When it is a viable option, it is best for victims to do what they can to escape their abusers. However, this is not the case in all situations. Abusers repeatedly go to extremes to prevent the victim from leaving. In fact, stories from our clients suggests leaving an abuser or threatening to leave an abuser is the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence. Out of seven domestic homicides in 2016/17 families suggests that victims were planning to leave the relationship, however they were also afraid there was no safe space to go and their abuser may find them.
Victim's reasons for staying with their abusers are based on the reality that their abuser will follow through with the threats they have used to keep them trapped: threats such as - the abuser will hurt or kill them, they will hurt or kill the kids, they will win custody of the children, they will ruin their victim financially -- the list goes on. The victim in violent relationships knows their abuser best and fully knows the extent to which they will go to make sure they have and can maintain control over the victim. The victim literally may not be able to safely escape or protect those they love.
In 2018 we worked with forty two (42) domestic violence and seventy one (71) in 2019, this is what we learnt from our interviews.
The fear that the abuser's actions will become more violent and may become lethal if the victim attempts to leave.
Unsupportive family and friends networks
Knowledge of the difficulties of single parenting and reduced financial circumstances
The victim feeling that the relationship is a mix of good times, love and hope along with the manipulation, intimidation and fear.
The victim's lack of knowledge of or access to safety and support
Fear of losing custody of any children if they leave or divorce their abuser or fear the abuser will hurt, or even kill, their children
Lack of means to support themselves and/or their children financially or lack of access to cash, bank accounts, or assets
Lack of having somewhere to go (e.g. no friends or family to help, no money for travel as the country is small and one can easily be found,
The women's support shelter was full or limited by length of stay
Fear that homelessness may be their only option if they leave
Belief that two parent households are better for children, despite abuse
Inconsistency of abuse; during non-violent phases, the abuser may fulfill the victim's dream of romantic love. The victim may also rationalize the abuser is basically good until something bad happens and they have to "let off steam."
In 2020 we need your support to expand our shelter program and to ensure every victim has a place to go.
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