Why doesn’t she leave?

I’ve had some comments from readers of the Reg Rawlins Psychic Investigator series who express disgust or frustration with Reg for having anything to do with Corvin Hunter after becoming aware that he is a predator, and one who has repeatedly made promises that he hasn’t kept.

I thought maybe this would be a good opportunity to open up a discussion about why those who are abused stay with their abusers for so long. Why don’t they just leave?

Note: a lot of the resources that I will refer to here refer to women as being victims and men as abusers, I would note that abuse of men/boys is far more prevalent than most people realize. I have seen it personally. Understand as you read through these articles that they could just as easily refer to men stuck in abusive situations. Most of the statistics I will quote are specifically about women. Studies and surveys are gender biased. Men who are victims of abuse face the same disbelief from authorities and victim-blaming that women have historically faced. Most will remain silent about the abuse they face.

Still others struggle with relationships where both partners are abusive and are victims at different times.

While I have written about the abuse of men in other books/series, in this one, Corvin is the abuser and Reg is the victim.

Less than half of domestic abuse survivors make reports to the police or health care workers.

Abusive relationships — why it’s so hard for [victims] to just leave

The Reg Rawlins series is a paranormal series, so you need to look past the symbology to understand some of the issues being addressed in the books. Corvin’s magical charm and ability to woo Reg back represent her attraction to him, their physical chemistry, and an abuser’s ability to convince a victim that “this was the last time” and that he really loves her.

Corvin’s predatory nature and ability to steal her powers from her represent rape and physical abuse.

My readers’ frustration with Reg’s inability to stay away from Corvin mirror the frustrations of many who have watched their loved ones struggle with an abusive relationship and who wonder why the victim will not leave.

8 Reasons [Victims] Stay in Abusive Relationships

Willoughby described the first stage [victims] typically go through when she said she thought something must be wrong with her. Her response? “And so I worked on myself and stayed.”

She then described other reasons: “If he was a monster all the time, perhaps it would have been easier to leave. But he could be kind and sensitive. And so I stayed.

“He cried and apologized. And so I stayed.

“He offered to get help and even went to a few counseling sessions and therapy groups. And so I stayed.

“He belittled my intelligence and destroyed my confidence. And so I stayed. I felt ashamed and trapped.”

Abusive relationships — why it’s so hard for [victims] to just leave

This article is a pretty good summary of many of the reasons victims stay in abusive relationships. As you read through the Reg Rawlins series, you will see Reg being attracted to Corvin, believing his promises, feeling sorry for him, thinking that now that she knows his tactics, she will be able to deal with his abuse, thinking she can change him, etc.

She is luckily not in a situation where she relies upon him financially, is stuck in the same house as him, or has children to protect. She has friends who tell her to stay away from him, rather than those who won’t believe what he’s really like.

Reg is, however, frequently blamed/shamed for not being able to protect herself from Corvin. For putting herself into situations where she becomes a victim.

Victims are not responsible for what their abusers choose to do. Whatever a victim has done, he or she does not deserve to be abused. Being in the same room as someone, saying the wrong thing, making a mistake, etc. should not result in being physically, mentally, or financially abused.

We don’t do it with any other crime. Say a bank has been robbed in your community. Maybe the bank has been robbed four or five times already. And the 911 call goes out. Law enforcement comes out. They interview the witnesses. They dust for prints. They do an investigation. When they are done with the investigation, they don’t go to the bank president and say:

“Why did you keep all that money here? We’ve already been out here four or five times. Do you like getting robbed? I can’t believe you are still doing business here. Why haven’t you moved your bank?”

We have to start asking better questions. Rather than “why doesn’t she just leave”, it’s “why does he abuse her” and “why does society drive the getaway car”.

Private Violence

…it’s almost like they have a toolbox and in that toolbox they have a variety of tactics – everything from a dozen red roses and “Oh, baby” and a night out on the town to threats to a gun. He will use any one of the tactics that he feels he needs to use to make sure that his position of power and dominance is maintained in the relationship.

Private Violence

How can I help a friend in an abusive relationship?

This article has a number of tips to help a friend, whether they are the victim or the abuser.

How to Get Out of an Abusive Relationship

This article has some great advise on how to prepare to leave an abusive situation, things that you should do while you are still in the home, avoiding electronic surveillance, etc.

Anywhere between 50% and 75% of domestic violence homicides happen at the point of separation or after [the victim] has already left…

Private Violence

People do get help and it is possible to stop being abusive, though these patterns are not easy to break. If your abuser promises to change, says he or she is trying, or is in a support group or therapy, then should you ‘ride it out’?

Here are signs that your abuser is NOT changing:

  • He minimizes the abuse or denies how serious it really was.
  • He continues to blame others for his behavior.
  • He claims that you’re the one who is abusive.
  • He pressures you to go to couple’s counseling.
  • He tells you that you owe him another chance.
  • You have to push him to stay in treatment.
  • He says that he can’t change unless you stay with him and support him.
  • He tries to get sympathy from you, your children, or your family and friends.
  • He expects something from you in exchange for getting help.
  • He pressures you to make decisions about the relationship.

Getting out of an abusive relationship

Making a Safety Plan

On average, a woman will leave an abusive relationship seven times before she leaves for good.

Whether you are ready to leave or not, you can make a safety plan. Click to start to take control and make a plan today.

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