By Sarah Wendt, The Conversation
“Why doesn’t she just leave?” is the common question people ask when trying to understand domestic violence. The answer is far from straightforward.
Central to domestic violence is an ongoing pattern of behaviour, most often used by men, aimed at controlling women through power and fear. This is called coercive control and explains how men extend their dominance in intimate relationships, which then isolates women and erodes their independence over time.
Imagine feeling scared in your own home – and the fear is caused by the person you loved. You’re anxious, confused and deflated from abuse endured over many years. Now imagine you have to flee your partner and home because he has threatened your life or the lives of your children: where do you go?