As a writer, I often write stories about women who suffered from violence in their homes. The usual question is “Why didn’t she leave?”
In our country the option to leave was not there until the 1970s. Even then, it was difficult. It was not a subject much known about or publicised.
There are many reasons why women did not leave, and sadly, in today’s society there exists a “blaming the victim” syndrome which saddens me. I have, in the course of my work and research, (it was my doctoral research subject) met many women who simply had no relatives or friends, no job, and were unable to leave.
One of the most misunderstood things is why women don’t just leave, and, as a former worker in this field, I want to say that the reasons are many and complex.
My own mother had me as a baby, abd my father was violent. She wanted to leave him. I was born in 1948 and in those days you were seen as the lowest of the low if you left your husband. It was a shameful thing to do, whatever the reason.
My mother went to her doctor for help, and he knew her history, he desperately wanted to help yet could not. There were no places for a woman with a young child to go. My father continued to be violent, with horrific results.
Today, there are opportunities for women to leave. But psychologically it is impossible for some of them.
I will just add that Women’s Aid was not foubded until 1974.