“Why don’t you leave him?”, “Why do you suffer violence?”, “Why do you come back to him?” are some of the common questions adressed to women with experience of partner violence. There are countless reasons why victims of domestic violence remain in their relationships. There are countless faces of a relationship with an abusive partner as well as countless ways a victim can feel. No story of abuse is similar to another and there is no “correct answer” to the question Why do the victims stay?!

In order to discuss with the citizens about the phenomenon of violence against women, SOS Nikšić organized a public forum entitled “Why do women remain in violence?”. The reasons for the victim to stay with the abuser are extremely complex and, in most cases, are based on her real situation, e.g. threats that keep her trapped, such as: a bully will hurt or kill them; he will hurt them or kill children, he will get custody of the children, he will financially destroy his victim, etc. In addition to security, livelihoods, and children, among the many issues that plague women are issues of shelter, support and belief.

On this occasion, we drew attention to the fact that as individuals and as a community we must focus on solidarity, understanding and support for those who are in violence and trauma. We shouldn’t return the responsibility to the woman and thus embarrass and weaken her.

Instead of asking “why are you staying”, we can always say simply and humanely that we understand.

Attendees were instructed on how they can help women from their environment in their daily roles, who are aware that they are suffering violence. One of the most important moves is the reporting of violence, which is possible 24/7 via the National SOS line (080 111 111), anonymously and free.

The meeting with the citizens was organized within the project “Fight against domestic violence during the COVID 19 pandemic”, which is being implemented by the Safe Women’s House with six partner organizations, including the SOS hotline Nikšić.

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