Kelly Rothwell

Kelly Rothwell
Much Loved Sister, Daughter, Friend

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why Doesn't She Just Leave Him?and other Myths in an Abusive Relationship

One in EVERY four women will experience domestic violence in their life time…25% of the female population...
 An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
85% of domestic violence victims are women.
Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.
In 70-80% of intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man physically abused the woman before the murder.
Less than one-fifth of victims reporting an injury from intimate partner violence sought medical treatment following the injury.
Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.

These facts, derived from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, NCADV, are staggering.

With the Kelly Rothwell case, I’ve been hearing a lot of “Why didn’t she just leave him” murmuring and some say they don’t understand why, if Dave Perry was so abusive, she didn’t just leave. The truth of it is, it’s not that simple nor is it that easy. Luana Greenfield was married to Perry for ten years during which time, according to Luana, he was physically, emotionally and mentally abusive to both her and their children. The thing about controlling obsessive types like Perry is that they worm their way insidiously into the very fabric of their victims’ lives. They are predators, always on the lookout for something better to come along.
In Kelly’s case, Perry started out as a charming, wealthy guy with a good income from “stocks”, so he said. He smiled, he joked, and he carried her groceries. He sent flowers to her work, to look attentive and sweet. He called her all the time, saying he missed her. She was charmed; Kelly had had a prior marriage where all of the attention was deflected AWAY from her, or else was non-existent. She was charmed by Perry’s attentiveness; the flowers, the phone calls, the constant texts were all directed to get her to fall for him. When, after three weeks, Perry moved down to Florida, he moved into KELLY’S condo and promptly made her put him on the lease. 
That’s what predators do.

The first steps of an abuser are to ingratiate themselves into a victim’ life and become indispensable to that victim. Perry quickly started doing all the housework; he shopped for groceries, cooked the food for them, washed the dishes, did the laundry, and even ironed her clothes for her. Perry had the cell phones put in HIS name, an Elmira area code and number, even though he stayed in Florida for almost four years. It was his way of controlling who Kelly called and when she called them. It was his way to keep tabs on her. He did all the banking, paid all the bills and started manipulating Kelly, keeping her from her family and friends, isolating her from others. His car was still registered to a New York address.

That is what a predator does. A domestic violence abuser is usually a control freak and often his victim will just give in to a situation rather than spark a fury. In Luana’s case with Perry, HE controlled the money and would take her paycheck when she walked in the door. He kept her off balance with tremendous mood swings and fits of violent rage. He threatened to kill their children; he threatened to kill Luana as well. He was physically very strong, he worked out a lot. Statistics show that a lot of abusers are compulsive about their physique; they are vain and obsessed with themselves. Part of the hold they have over their victims is then ability to convince the victim that they are worthless without the abuser, that they couldn’t POSSIBLY get along without the abuser in their lives. With children in the home, the cost is doubly sad. Children, especially boys, who witness violence from their parents, are 50% MORE likely to be violent with their OWN children. It is a learned response.. It is all they know.
Kelly Rothwell decided she needed a career change. Perhaps she was embarrassed that she found herself in a relationship where she realized she was being controlled; she didn’t tell her family of friends about it, she kept it to herself. She thought by placating Perry that she wouldn’t make waves. She tried to play nice. But as she started her new career as a police cadet, she began to realize that the videos on domestic violence required for class were mirroring HER life. She began to feel empowered and she eventually made the decision to leave David Perry.  But for those who say “why didn’t she just leave” Kelly’s decision just wasn’t that simple  OR easy. Cut off from family and most of her friends, she was starting over, again. New job, new career, new life. She needed to find a place to live; she needed to get her ducks in a row, all the while still living with her abuser. He felt her pulling away from him so he stalked her, called her constantly and then texted her incessantly when she wouldn’t answer his calls. He followed her, and then would accuse her of cheating on him. 
 He did the same to Luana during their marriage.
When Kelly was finally strong enough, felt self confident enough, she told Perry they were through. His pleadings and crying turned ugly and mean.
 On March 12th, 2011, Kelly Rothwell decided to take her own life BACK from David Perry.
It now seems he just may have taken hers…..


  1. Great article Leigh. and so true. sad :(

  2. Very good article. Thank you! Sounds like he has some bi-polar disorder mixed with some OCD too.

  3. I like that the comments have to be approved first. :)

  4. My gosh Leigh!!! Reading this article brings back memories for me.

    For those of you who don't understand the, "Why didn't she just leave," let me try to explain it to you. I was in a very abusive relationship for 8 years. In the beginning this man was sweet and caring and very lovable. When the abuse first started, I thought, okay he had a bad day or something. Then he apologizes. It happened again. Now I think, I did something to set him off, let him cool down I think. Apologies yet again come from him and the statement, "I won't ever do that again." I was beaten, dragged around the house by my hair, stomped on, kicked, bitten. Still the feeling at this point is SCARED!! Scared to stay, scared to leave, scared to turn to some one for some help, for the fear that he will get mad and kill me. The last straw was in my apartment when I came home from church and asked him if he wanted a tuna fish sandwich. He got so upset with me for asking him that question. He chased me around my kitchen, wrapped a kitchen chair around my back and finally cornered me and pointed a gun at my head and told me to go my room. I ran! Locked myself in my room and no sooner did I do that is when I woke up and said hell no, this is my place!! I came out, grabbed my keys and ran to my neighbors and called 911! They came, took pictures of my back and arrested him. The gun, however, was locked up in his gun case so they couldn't get him for that. It wasn't out in plain site! He got anger management classes.
    My point being......You go through stages. The sorry stage, my fault stage, fear stage and then finally the angry and had enough stage. That is when you get the courage to leave. For me it was 8 years. You can't just up and leave. It's not that easy. It's so easy for someone to say,"Just leave." However, until you are in that type of situation you will never know just how hard it is to "just leave."

    Well I hope I have cleared something up for your readers Leigh. Again, this was a very good article and one that hits very close to home.

    God Bless you Leigh in all that you are doing and will continue to do for us all but mostly for our beloved Kelly!!!

    In Light and Love!

  5. Leigh, that is a fantastic article...and so very true. I am so sad that Kelly had to go through any of that..and especially the outcome. It makes my heart hurt because truly, she is one the most beautiful souls I have ever met...we worked in Human Resources together, she was my admin asst. All the employees would want to talk to her over anyone else in the office due to her kind nature, fantastic listening ability and true sound advice. David has robbed the world of Kelly...and it makes me mad sad and sick all at the same time..I just hope we find her soon, and he gets what he deserves.

  6. Leigh, You are doing such a great job!!!! As always very proud of you. May God Bless you for all u have done.. I'll keep up on your blog. Luv ya, Annie

  7. She was facing her fears... It is so sad the cycle of abuse from parent to child and so on. People need to become more aware and realize what they are doing before it is too late. Break the cycle. Thank you Leigh for keeping Kellys stories real. Love to you <3

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


  10. It took a few minutes for me to be able to compose myself enough to comment. So much of what you wrote here, strikes a chord in relation to my own families experience.

    These abusers start out so attentive, so sweet. They seem the perfect partner. then little by little they start controlling this thing, then that slowly that it is often difficult for the person living in it to see. At least until it has developed to the point that much of the victims support system is gone. She may even question herself on her perception on what is happening. Is she over reacting? being unreasonable.

    Kelly made the decision to leave and found the determination to start over, new career, new place to live, new life.

    David saw himself losing control of her so he stopped her. These are the stories that paralyze so many other victims. The fear that keeps them where they are. Until Domestic Violence laws are strenthened, penalties for DM being the same as other violent offenses, it will continue.



David Perry mug shot