Why Victims of Domestic Abuse Don’t Press Charges

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Alicia Chamely
By Alicia Chamely

ON November 4 , 2023, I wrote a story detailing seeing a man ruthlessly ripping a young woman out of a car and beating her mercilessly on the side of the road, making a frantic 999 call, a hero and a quick police response.

In the aftermath I would learn she was leaving him, I would learn she’s barely an adult, I would learn she
chose not to press charges. Why she chose not to lock his tail up is beyond me. If someone put
them kind of lash on me, you bet your bottom dollar I was making it my mission to make that person suffer in our prison system.

Alas everyone has their reasons, and I cannot speak for the circumstances she was facing. My only hope was that she made it out, that she finally packed her bags and took her life back.


Well, well, well, guess who I saw the other day? My girl, sitting in the front seat of a car with her abuser. My blood boiled, within in an instant I was overcome with rage. I wanted to get out of my car, tire iron in hand, buss their windscreen, rip her out of car, shake her and ask her what the hell she was doing back with this repulsive excuse of a man!

While I was disappointed in her, my anger wasn’t aimed at her, it was aimed at the systems we have to deal with domestic violence and its victims.

It is my opinion that with all forms of assault, especially those that happen in the public with dozens of
witnesses, the victim should not be given a choice as to whether they want to press charges. I mean, what kind of stupidness is that? A choice? You choose not to press charges? We are just going to pretend some nutcase didn’t just beat the hell out of another person. If that’s the case I think I may explore a new hobby of just going around with a bamboo cane, cutting people’s tail , and ominously whispering in their ears, “You bess not press charges eh! If you do, I’ll be back, I eh fraid no police!”


And this leads us to both another problem and a large reason why people, especially women in situations of domestic abuse, choose not to press charges… retribution. If you are terrified of someone, someone who is violent and unstable, you will try not to anger them. You will do anything not to give them a reason to harm you. Sadly, sometimes in doing this you just end up putting yourself in more danger.

We have already established restraining orders do nothing. A piece of paper is not going to keep an abuser away from their victim. This is why I fully support the move to utilise electronic ankle monitors. I will pay more tax to see this happen, bonus points if the government can find ones that deliver a paralysing shock to the wearer when they get to close to their victims.

The powers that be are trying, and yes, there are amazing NGO’s and other support organisations that are saving graces to abused women. But in many cases, it is not enough. Our laws need to be changed, our social services need to be expanded, and we need recognise that domestic abuse isn’t always physical, and that women who are victim to emotional and financial abuse need protection as well.

Additionally, we need to include empowerment into school curriculum. We need our women to know
they are strong, valuable and impactful. Our men need it too. For too long we have turned our backs on
the emotional needs of our young men.


This year’s International Women’s Day was themed “Inspire Inclusivity.” A large part of inclusivity is making women feel equal in society, knowing they are protected. While there have been steps in the right direction, we are still failing many women.

I would like that young woman, and any other woman in a similar circumstance to know, you are valuable, you are stronger than you think, you do not deserve cruelty disguised as “love,” and while it may be difficult there are amazing people and organisations out there that are ready to help.

If you or someone you know is in a situation of domestic abuse, please contact the National Domestic
Violence Hotline at 800-7283.



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