Why Don’t They Just Leave?

Young Woman Biting Her Finger NailOne of the most common questions we receive is “why do victims sometimes return to or stay with their abuser?” A better question is “why does the abuser choose to abuse?”

The deck is stacked against the victim when confronted with leaving or not. There are many different factors that can hinder a victim from leaving their abuser, including:

Love: An abuser rarely shows signs of violence in the beginning of a relationship, and once two people fall in love it can be very hard to let go.

Hope: Happy memories blended with promises of a change from the abuser creates hope that the abuse will stop.

Denial: Admitting that someone they love is hurting them can be very hard.

Blame: Abusers may blame the victim for the abusive behavior and make them feel like they are responsible and they deserve it.

Hopelessness: Victims may believe that they will never find a better partner that can make them happy.

Financial Dependence: Victims may depend on their partner for financial support to survive.

Rescue Complex: By staying, victims may think they can “fix” their partner and save them from their own abusive behavior.

Children: If a victim and their abuser have children together, they may think that having two parents are better than one for the children.

Guilt: The abuser may make the victim feel guilty for how much it would hurt him or her if they left.

Embarrassment and Shame: The victim may not want people to know what is going on due to fear of embarrassment and they choose to stay in order to keep the abuse a secret.

But in most cases, violence, and the sheer terror of it, is one of the principle reasons why victims don’t leave. When domestic violence victims attempt to leave the relationship, the abuse almost always escalates as the perpetrator attempts to regain control. The most serious domestic violence injuries and a majority of domestic violence homicides occur as a victim attempts to leave or after she/he has left.

The victim knows these dangers. They know them because they’ve already experienced the violent responses when they’ve attempted to assert themselves, even minimally, within the relationship. They know because the perpetrator has usually threatened precisely what they intend to if they try to leave.

Deciding to end an abusive relationship has risks. A victim has a lot to consider for her or his own safety (and the safety of their children). When a victim decides to leave, it can be safer if they get support. There is help available! Hubbard House, the domestic violence center serving Duval and Baker counties in Northeast Florida, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, to help victims learn about their options and plan for safety.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House 24-hour domestic violence hotline at (904) 354-3114 or 800-500-1119. Hubbard House can help.

Other domestic violence shelters in Northeast Florida include:

  • Clay County: Quigley House, 904-284-0061 24-hour hotline
  • Nassau County: Micah’s Place, 877-228-7388 or 904-225-9979 24-hour hotline
  • St. Johns County: Betty Griffin House, 904-824-1555 24-hour hotline

If one of these shelters does not serve your county please call the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-500-1119.

ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE: Founded as the first domestic violence shelter in Florida in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 5,000 women, children, and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic childcare, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.

By Ashley Johnson Scott

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Effects of Domestic Violence on Children

Hubbard House Artwork6All children deserve a safe and secure home – free of violence – and parents/guardians that love and protect them. But for many children, home is not a place of stability and support; it is far from a safe haven. Children do not have to see one parent or guardian violently assaulting another to witness domestic violence; they can also hear the sounds of violence and are aware of it from many telltale signs. Children’s exposure to domestic violence has a profound impact on their future. Many kids are suffering silently, and with little support.

Although the number is hard to pinpoint, statistics show that over 3 million children are exposed to violence in their homes annually in the United States. Children react to their environment in different ways, and reactions can vary depending on the child’s gender and age. Here’s how domestic violence can affects children of all ages:

Infants:

  • Cry more and are more irritable
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Digestive problems
  • May resist being held or fed
  • May be developmentally delayed

 Toddlers and pre-schoolers:

  • Low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence
  • More aggressive or withdrawn
  • Exhibit high levels of anxiety and fearfulness
  • Physical issues such as stomach aches
  • Nightmares
  • Problems with toilet training

 Older children:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Feel inadequate for not being able to protect adult
  • May be suicidal
  • Aggressive
  • May lack social skills and do poorly in school
  • Juvenile delinquency or battering in dating relationships

Although reading this may be alarming and discouraging, the good news is that there is help available. Locally, Hubbard House is addressing the impact of domestic violence on children through its Helping At Risk Kids (HARK) program. HARK is a 12-week program designed to empower children from abusive homes by helping them understand the violence is not their fault, helping them know what to do should they be in danger, and teaching them non-violent conflict resolution skills, so the violence will not be repeated in the next generation.

