San Francisco Public PressLeave Already! The Complexity of Domestic Violence NicoleMcGruder Love and Relationships There have been a series of domestic violence instances in the news as of late. Did you ever think (maybe mentally) that “Why doesn’t she just leave him? I would never put up with that.” Unfortunately, DV is a very complex issue that affects a broad spectrum of women. One of the reasons they find it difficult to leave their abusers is that they are often plagued with a multitude of economic barriers such as: Lack of affordable housing Unemployment Lack of available living-wage jobs Lack of transportation Limited child care options So then what’s the big deal? Those sound like everyday problems that everyone may have to face. Why can’t these women simply tough it out and make a better way for themselves? Here are just a few reasons why not: Many survivors are evicted or denied housing because of the violent and criminal actions of an abusive partner. There are laws enacted to prevent this type of discrimination, but it still happens. Someone may be watching our every move and waiting to physically assault us anytime we leave the house. Or actually, even breaking in and causing harm or trying to kill us. Fear of kidnapping of themselves or their children. Loss of animals. Though it might not seem like a big deal to some, abusers will often use the threat of torture or death of a family pet should the victim attempt to leave. Then there is another school of thought that believes that this is a poor woman’s fight, or an uneducated woman’s issue but the statistics show a strikingly different reality. • 25% of women have been victims of domestic violence. • More than 4 million women experience physical assault and rape by their partners. • 1 in 3 female homicide victims are murdered by their current or former partner every year. Recently, popular tv talk show host Meredith Viera opened up about being her personal experience with domestic violence. So the next time, you find yourself wanting to utter such dismissive words, think about speaking or doing something constructive to help address the issue. Here are five organizations that you can get involved in or perhaps better educate yourself on how to identify domestic violence: 1. American Bar Association Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence. 2. Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence 3. Battered Women’s Justice Project. 4. Child Welfare League of America.. 5. Equality Now.