One woman. One horse. 48 states for Domestic Violence Awareness

Check back often for the latest updates and stories from Meredith and Apollo as they journey 10,000 miles on a four year ride around the USA.

A Real Life Nightmare

One of the most misunderstood aspects of domestic violence is "why doesn't she leave?' 

This simple sounding question has a very complex answer, although of course the specifics vary by situation.  There are many reasons why a victim may stay with her abuser, even if she fears for her life while around that person.  These include not having a safe place to go (if the alternative is homelessness, especially when children are involved), not having a job or other financial resources to move, and perhaps most commonly, the threat of greater harm to the victim (and/or her children) if she leaves. 

For myself, the last was my biggest fear and obstacle to getting out.  Even once I had a plan, and a backup plan, for where I would go and how I could make it work so I didn't lack for food or shelter, I was afraid of putting it into action.  It's one thing to live in a dangerous home, knowing you will be battered daily.  It is another to step into the unknown territory of leaving - what if your abuser can find you? 

Leaving is statistically the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship.  When the abuser loses daily control over their victim, they are more likely to murder them in retaliation.  And the victim knows this: she will typically have been told this, either directly or by suggestions, throughout the relationship. 

A clear example of the threat under which a victim lives has recently been made available by a British policeman who shared a photo he took when they responded to a domestic violence call.  Check out the photo and article here.  Then imagine living in that home, and the clear threat of what would happen if you tried to leave and failed.

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