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I Have 5 Children With My Abusive Husband

Dear Sugar
I want to be free of my husband, but can't see how to escape. He has abused me for several years, emotionally, financially and sexually. Recently, he's gotten more physically insistent during the rapes, because I've tried to get away.

Although it seems blatantly obvious that I should get out, I have 5 children and mortgage payments of $2,000 per month, as well as other bills, and almost no income of my own.

I have been applying for full-time work for the last year and have tried my hand at various part-time jobs, but my husband's shifts interfere with all of the other schedules in the house and the kids always wind up suffering when no one monitors their activities and homework. (My husband refuses to participate in this).

His job pays well but he spends too much. I need advice, please. Trapped and Traumatized

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Dear Trapped and Traumatized
With 5 children, I am sure you have no free time whatsoever, but you and your husband need to seek out professional counseling. He clearly has no respect for you, and his behavior is usually punishable with jail as the consequence.

It's extremely damaging for your children to witness all of this. Believe it or not, they learn from what they see and you can not change this cycle repeating.

Keep in mind that abusers never change on their own. All they do is worsen. I know it's a lot to ask for you to pick up and leave him, but is there someone you can go to who can help sort things out some options with you?

If ever there were a time to lead by example it's now. If your children see that you have the courage to leave him, not only will they understand that abuse is wrong and intolerable, but you will be even more of a hero to them than you already are.

UPDATE: Thanks to one of our readers for offering this advice instead:

No one in a domestic violence situation should seek therapy with their abuser because therapy encourages participants to be honest, and honesty can often encourage more abuse. I would suggest this woman contact 1-800-799-SAFE, which is the national hotline sponsered by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Here she can find resources available in her area such as domestic violence counselors, legal advocates, and emergency shelters. Individual counseling would be helpful for both her and her children, all of whom will be affected by the domestic violence. Advocates will also be able to discuss ways to ensure her financial security, but she must remember domestic violence often escalates and her safety is the number one priority.

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