Let’s share some hard truths here!
“Every day in the UK alone 30 woman attempt suicide due to domestic abuse” 1. This number is higher in some countries.
“Nearly half of all female homicide victims are killed in the US by a current or former male intimate partner.” 2
We have heard it a thousand times, maybe you have even said it yourself. “Why doesn’t she just take her kids and leave then?” This is one of the most toxic questions floating around.
Well, let’s delve into why after a survivor leaves an abusive relationship, there begins an even bigger and quite often more dangerous struggle that some do not make it out of. It’s a sad fact that ‘Just leaving’ does not mean that a woman or her children are free from a controlling man. What it means is the man will use every legal loophole along with non-legal ways to make this woman feel like she will never escape and that she was better off in a relationship with him.
The struggle of breaking the bonds of marriage and financial connections is a battle that can and often does take years with the woman and children being subjected to financial abuse and control which increases and causes further anxiety, depression and complex PTSD.
Can you even imagine finally finding the strength to say enough is enough and leave, only to still be controlled by the puppet master that has made yours and your children’s life hell for years? But, this time he works his evil within the guidelines of the law, policy and banking rules.
An example for you, names have been changed to protect the survivor.
‘Kelly after 13 years of marriage and 20 years in a relationship with a man that she adored, decided she couldn’t bear the misery any longer. It was now affecting her children and she could feel herself becoming a completely different person…she was frightened at who she was becoming. Her husband left at her request not before reminding her how much she and the children actually needed him. “See how far you get without me” Rang in Kelly’s ears as she struggled to heal and navigate the sea of separation.
When he left, this is when the nervous breakdown hit Kelly. She had kept it together for years in a hope that all that was going on was just an illusion. Was he right and she was just too sensitive? But, now she had time and the safety to allow herself to process the past and all that happened. She was diagnosed with complex PTSD. Kelly couldn’t understand why now that the abuser had left, she didn’t feel better, joyous or excited for the future. She spent several weeks trying to figure out how she could kill herself without it hurting her children…of course this was a futile endeavor and luckily she didn’t go through it.
As she got to a point where she knew that she needed to divorce this man, she looked for help, advice and support, only to feel more dismayed and lost. Yes, there are charities out there to give advice, a free half hour with a solicitor and such like but when you are alone and confused this really just amounts to the ‘tick box’ culture our government has developed over the years and does nothing for a survivor or her children. And here’s where the man in the story is allowed to continue controlling Kelly, her life and her children’s lives.
Kelly had to fight to find a legal aid solicitor even though she met all the criteria, it took over a year for this broken woman to find a tiny slither of hope. At one point being told by a male solicitor working for a charity that basically “she was screwed, as the job that she had before marriage was just a teaching assistant” This made Kelly question whether she had done the right thing, she feared that she had left herself and her children in a even more vulnerable position, at least financially. She cried, wailed, didn’t sleep and neglected herself as she searched hopelessly for a way out.
In a non-molestation hearing, the abuser told the judge that he didn’t have a current address but mail could be sent to his mother’s address and he would answer all mail sent there, he of course doesn’t, whether from solicitors, the court or the mortgage company. This allows him to still control Kelly as she struggles to divorce him and tie up financial loose ends. Even though she has instructed a private investigator twice, the abuser keeps moving around to avoid having to deal with the aftermath of his abuse. Once even laughing at Kelly and the solicitor saying that the emails sent had been “Going to the junk folder, go figure.” These were his actual words in an email to the solicitor.
This man has stalked Kelly and her children, in several ways, all minor enough to not warrant being arrested but serious enough to cause pain, fear and desperation in the family. From connecting himself to their TV and writing messages, to damaging Kelly’s car and cruel and insulting emails to the solicitor, but directed at Kelly. All aimed at making Kelly still feel small, insignificant and inadequate. Kelly has documented everything with the police as she is so very aware that small acts of abuse led to major acts of violence with this man but as it is now a civil matter, unless the abuse was to increase in frequency there is little that can be done. So Kelly and her children must suffer this abuse until the matter is concluded…when could this possibly be? Who knows, Kelly is now three years on this rocky path!
To add insult to injury the mortgage company will not remove his name from the details of the mortgage, which he had agreed to-all beit to keep the family where he knows they are. The bank says that she doesn’t quite earn enough, even though she has been paying the mortgage without any input from the abuser for over a year-even clearing his debts. The abuser of this family continues to use law and policy to play with this woman and children like a cat playing with a mouse before it decides to take the last swipe and kill the defenseless little creature.”
This is the ultimate knife twist in the back for a woman who is already in a place of extreme darkness and full of pain!
This is of course just a brief outline of the lived daily experiences of this family as it would take a huge manuscript to detail everything. It is hard to imagine how helpless and alone this woman and millions more feels after they have done the right thing and ‘Just left.’
And this my friends, is why survivors stand at the edge of a cliff at their favourite seaside spot and consider jumping for four hours. This is why adoring mothers jump off bridges leaving behind children that were their whole lives and this is why mothers take their children back to the clutches of an abuser and within a year they are all dead. And all society can say is “She should never have gone back”
NO! This is where we as a society should all be standing together and forcing the hand of those that make policies because we will no longer put up with laws and policies that still allow a woman to be controlled by a man in any way, shape or form. This is 2022 not 1750!
Let’s stop listing all these forms of abuse and still allow them to continue #postseparation. The time after a relationship has ended is a time where the victim and family is at more risk from not only physical abuse and murder (between 50%-75% deaths occur after separation) but also further control and manipulation that the narcissist has already inflicted upon the woman for many years. This woman has now stood up to him and…he’s mad and got nothing to lose.
Do you get it now?
Here, at Hopefull Handbags Global we believe that it is so important to share the truth of how difficult law, banks, society, and abusers make it for a woman to completely escape a living hell, we are campaigning for real change now with our #beyondbreakingbonds campaign.
If you would like to share your own story confidentially of course, please do get in contact.
If you are in or around St. Augustine, Florida watch an amazing cast on stage! The Paisley Princess; Breaking Out Of Bounds : Get your Tickets!
https://www.hopefullhandbags.org/contact/ If you would like to support our #beyondbreakingbonds campaign or find out more, please come and say hi!
https://www.hopefullhandbags.org/contact/ Together we will make a difference.