There are many issues regarding domestic violence, but the one that, to me, is most infuriating, most unfair, and most misunderstood is the most commonly asked question of all: “Why didn’t she just leave?”
But that should not be the question. The question should be, “Why do men batter women?” and as a society, “How do we stop it?” That’s what we should be asking.
Why don’t they leave? There are many issues involved, and very complicated ones involving children, jobs, finances, threats, fear, manipulation, no place to go, no place to hide, no place to be safe and either the perception that there are no alternatives to the situation abused women find themselves in, or indeed the reality that if they try to leave, or in fact do get out of the house somehow without being detected, they will be hunted, found and brutalised like they have never been brutalised before—including losing their life altogether—a disturbingly common occurrence
Why didn’t she just leave?” I find it most interesting that no one questions why a 10-year-old child doesn’t leave when being sexually or physically abused at home. No one questions that. Women don’t leave relationships for the same reason kids don’t often run away from home: they’re scared; no resources; no place to go; no way to get there; and more than anything else, they need love. All humans do, but especially the young and the vulnerable, and of course, the abused and neglected. They need love and a place to fit in. Many battered women are, in fact, very much like children: they don’t know how to leave; don’t have the confidence or resources; and they are incapacitated by fear and uncertainty—and for good reason: they’re being threatened over and over, day after day, with yet more punishment if they ever attempt to leave.
So I urge those who question why women don’t leave to reconsider what they are asking. Consider, first of all, that YOU are not THEM. You can’t possibly know what it is like unless you, too, are suffering from BWS and the debilitating restraints on clear, rational thinking. Women in these situations are anything but rational—they are delusional. What we need to do is recognise this, stop victimising the victim, and start talking about this pressing issue so we can begin making the necessary changes in our culture that lead to awareness and solutions.
White Ribbon Australia is leading the way with fundraising and education against violence to women. Their mission is to achieve create a nation that respects women, in which every woman lives in safety, free from all forms of men’s abuse, we engage in primary prevention. We look to stopping the violence before it starts. Preventing violence against women requires a broad approach involving primary prevention educational programs, engaging men, community services and lobbying for law reforms through our advocacy work.
White Ribbon Australia uses the definition of violence against women found in the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.
Violence against women affects women’s well-being and prevents them from fully participating in society. It impacts on families, the community and the nation. Violence creates severe amount of stress and angst if those suffering.
Violence against women is a gendered issue
To prevent violence against women, we must understand its gendered nature.
Women are far more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner, and with more severe impacts. Women are more likely than men to be afraid of, Hospitalised or even killed by an intimate partner.
Around 95% of all victims of violence, whether women or men, experience violence from a male perpetrator.
White Ribbon Night (last weekend of July) is the largest fundraising campaign. We encourage you to host a White Ribbon Night with your friends, in your workplace, at your school or with your sports club to raise valuable funds.
Follow the link below to register!!
If someone you know is struggling or a victim please reach out and offer your support it could be the one thing that saves a life, don't try to put yourself in someone's situation, support is the best thing we can do for those in need.
1800RESPECT/1800 737 732
24 hour national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.