“Why don’t you leave?” Is the number one question people ask domestic violence victims when the truth is it isn’t that easy.
There’s housing to sustain.
There’s bills to pay.
There’s children to care for.
There’s employment to obtain.
There’s furniture to buy.
There’s food to provide.
There’s no food banks that provide laundry soap.
He’s told her he’ll ruin her life.
He’s told her he’ll get custody of the kids.
He’s told her he’ll call child protective services.
He threatens to abuse the children.
He’s told her he’ll tell her family things. Maybe they’ll be true, maybe not.
He’s told her he’ll harass her family.
He knows where her family lives and works.
He knows where she works.
He and she have mutual friends.
He’s told her he’ll sexually assault her.
He’s told her she’ll never be safe if she does.
He’s told her he’ll find her.
He’s told her he’ll torture her.
He’s told her he’ll kill her.
He’s told her they’ll never find her body.
She has no means of supporting herself.
She has no work history.
She has a job, but it doesn’t make enough.
She has a disability and needs him to help care for her.
She needs him for medical insurance.
She needs to use the car and it’s his.
She doesn’t want to be homeless.
She’s scared to be labeled a victim.
She’s afraid of being judged.
She knows he won’t honor a no contact order.
She knows he doesn’t care about being arrested.
She knows he has access to guns.
She knows he’s tracking her already.
She knows he’s capable of killing her.
She doesn’t want to make their friends choose sides.
She doesn’t want the kids to suffer.
She wants the kids to have a father in their lives.
She’ll have to admit what’s happened.
Her friends won’t understand.
She’s not aware of services.
She doesn’t know what resources exist.
She has no support system.
She’s pushed away her friends.
She’s scared to call law enforcement.
She’s scared to tell law enforcement when they do come.
She’s scared of retaliation.
She wants to make the marriage work.
She wants to maintain ties to her church and he goes there.
Her religion says the male should be dominant.
She doesn’t believe in divorce.
She’ll be sad.
She loves him.
The criminal justice system is flawed and won’t hold him accountable.
Law enforcement doesn’t always arrest immediately.
There’s a 10-15 day window between a violation of a no contact order and the hearing.
It’s a small community.
Everyone will know.
There’s nowhere that can help.
There’s not enough resources.
There’s shame in admitting victimization.
It’s not fair for her to have to change.
Batterer education classes don’t work.
Substance abuse treatment doesn’t fix the problem.
Criminal charges don’t stop abuse.
Mental health treatment doesn’t stop abuse.
Counseling doesn’t stop abuse.
Threats don’t have to sound scary to be scary.
A look can terrify.
It’s a huge decision.
It’ll change everything.
It’s not easy.
There are so many more reasons. It’s not our place to judge. It’s our job to uplift, support, listen, love, trust, and accept. We can offer our concerns. We can offer to help. We can offer our fears about her staying. We can be her person.