic violence is the most dangerous time.
According to Texas Council on Family Violence, 45% of homicide victims in 2021 had either taken steps to end the relationship or had sought intervention to enhance their safety. Thirty-eight percent had ended the relationship and 33% had sought help by seeking protective orders or making police reports. “Ending a dating relationship, separating after living together or filing for divorce posed the most significant risk for victims.” Women know that leaving is the most dangerous time in the relationship. They must be provided with safety in order to leave safely.
How do we provide safety to women experiencing abuse?
According to the Texas Council on Family Violence, 48% of victims calling a domestic violence hotline were denied shelter services due to lack of available space. Even when she makes the decision to leave, almost 50% are denied a safe place to go because there is not an available bed at the emergency shelter. The very place designed to help keep her safe and give her the tools to begin a new, safe life! So, why doesn’t she just leave?
Executive Director of FHHC, Sally Black Daniel’s Response
My response to the number one question, “Why doesn’t she just leave?” is, “What are you willing to do to help keep her and her family safe?”. She doesn’t leave because she doesn’t have the resources to keep her family safe!
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