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Why don’t women just leave?

It is THE number one question people have been asking for years.  The question that everyone asks themselves who has witnessed or experienced family violence.  Rehabilitating men and families.  Trying to understand yet never fully comprehending. The very first question that comes to mind when women share their experience.  “Why don’t you just leave?”  Logically it makes sense, but how do you use logic in an illogical situation?  Doesn’t work.

If after all this time people are still asking the same question and getting the same results, maybe its time to stop asking that question and start asking why do somemen think its ok to abuse women?  Why do some men think it’s okay to abuse the mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties, grandmothers, nieces in their families in New Zealand?  (NZ has one of the worst rates of family violence in the developed world).  Why is it the women who feel ashamed, belittled, humiliated, unable to share their experiences for fear of not being believed or worse rejected by the people who they finally find the strength to open up to.  Shouldn’t it be the men that abuse their families who feel those emotions? Do we need harsher sentencing and consequences for perpetrators?  I sometimes wonder if they know what they are doing because they seem to be able to control it as it mostly happens in the home environment, behind closed doors,where the woman and children should always feel safe.

These blogs are never to blame people but more to try to understand the situation.  Once there is an understanding hopefully, we can come to a solution.  I think back and think ‘what would I have done in similar situations if someone had come to me?’ I would have supported her as best as I could, I would have told her to leave, that it was crazy to stay in such a toxic situation.  After a while when that didn’t happen (as is often the case) I would probably have distanced myself from the person and situation for my own mental wellbeing.  This is how we react in New Zealand.  This is why we have such an enormous problem with family violence compared to the rest of the world.  How did this become ok?  How did we get to the point where we let our own women down, our strong mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties, grandmothers and nieces, who should be loved, admired and supported?  One in three women have been through some type of family violence by a partner in New Zealand in their lifetime.  That means we all know more than one person who has been left to feelhumiliated, belittled, ashamed and unloved at some stage in her life by her partner.

I wish I had the answer to the above question.  There are just so many dynamics to that question I wouldn’t be able to answer it fully and fairly for everyone who has been involved in this situation.  In my experience it crept up on me and I was in so deep, so fast, I just didn’t know how to safely get out without myself or someone close to me getting hurt.  CYFS would also have to be notified if there was family violence in the home, leaving the mother with the fear of losing her children. I can only share from my experience and as one can imagine, every situation and experience is different.   I reached out and contacted the police at one stage to ask them to help get him off my property.  They were bound by law that if he was legally living on the property at the time then they couldn’t remove him.  I would have to eventually go home and experience the repercussions from him before they could do anything.  Leaving an already emotionally exhausted me in between a rock and a hard place.  I was scared to go home but it was where I lived.  I needed to be home.  I know there have been a lot of changes since then with the law, but for some reason it just hasn’t made a difference to the level of family violence in New Zealand.  Every woman who has experienced family violence has her own story to tell. I hope by talking openly and honestly about the situation we can all work out how to prevent this.  Change the way we think, react and respond, because I don’t know about you, but I never want to hear that someone is going through it and unfortunately the reality is we all do know someone.

I wanted to also take note of the men in New Zealand who would never dream of hurting their women and children. To the men out there that are caring, kind, loving, supportive and protective, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.  You are the men that New Zealand needs.  You are the fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, grandfathers and nephews that help to build strong women, families and communities. We appreciate you so very much.  Your kindness and support never gounnoticed.  Thank you for making us smile and supporting us so we are able to grow into even strongerwomen.

Love, light & laughter

Rene

Director

Zen & Stone Limited

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