For more information regarding the HARK program and outreach services or to make an appointment for your child please call the Hubbard House Outreach Center at (904) 400-6300 or visit hubbardhouse.org to learn more.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please call the Hubbard House 24-hour domestic violence hotline at 904-354-3114 or 800-500-1119. Hubbard House can help.

ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE: Founded as the first domestic violence shelter in Florida in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 5,000 women, children, and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic childcare, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.

The Allstate Foundation Awards $10,000 to Help Victims of Domestic Violence

allstateHubbard House, the domestic violence center serving Duval and Baker counties in Northeast Florida, has been awarded a $10,000 grant from The Allstate Foundation to support its emergency services and shelter.

Within the last year, the Hubbard House Emergency Shelter provided 29,469 days of safety and refuge to 976 adults and children affected by domestic violence. In addition, 5,430 agency-wide crisis calls were taken.

“Domestic violence is a pervasive and often overlooked social issue that affects thousands of women, children and men in Duval and Baker counties each year,” said Ellen Siler, CEO of Hubbard House. “Through its grant The Allstate Foundation is enabling us to continue to address the crucial needs of domestic violence victims in the midst of crisis.”

Last year, 7,015 incidents of domestic violence were reported in Duval and Baker counties, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

“Since 2005, The Allstate Foundation has helped more than 267,000 domestic violence survivors with life-changing services,” said Greg Guidos President of Allstate Benefits. “We’re proud of the work Hubbard House does every day for survivors and know we’re going to make a difference in even more lives, together.”

ABOUT THE ALLSTATE FOUNDATION: Established in 1952, The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL). Through partnerships with nonprofit organizations across the country, The Allstate Foundation brings the relationships, reputation and resources of Allstate to support innovative and lasting solutions that enhance people’s well-being and prosperity. With a focus on teen safe driving and building financial independence for domestic violence survivors, The Allstate Foundation also promotes safe and vital communities; tolerance, inclusion, and diversity; and economic empowerment. Over the last 60 years, the Foundation has contributed nearly $300 million to organizations and projects in communities throughout the nation. For more information, visit www.allstatefoundation.org.

ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE: Founded as the first domestic violence shelter in Florida in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 5,000 women, children, and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic childcare, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

FB RibbonToday marks the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month started out as a “Day of Unity” in 1981. The creation of this day, by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, was to connect all advocates and victims of domestic abuse to end violence against women and children. This day quickly evolved into a week of activities and by October of 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed.

Now, Domestic Violence Awareness Month serves as a time to remember those who have died at the hands of a loved one, honor those who have survived abuse, recognize the progress that has been made in reducing domestic violence, and to recommit to ending this devastating crisis.

While many strides to help end abuse have been made in our country, domestic violence continues to be a pervasive social issue. According to the 2013 National Domestic Violence Awareness Month presidential proclamation, one in four women and one in seven men in the United States still suffer serious physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner at least once during their lifetimes. And every day, three women lose their lives in this country as a result of domestic violence.

If we are going to finally end domestic violence, if we are going to have a generation of children who do not have to live with violence in their home, we need your help and the help of everyone you know.

In observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Hubbard House asks that you join in its Go Purple efforts this October to help raise awareness. There are many simple things you can do to show support. For example, by wearing a purple awareness ribbon or a purple item of clothing throughout the month, or on Thursday, October 3, Break the Silence Day.  You can also change your Facebook or Twitter profile picture to Hubbard House’s purple ribbon.

To find out other simple activities you can do to Go Purple this Domestic Violence Awareness Month visit our website, www.hubbardhouse.org. You can also join in on the conversation by using the hashtag #igopurple on Facebook or Twitter.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House 24-hour Domestic Violence hotline at 904-354-3114 or 800-500-1119. Hubbard House can help. 

ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE: Founded as the first domestic violence shelter in Florida in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 5,000 women, children, and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic childcare, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit http://www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.

By: Ashley Johnson Scott