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Why I can’t leave – a woman’s account of domestic violence

Leaving a domestic violence situation is very difficult and many people assume that the abuse ends once the victim and perpetrator are apart. However this is not always the case. This is Mary’s Story.* Mary is 40, married with 3 children and has been living with domestic violence for the past fifteen years.

In her own words, she explains what happened three years ago when she tried to escape domestic abuse by getting a Barring Order against her husband.

“You know I did try to leave. I got a barring order. But then he brought me back to court for access visits to the children. I didn’t mind that but I had to bring the children to the access visits myself every week because there was nobody else to do it. People didn’t want to get involved in domestic situations. When I was dropping the children off, the stuff he said to me through the car window was disgusting. He didn’t care about what the children heard. I said nothing in return; I just wanted him to calm down.

I couldn’t believe the things he did to make our life hell while he was barred. He made all these complaints about me to the social workers and they called to the house every time. He said I didn’t feed the children – of course I did. I showed them my cupboards and the till receipt from Tesco. He said he didn’t like the way I dressed the children but he never said a thing about that when we were together. He interrogated the children about who I was talking to and where I was all week, when all they wanted was to have some fun with him. They came home to me crying and begging me to make him stop badgering them. In the end I had enough. I just went back. I am trying to live with it because he is too cunning. I can keep a eye on the children and make sure they are safe this way. I have another 5 years to go and then I’ll leave and I’ll be free.”

LWL highlighted domestic violence issues during the 16 Days of Action Opposing Violence Against Women campaign. The 16 Days ran from November 25th to December 10th 2010, during these dates a number of events took place including an exhibition on domestic violence at Longford Library and a Walk of Remembrance which will took place on November 26th to remember the 166 women who died as a result of violence in Ireland.

*names have been changed to protect identity.

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