Why Don’t You Just Leave?

Welcome to Right-On with HFG Happy Families Support Network Inc. (HFG)

HFG is a not-for-profit support group that provides ongoing support to women and children who have experienced abuse

HFG is a free support group for women and children who have experienced abuse, run by women who have experienced abuse

The topic for today is – Why Don’t You Just Leave?

Leaving a domestic abuse relationship is very difficult. You have to deal with your inner dialogue as well as things people say

“Why doesn’t she just leave?” is something you hear all the time. But no one takes time to understand what it’s like for you

The inner struggle to be safe and keep your children safe from your abuser. To function while in the grips of FEAR

If only someone could climb inside your head and hear, see and feel what it’s like to try to leave an abusive relationship

That someone would be scared too and not be able to have coherent thoughts or make concrete plans…just like you

You replay society’s comments over & over in your head, mixed with your thoughts & attempted planning for leaving your abuser

Why don’t you just leave? I would never stay with someone who hurt me! This a private family matter, I won’t get involved

Your abuser said “sorry” so I’m sure it won’t happen again. It’s not like it happens every day so it’s not all that bad. Right?

Only certain types of people get abused. You must have done something. It can’t be that serious or you would leave…

If you’ve never been in an abusive relationship then you don’t understand

You don’t understand the months of secretive planning that goes into leaving your abuser

You spend months, sometimes years, working out the details of your escape so you’ll survive after you leave your abuser

Where will you stay after you leave your abuser? You have no money, who can you call? Who can you trust?

Who will understand the pain and shame of being abused?

Will your abuser follow through on the threat to take away your children? Will the CAS believe you or your abuser?

Will the Police come when you need them? Will the Police believe you/your abuser? Will the court give custody to your abuser?

Leaving your abuser is a process, not a quick fix event, you can’t just up and leave, you need to plan carefully

When you think of leaving your abuser, you wonder if you’ve given your marriage enough of a chance

Marriage is forever right? No one talked about an abusive marriage, just that you’d need to work out problems. Can’t just leave

Sometimes you see that person you fell in love with and wonder if the abuse will stop. You can’t just give up on love…family

What will happen to the children if you leave your abuser? That would just break up the family, what would happen to you?

It’s so confusing and scary! So many things to consider and plan in order to safely leave your abuser

What if you fail? What if your abuser finds out you’re planning to leave?! WHAT IF??!!…

In order to answer the question “why don’t you just leave?” you first need to know what it is like to be abused

You need to look at the effects of abuse…isolation, lack of self-esteem/confidence, threats from your abuser & the money issue

Some of you don’t leave your abuser because you know that once you leave, the abuse will be worse

Remember you were told by your abuser “if I can’t have you no one else will. I will kill you and the children first”

Do you want to risk it?! Not just your life, but the lives of your children. Who would protect you? Can’t leave, not yet anyway

You need to make sure you and your children will be safe and protected from your abuser before you can leave

Must reach out to family. Haven’t spoken to them in years. Not since you married your abuser. Will they forgive you and help?

Your abuser said your family doesn’t love you…is it true? Must try, have to keep it a secret…need to stay safe, not get hurt

Will have to tell your family about the abuse. Will they believe? Will they help? This is embarrassing! What will they think?

What are your other options? Shelter? How will you get there? Will your abuser find you? Will you & your children be safe?

What are you thinking? Are you crazy?!! The last time you tried to leave your abuser beat you up on the sidewalk. No one helped

The abuse was so bad you spent 2 days in the hospital. 2 days of questions and disbelieving looks from people who could help

2 days of shame. Admitting the abuse then covering it up…no one helped…you feel so alone and tired…maybe it is your fault

No one believed because your abuser is respected in the community. They can’t see beyond the charming personality


Instead of asking why someone doesn’t leave an abusive relationship. We need to ask more appropriate questions

Here are some questions we need to ask instead in order to support women leaving their abusers:

  1. How can we support women and children who are experiencing abuse?
  2. What systems do we need to put in place to keep women and children safe after they leave an abusive relationship?
  3. How can we train Police, Social Service staff, Lawyers, Doctors, Judges, etc., to see beyond the abuser’s charm
  4. How can we hold abusers responsible for their violent actions? How can we prevent a repeat of those violent actions?
  5. What can I do as an individual to help a woman I know who is being abused?

Whatever reason you have for staying, know that there are people & organizations in place to help you get out of the abuse

There are people and organizations that will help to keep you safe and help with your transition from an abusive relationship

When you feel strong enough and believe you can do it, please know that WE WILL BE THERE TO HELP YOU!



Join the conversation. Email your stories, comments and questions to right-on@hfgfamilies.com

Thanks for joining Right-On with HFG

We look forward to seeing you next Wednesday December 3 for our weekly Right-On conversation

The topic for next week is – Protective Systems that Don’t Protect Abuse Survivors

If you would like your story featured in next Wednesday’s Right-On please email your story to right-on@hfgfamilies.com

Please email your questions and comments to right-on@hfgfamilies.com

If you would like more information on the HFG support group please email info@hfgfamilies.com

Have a great day! HFG Hugs!!

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