Women are financially independent following abusive relationships survey reveals


90% of women who have found the strength and courage to leave abusive relationships become financially independent.

This is according to a survey of 100 domestic abuse survivors conducted by the 1st for Women Foundation.

31% of the abuse survivors interviewed said that it took a year to regain their confidence following an abusive relationship.  Others said it could take anywhere between three months and two years to take back control of their lives and enjoy the freedom that is rightfully theirs.

The Department of Justice estimates that 1 out of every 4 South African women are survivors of domestic violence. “For some women the decision to leave an abusive relationship is instantaneous while for others, it is one that is reached over time,” says Robyn Farrell, Trustee of the 1st for Women Foundation.

“78% of the women surveyed left an abusive relationship thanks to the support of their mothers, friends and/or family.”

Despite the fact that 52% of the women believed that their life would be worse if they left their abusive partner, 30% of the women said that as abuse survivors they are now content with who they are, and 32% said that they are finally the person they were always meant to be.

As to how they managed to leave their abusive relationships, responses varied. Many left for the sake of their children, or ran way, leaving when he wasn’t at home.

One respondent said that it was the realization that no child should witness any disrespect or abuse to their mother and that it took a while but she became brave enough to walk out the door with her child in tow and said that it was the best decision she ever made.

One woman that was surveyed worked on rebuilding her inner confidence while still in the relationship. Six months before ending it, she read an article on abuse. “This prompted her to start a positive and inspiring ritual,” says Farrell. Each morning, she would look herself in the mirror, and recite the following mantra: ‘I love you and you deserve more because you are worthy of more.’

Farrell points out that the most encouraging outcome of this survey was the willingness of women to share even their darkest moments to help other women get through theirs.

Words of encouragement from abuse survivors

When asked to offer practical advice to women in abusive relationships, the 100 survivors offered words of encouragement as well advice that could hopefully help other abuse victims make the decision to leave a little easier including:


  • Build a support system – it may be just one person or a network of people, whatever it is, these are the people that will be there for you at your lowest moments and will help you build up the courage you need to start over.
  • Research safe houses – if you have nobody to turn to, remember there are safe houses all over the country that welcome women in your position and will help you get back on your feet.
  • Have an escape plan – know when and how you’re going leave as well as your immediate destination. Many of the women surveyed said they left while their partner was at work.
  • Always be prepared to leave – if you can, pack a bag with important documents and necessities in case you have to leave in a hurry.
  • Plan but don’t over plan – this can make the idea of leaving completely overwhelming so rather take it day-by-day.
  • Do some legal preparations – keep evidence of physical abuse like photos and police or hospital records. These should be kept with some else like a family member to ensure they are never discovered by your partner.

Victims of abuse needing help can go to for more information or call LifeLine on: 011 715-2000


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