In the isolation of an abusive relationship, it can be impossible to know what your options are. Often you need to leave to access the support and information from specialist services so that you can decide what you want to do.
Even if women ‘go back’ – in some sense – they are actually going forward with greater information. If they have received support and information on their rights, they will be going with greater confidence in themselves and their options.
I’m really glad I came here [refuge] and did it – even if I’m going to be going back… It’s been good for me, good for the kids – good for my husband. He came to his senses. And I came to appreciate myself now – and what I can do for myself…. I’m still the same self – I’m just little more wiser. Yes – I’m wiser now. [Faith]
It was only because of contacting a refuge that Faith found out about different options for her and her children.
I know when something’s going wrong – I know what to do when something’s going wrong. I know to say something – to say what’s happening; to say when I don’t like it – when it’s not right. And I know to go somewhere to get a solution.
Her husband participated in a Respect-accredited perpetrator programme and she was reassured that he was changing his attitudes and behaviour. She also knew that the programme workers would pass on any concerns.
They’ll let me know if there’s anything I need to know … It will just be his progress, or if there was anything that needed to be said – anything bad or negative – they would have to let me know.
So, though she talked about ‘going back’ she really felt that it was a new start, and that her family would support her if she needed to leave again.
If it went bad again, that would be it – that would be final. It would show to me that he would not change; and then I would have to face reality – you cannot live in denial. If it happens again then that would be final.
And it’s good that the family is involved so that they know that I gave him another opportunity – they know that I tried, but he didn’t change. I believe that my family would support me in that.
She felt that she was now in much more control.
It’s almost like we’re dating again – I’m seeing what he’s like. I don’t want to go back in just like that. I want to get to know him again – I’m studying him… I want to see if he had really changed – and good changes.