When facing the decision to leave or remain in an abusive situation, it’s a choice that is multilayered and rarely easy to make. Sadly, women are nearly twice as likely to experience the most severe types of partner violence as men. Add on the fact that children are often involved in these situations, and the complications around leaving a dangerous home setting become even more complex.
Abuse is never the survivor’s fault.
Women who have been abused are not weak or “asking for it” – anyone can end up abused. Rather, these survivors might be hoping that things will get better or that their partner will stop the abuse on their own. Sometimes it can feel safer to stay rather than risk leaving the home. There can be elements of guilt and shame attached to these situations, too, from people around the survivor who question why they stay (called “victim blaming”) or thoughts of “if only I just did this one thing, my partner would change.” But people who have experienced any of the forms of domestic violence – physical, emotional, sexual or psychological – know that leaving an abusive relationship isn’t straightforward.
If you need immediate, emergency assistance, visit ShelterSafe.ca for a list of local women’s shelters. Staff and volunteers at shelters are there to listen and offer emotional support, information and referrals to other services that may be needed such as legal, financial and housing.
Survivors need help beyond crisis intervention to be self-sufficient.
Women need economic security and independence to improve their chances of living free from abuse. Consider how tied to a job one can be, when the possibility of losing regular income comes into play. This fear and dependence are multiplied when abuse in involved. A person may feel that, if they leave, they will have no way to support themselves and their children.
Assisting survivors toward financial independence and security means flexible approaches that can respond and recognize differences in each woman’s strengths and challenges. We can help you explore your options.