⋅“Just Leave Him!” Easier Said Than Done⋅

You met Sam, one of the many victims of domestic violence, in a previous blog, In Memory Of Sam – A Victim Of Domestic Violence, which we wrote as a memorial to her with the permission of our client, Sam’s mother Grace. We want to tell you a little more about Sam and about people—mostly women—like her, people who find themselves trapped in brutal domestic violence.

The overwhelming question people on the outside ask is, why do people, the vast majority of them women, stay with people who abuse them physically, psychologically, emotionally, and mentally?

We asked Sam’s mother Grace that question in one of our many conversations with her over the course of our cleanup at her daughter’s death scene. And we’ve talked to the families of other victims of domestic violence, and sometimes surviving victims themselves, about this phenomenon.

“Why didn’t you just leave? How did the abuser get so much control in your life?”

Here’s what some of the victims and their families and friends had to say to us.

 “You can’t live without me!”

Natalie’s husband put her in the hospital—while she was pregnant with their child.

In a rage about dry cleaning she had forgotten to pick up, he kicked at a dining-room chair but his foot landed in her crotch instead and split it open.

She bled profusely from the wound and went into labor. Paramedics arrived just in time to deliver a healthy baby girl she named Shannon.

Her best friend called us while Natalie was in the hospital. We were stunned by what she said:

“Is there any way you can get it cleaned up before Joe goes back home? I know him, and if he sees it, he’ll accuse her of deliberately leaving it there to make him feel guilty.”

When Natalie’s friend let us into the house, she told us, “He tells her all the time that she could never survive financially without him, that she’ll end up in a rat-infested apartment or worse, and that if she leaves him, he’ll go to jail before he pays her a dime of child support or alimony. She’s a stay-at-home mom, hasn’t worked in over a decade, has no real skills in today’s job market. She’s scared. So she stays.”

“I’m so sorry. It will never happen again.”

JoAnn’s husband came home from work and couldn’t find his dental retainer, which he kept on a silver plate on their dresser, and immediately accused JoAnn of misplacing the retainer when she cleaned the bedroom.

When she told him she never saw it, he became enraged, tied her up with a belt, and beat her.

When she escaped and ran into the living room, he pushed her through the front door and locked her out, but her infant daughter was inside, and she panicked. She broke a window and attempted to climb through it.

When her husband saw her, he dragged her through the broken window, cutting an artery in her leg.

He refused to call an ambulance, claiming she was overreacting, and she nearly bled to death on the guest-room floor before the police, summoned by a neighbor who heard the commotion, arrived.

JoAnn lied to the police and told them she had locked herself out of the house, broke the window to get in, and cut herself in the process.

The police referred the couple to us, and when we arrived, only JoAnn was home. We heard her talking to someone on the phone:

“He goes into these rages over nothing and then he’s always so sorry. He’s so romantic and attentive, like he was when we first met, and he always convinces me that that it will never happen again. I want to believe it really will last this time. I can’t handle thinking about the trauma and expense of a divorce. I always think to myself, ‘Maybe there’s something I can do to prevent this from happening again. I just have to work harder at this.’”

 “If you leave me, I’ll kill you and everyone you love.”

Jackie’s husband threw her through a plate-glass window three stories above a concrete deck when he saw a suggestive text message on her phone from a man named Kurt, who, the investigation revealed, was a co-worker who had accidentally texted Jackie instead of his girlfriend.

Jackie died from her injuries.

Jackie told her sister, who hired us to clean up the scene of Jackie’s death, “Mike will never let me leave. He tells me all the time that he will track me down and kill me like the insect that I am. I don’t know what to do. I’m scared to death.”


 “You’re worthless and no one else will ever want you.”

“Sam was so young,” Grace told us, “only 19 when she met Billy. She was so confident and happy in high-school, on the track team and on the yearbook staff.

He gained her love and trust by treating her like a princess, but it never quite sat right with me.

He was so jealous and possessive. He didn’t even like her going shopping with me. Then, after Tara came, he started running her in the ground, telling her how stupid and fat she was since she had Tara, how worthless she was, how no one else would ever want her, and after a while, it just wore her down. I think it eroded her self-confidence.

She was always trying to lose weight, but he’d laugh at her, belittle her in front of other people, and I think she didn’t feel valuable enough to fight for herself.

My beautiful child was exhausted, beaten down, every time I saw her.”

Why Do Victims of Domestic Violence Stay with Their Abusers?

  • Fear that the abuser will kill them or their families.
  • Fear that they will not be able to survive financially without the abuser.
  • Fear that they will lose their children and home.
  • False hope that the abuser will change.
  • Misguided belief that they are the cause of the abuser’s anger, violence, and loss of control.
  • Misguided belief that they can or should do something to prevent the abuse.
  • Shame.
  • Guilt about what divorce will do to their children.
  • Profound feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, isolation, and depression caused by the abuse and eroded self-esteem.
  • Profound feeling that they are trapped with no way out.


Daily, Advanced Bio Treatment technicians see the devastating fallout of all kinds of trauma, domestic violence being one of the most tragic and most preventable. We go in and clean up the pieces of shattered lives.

We listen to the families mourn senseless brutality and murder. Meeting Sam’s family compelled us to do something to help other victims of domestic violence.

If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, please use the resources below to guide you to a safe and healthy place. And, should you ever need our services, please know that Advanced Bio Treatment is here for you 24 hours every day of every year. We can be reached at 800-295-1684.


Domestic Violence Resources

Domestic Violence Roundtable – Why Do Abuse Victims Stay

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

Young Women’s Christian Association – What Is Domestic Violence

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

Safe Horizon


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Ted Pelot Owner & President of Crime Scene Cleanup Company - Advanced Bio-Treatment