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October is domestic violence awareness month

Why don’t they just leave?

I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard people say, “if my partner hit me, I would just leave.” I have probably said it or at least thought it myself. Wow, when I look back, I realize how little I really knew. Not once did I ask myself why their partner is abusing them.

I don’t think you ever have a real understanding of something like this until you or someone you love is dealing with it. I think then we start to feel differently about things.

As we mature, we learn how complicated relationships can be, that people change, and sometimes they are no longer healthy for each other. The love may still be there, and that can just make things more complex. We do sometimes hurt the ones we love but usually it is not intentional, and not to control them, and not over and over again. Domestic violence is all about one partner having power and control over the other. It is not a one-time thing. It can take one or many forms: emotional, verbal, financial, sexual, and/or physical.

Why don’t they leave?

The answer is complex, and can be for one or many reasons. Abusive relationships may not be abusive all the time; they often have periods of good times. People are in love and think they should stay because the abuse doesn’t outweigh the good times, and often children are involved. It is harder to uproot your children who may not recognize the abuse. The child, and often the extended family and friends, think the abused person is the bad parent who is causing turmoil in the child’s life.

They may stay because of financial reasons. The abused person has often been isolated and forbidden to have a job, and now they have no means of supporting themselves. Let’s say they do leave, and they can support themselves. In some cases the abusive partner will still not let them be free. They may stalk them, try to get them fired from their job, or even threaten their safety. There are legal steps a person can try to take and protect themselves, but those don’t always work – they may just escalate the danger. You now see how the question, “why don’t they leave,” is not as simple as you once thought.

October is domestic violence awareness month; please take some time to familiarize yourself with this subject. Be open-minded and realize how complicated domestic violence is. If you would like to request a speaker or just want to ask questions, feel free to call Eve, Inc. at 740-374-5820.

Tina Vincent

Marietta