“Why doesn’t she just leave!?”
So many women have heard this question whispered from friends, co-workers and even family. The answer, much like the question, is not so simple. While scores of women leave abusive relationships every day, it can be harder for some than for others. Lydia’s House has helped women from many different walks of life, nationalities and religions. No two stories are exactly the same, but a common thread is heard in the answer to “why” some women don’t leave: it is sometimes harder to leave than to stay.
On average it takes a woman seven to nine times to leave before she leaves an abuser for good. Independence is a powerful, yet scary thing. Often times the reason for leaving is the same reason a woman has used to stay: children, safety, money. All reasons to stay but ultimately the best reasons to leave. Children who grow up in abusive homes often repeat that behavior as adults. Many women leave to keep their children from being abused and from growing up in horrible, frightening environments. Fear of being harmed if she tries to leave has kept many women in abusive relationships but that same fear has propelled women to leave as well. Oftentimes abusers control the finances to control their victims, but many women have used the desire to control their own money, and thereby gaining independence and power, as a strong motive to leave.
On this Fourth of July, we remember all of the women and children still living in abusive situations, and we celebrate the strength and courage of all of the women and children who have left an abuser and are now moving toward a life of independence and freedom.