Why Doesn’t He Leave?
This post was first published here - thanks to @STforgirls for permission to cross post.
Imagine if we said “why doesn’t HE just leave HER’ in cases of domestic violence against women
Why doesn’t he leave?
Imagine if instead of saying “why doesn’t she leave him?” we said “why doesn’t he leave her?”. Imagine if we thought that the men who bully, threaten and intimidate women are responsible for their actions and that they should be the ones to leave.
Imagine if wondering why she puts up with it, we wonder why he does it in the first place.
Unsafe houses for him
Imagine if there was there a place they could go - unsafe houses for abusive men. A place that would remove them from the situation to eliminate the risk of continuing violence against their current partners and future partners. A half way house between home and prison. Imagine if they were responsible for leaving their children behind. Imagine if these unsafe houses got government funding to run. Imagine if they were run by people trained to help men to take responsibility for their actions and get either professional help or punishment.
Emergency housing for him
Imagine if councils offered emergency housing for abusive men who felt they were at risk of abusing their partner again. Imagine if men were encouraged to get help when they needed it. Imagine if we thought that was okay.
Imagine if we heard people ask “why didn’t he leave earlier?” and “why don’t his friends help him leave?”. Imagine if we made helpful suggestions like “couldn’t he move in with his dad?”, “could he talk to his brother about it?”, “isn’t there somewhere he could go?” or “has he tried ringing the national helpline? Imagine if instead of thinking victims are silly for thinking their partners will change, we held men responsible for actually changing. Imagine if we thought this change was possible.
A men’s issue
Imagine if we thought that violence perpetrated against women by men was a Men’s Issue. Imagine if men became passionate and enthusiastic about solving this problem. Imagine men’s charities devoted to solving this Men’s Issue springing up all over the country. Imagine men collecting money for these charities, setting up unsafe houses, manning helplines and setting up advice centres for men who want to leave. Imagine male journalists and bloggers writing about it and tweeting about it. Imagine having a men’s minister dedicated to solving the problem.
Imagine well-funded and well- publicised university research into why men abuse their partners and what makes them stop. Imagine the tabloids enthusiastically reporting on this. Imagine government-funded public campaigns aimed at men urging them to get help.
Imagine if the men who commit domestic violence took responsibility for their actions. Imagine if other men helped them to do this. Imagine if it became possible for men to talk about their issue.
Imagine if it were that simple.
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It’s an interesting point. Some years ago I had to go and help a woman leave her home to get away from a situation where abuse was just too much and she needed to leave immediately. I knew I was running a risk of escalating his anger by turning up but it seemed to only way to get her out of her house without him preventing it. So we had a situation where she had to leave hurriedly with two young children (2 and 5) and no real provision for the children. I said to him “Now we’ve reached this point don’t you think it would be better for the children if you just went and stayed somewhere for now” He looked at me as if I was completely mad and it was the most stupid thing he’d ever heard.