Guest Column: Family Violence, Leaving is Not Simple

Many people often ask victims of domestic violence why they stay. They are many answers.
The most dangerous time for any victim of domestic violence are the first eighteen months after leaving. When an abuser’s power and control are threatened, the violence often escalates. Death can be a consequence. Because family violence involves a vicious cycle of power and control, there are also many other reasons that make leaving difficult.


Abusers often control all the family finances. It can be terrifying to imagine how one will support himself, herself or dependent children. They may also lack transportation to leave.

Lack or Knowledge

Victims may not understand their legal rights or know where to look for help. Seeking information can also be dangerous if he or she doesn’t carefully cover his or her tracks.
Loss of kinship ties, support network, cultural community and sense of identity.
Individuals risk losing their safety net if they must leave rural or isolated communities, where supports don’t exist. The lack of anonymity in these communities can also make it hard to reach out even when supports are available.

Lack of Understanding

Many people still blame victims; they face judgement from family, neighbors, religious and cultural community, as well as fear about losing their job. They may fear being misunderstood by support staff or find services are not suited to their culture.

Misunderstanding and/or fear of the justice system and law enforcement officials.

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