When we think about women who are in violent relationships, one of the most common questions people ask is “Why she doesn’t just leave?” Unfortunately, domestic violence is a complex issue, meaning the solution is rarely as simple as just moving away from the abusive person.
Domestic violence is an umbrella term covering more than physical violence alone. It often means a combination of abuses that are physical, emotional, social and even financial. This means a mother in a violent relationship can be terrified to leave because she (and her children) have been threatened or otherwise coerced. She may have been systemically cut off from friends and family who would support her. And she may not actually have access to the funds she needs to get away safely.
Put yourself in her shoes, just for a moment.
- You are terrified, maybe even injured and you know you need to get out.
- The abuse is escalating.
- You have little children, perhaps a baby and a toddler.
- If something happens to you, what happens to them?
- But where can you go?
- You’ve gradually lost contact with your friends and your partner caused a huge falling-out with your family.
- There’s no one you can speak to beyond a polite hello to the neighbours – and even that seems to upset him.
- As for money – you don’t even know where he hides the keycard, let alone the PIN.
- If you went to the bank with your ID, would they let you access your joint account, or would they ring him first? Can you risk it?
For many women, there doesn’t seem to be a way to leave. Domestic violence has isolated them in every way possible. Leaving can seem even more difficult than staying. There are resources and services available to women leaving abusive relationships. The period immediately after leaving is one of the most dangerous times for survivors of domestic violence, so it is absolutely vital that they have a safe place to go.
This is where women’s refuges and shelters play a pivotal role in supporting women and children fleeing domestic violence. These facilities are receiving women and their children often with nothing but the clothing on their backs and little, if anything, else. They are under-funded and rely on the goodwill of our communities for additional support.
This Christmas, many women will be spending the holidays in a refuge or shelter, often with their children. There are several excellent charities that organise toy drives to provide children with gifts, making sure they don’t miss out on the excitement of Christmas morning. Share the Dignity, however, aims to care for the women in refuges and shelters during the holiday season.
This is what the #ItsInTheBag campaign is all about. Filling a new or gently used handbag with practical necessities for women in need. Everything from tampons to toothbrushes. You can even add small gifts like vouchers, perfume, accessories or makeup items. By donating a bag, you can reach out to a woman who has lost so much. You can replace a few of the small items she’s doing without but more than that- you can let her know that she matters. You can remind her that someone out there really cares about her. And that is priceless.
Guest post written by Amy Ahearn
Amy is a content writer for Baby Hints and Tips, a community sharing tips, advice and encouragement for new mums and mums-to-be.
Find out more at: https://babyhintsandtips.com