In our last blog post, we discussed the question of why a woman might not leave an abusive relationship. Now, it’s also essential to look at what happens when a domestic abuse victim decides to leave. What’s next? Here is one woman’s point of view:
I didn’t grieve when I left my abusive partner. There was no time to cry. I had a baby to take care of. No job, and I moved back in with my parents, who wanted me to work on my relationship and not have my child raised in a “broken home.” My tough exterior hid how broken I already felt inside.
I lived with them for a year while I interviewed for jobs, searched for a babysitter, and found a new place of our own. I am in the lesser statistic: I was able to take my child and leave an abusive relationship with financial and physical support from my family. Not every woman in the same situation has that kind of support.
The fact is survivors return to their abusive partners an average of seven times before they leave for good. It’s mainly due to the reasons behind not leaving right away – lack of resources, fear, shared children, or love.
So, when a woman finally leaves, there are many things she will face and feel, all while trying to get back on steady ground. This includes finding a place to live, a job, a support network, childcare, and even finding time for herself. They must figure out how to co-parent with the abuser.
It’s important to understand that abuse victims need support without judgment. They often will not open up and talk about their feelings due to shame. During this crucial time, women need as much help as possible. If you know someone who has left an abusive relationship, one of the best things you can do is build awareness – for yourself and those around the victim.
Find help for her through churches, women’s centers, and advocacy groups. If you work together, suggest training for your organization to educate you and your team on some of the critical aspects of domestic abuse.
The Women’s Advocacy Center offers training modules for those who want to understand how abuse happens and the dynamic that makes it difficult for victims to leave harmful relationships. Learn more and schedule a consultation here.