This is the question that some people will still be asking, but the question that we should be asking is why doesn’t he just stop being abusive, controlling and sometimes physically violent?

Well let’s tell you why - have you ever heard of the term conditioning? This tactic is used by a person who strives to gain power over another person.

So, imagine you are in a new relationship, you feel a bit excited, special, wanted and important. Maybe you have had not had these feelings for a while and you are cherishing and enjoying it, you feel happy and why shouldn’t you?! This may be known as a HONEY-MOON period of a relationship. But for a perpetrator this could also be described as a grooming stage, lulling you into a false sense of security.

Once this stage has been completed, you as a victim of domestic abuse may allow the odd argument, the odd snide remark about your friends or family, what you choose to wear, where you chose to go for entertainment or relaxation - the list could go on…

After all he was so kind and loving and understanding in that HONEY-MOON stage. This phase could be described as being a TENSION BUILDING PHASE, the control has started! You attempt to appease your new-found love, change yourself, your friends, your behaviour, your self-worth, make him happy again like you had done in the HONEY-MOON stage. You have changed and all because you trusted, loved and cared and you wanted to be happy.

So, let’s just stop for a moment and imagine that instead of appeasing and changing you decide to argue back tell him you want to see your friends, your family, you don’t change your clothes or your hobbies. Well the next phase that will occur is the INCIDENT the VIOLENCE. The use of manipulation, degradation and ultimately isolation, this is going to leave you feeling lonely, shameful, useless and as though you are walking on eggshells to prevent anything like that happening again. This cycle may go on for weeks, months or years and leave you feeling confused, how can you get back to that HONEY-MOON stage that was so much fun and gave you feelings of love and happiness?

This as said could go on for years, you may have children and a home together, you may have lost all of your friends and have no income of your own and you might have started to drink or take drugs in an attempt to take away some of the pain you feel on a daily basis.

You may feel as though your options are - that you have no options! If you leave he will just carry on inflicting pain, through the family courts, through your children, through your finances, through mental health services and through the children’s social care.

During your relationship he will have told you “your worth nothing, no none will love you, children’s social care will say you are an unfit mother and take your children from you, you will have no money” etc etc etc…

Now let’s ask that question again shall we WHY DOESN’T SHE JUST LEAVE???

For lots of the women that we support, they often wish that many people in society would stop asking that question. Lets please be asking why don’t perpetrators of abuse STOP.

Women tell us that they want you to understand these cycles of abuse and the trauma that goes with it, the shame, the fear. Yes - most of all the fear he may just do what he threatened to do!!

We must stop blaming survivors for staying and start enabling them to leave.

Understanding the reasons and the countless barriers that stand in the way for any woman who are attempting to leave an abusive relationship is the important part. We will never just ask a woman to leave, we empower women to make their own decisions in an attempt to hold abusers to account for their behaviour.

Many survivors tell us they almost felt safer staying “At least I felt safer knowing where he was and what kind of mood he was in” or “I learnt to keep myself safe”.  Clearly the question is why doesn’t the abuser stop not why doesn’t she just leave?

THE REASONS

THE BARRIERS

Fear

A lack of refuge space

Shame

A lack of understanding

No money

Not being believed

No home

 Lockdown and COVID

Safety of my children

 Denial

Whatever the reason or barrier, Next Chapter is here to support and talk through these factors. We will walk by every step with you and help you overcome any reasons or barriers for staying. 

So just remember, if you are going to start meeting up with friends or family once lockdown restrictions begin to lift - if they disclose they are a victim of domestic abuse or you suspect that something may be happening, don't ask the question "Why don't you just leave?" but instead talk them through this blog and let them know that you understand. 

For help and advice please call: 

Compass - 0330 333 7444

Next Chapter - 01206 500585

In an emergency, dial - 999