Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

You Do Not Have to Put Up with It; Stephen Newton Was Jailed for Life for the Murder of His Partner. Lesley Storey, Domestic Violence Co-Ordinator for Safe Newcastle, Explains Why Women Stay with Abusers and What They Need to Do to Break Away. MIEKA SMILES Reports

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

You Do Not Have to Put Up with It; Stephen Newton Was Jailed for Life for the Murder of His Partner. Lesley Storey, Domestic Violence Co-Ordinator for Safe Newcastle, Explains Why Women Stay with Abusers and What They Need to Do to Break Away. MIEKA SMILES Reports

Article excerpt

Byline: MIEKA SMILES

EVERY week in this country two women are murdered by their partners or expartners.

It is a sad fact that domestic violence and abuse affects one in four women.

This means that someone you know right now is suffering in silence. It could be you, your sister, your next door neighbour, your work colleague or your best friend. How would you know? You could ask them the question 'Are you frightened at home?' If the answer is 'yes', take her seriously and listen carefully to what's being said.

It is extremely difficult to talk about abuse and ask for help. Many victims become totally isolated from their friends and families. Anyone who watched the BBC's recent programme 'Criminal Justice' will now understand how abusers can completely control all aspects of a victim's life.

Emotional bullying, sexual abuse, being kept without money, children seeing their mother being attacked - all of this could be happening on your street today.

Often our focus is on the victim and time and time again we ask 'why does she stay?' 'There's lots of help out there', 'she must like it', 'she's not thinking of her children'.

But to ask these questions is the same as blaming the victim.

The question we should really be asking is 'How can anyone do that to the person they claim to love?' People fail to understand that it is as hard for a victim of domestic abuse to walk out of their home as it is for a prisoner to leave the confines of a jail. Years of abuse erodes self esteem, confidence and self worth.

Quite simply victims believe they deserve to be abused. However, responsibility for the abuse must be placed on the abuser and there is no justification for abuse or violence.

There are also many practical reasons why women do not leave. They may be worried about money to support themselves and their children. They may be worried about losing their home, their possessions and even their children. They may fear being a lone parent and the stigma this can bring. …

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