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Why didn’t you just leave?

Story of my life. If I had a pound for every time someone said that to me from 2019 – present I think I could quit my job! Sad to think that, but it’s true.

As domestic abuse is a “taboo” subject, people don’t know how to deal with it. If you don’t know anyone that’s been through it or haven’t been yourself (I pray you haven’t, it’s not nice) you just don’t understand. That’s fine. It’s okay to not understand. Similar if you was telling me about space for example, I wouldn’t understand. Not that I’m comparing the two of course, just an example that’s just popped into my head.

When you do disclose to family, friends, colleagues etc one of the main questions asked is why didn’t you leave? So for anyone wondering or about to ask me, let me tell you now so I don’t have to continue repeating myself.

1) I didn’t know it was abuse. When I was with my abuser I didn’t know it was abuse. I was with the individual from a very young age so just thought it was normal. Similar to those that experience domestic abuse as a child, you would just presume it’s normal. Mine wasn’t physical so it’s harder to spot unless your educated and aware on the topic.

2) Comfortable – one that most don’t understand. I was with this individual for over 7 years of my life. I was comfortable in the relationship, used to it day to day and well my plan was just to get married and have children. My parents met when my mum was 17 and they are still together to this day. I wanted that fairytale. Even if it was more of a nightmare.

3) Fear. Okay I never really thought about leaving him loads, so I didn’t have to stop myself. But he was well known in the area, his friends were dodgy and I was worried if anything would happen to me. People say “go to the police if it happens”. That’s a story for another blog.

4) It doesn’t end when you leave. So I left before it was physical so at this stage I didn’t realise it was domestic abuse. But that’s just a prime example there, it got physical 3 months later. If I had left him years before, it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t of happened. Still to this day he’s part of my life, thankfully not in the flesh or verbally but just with having a joint property that’s now going into repossession.

5) Mental Health – throughout the whole time I experienced anxiety, depression, OCD, agoraphobia and whatever else. It doesn’t make you weak, but when your at your worse, you don’t feel strong enough to do anything.

I think I’ll leave it there. But if anyone asks why didn’t you leave again, I’ll refer them to this. Unfortunately, it will make some people feel silly for asking the question, I’m not trying to humiliate anyone. It’s just educating. You do not need to ask this question. I and the many other people who’s gone through what I have, have left now, so why ask the question?

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