A common societal attitude that negatively affects our clients is that if a woman is in an abusive relationship that she should just leave. We here at FVPS know from experience that things are rarely that simple. This puts the blame on the victim for remaining in the abusive situation, and ignores the multitude of reasons that women find it difficult to leave an abusive partnership.
This fall at Anderson House we were very fortunate to have a 4th year UPEI Nursing student on placement with us. Laura Vail has been an asset to the organization. As part of her final project, we discussed with Laura the benefit of having a resource that explains the many reasons that women find it difficult to leave an unhealthy relationship. We feel that it's one of the more common questions we receive when doing presentations or talking to the friends and family of someone who might be abused.
Laura has done a fantastic job of summarizing the various barriers, such as economic hardship, societal beliefs around marriage and family, as well as the dynamics of power and control. Laura developed two brochures, one for the community and one for service providers. Here they are for download and distribution. We hope that they help everyone who reads them understand that telling women to "just leave" is overly simplistic and unrealistic. On the back there is contact information for Anderson House and Outreach services if you have any questions or concerns.