At least until that inexplicably popular intimate partner abuse how-to guide gave him ideas.
Reconciling is part of a pattern in abusive relationships: The abuser will finally do something so terrible that the woman leaves. Then, once she is safe, she stops being angry and starts feeling like she overreacted or worries that her abuser can't live without her. If she does contact him, he will enter what is called the Honeymoon Phase of an abusive relationship, where he'll shower her with gifts and promise everything's different now, which, as far as biggest lies ever, is right up there with "I am not a crook" and "Read my lips: No new taxes." Then that phase ends, the hitting starts again, and the woman is back in your shelter.
That is if you can even get her to leave him in the first place. I got a call from one woman who was bedridden and completely dependent on her abusive husband for food and medication. She obviously knew she needed to leave since she was calling me, but she kept talking about how he needed her. Finally, I asked if she was willing to die rather than leave him, which was a real possibility since he was withholding medication from her. She said yes. The call ended shortly after that, and I never heard from her again.
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But that's OK because ducklings!
I would encounter situations like that all the time. It's almost like working in a rehab clinic. You are desperately trying to break people of their habit in the short period of time that you have, and the success stories are few and far between. Don't get me wrong; that 15 percent of women who do make it out are worth it. But you still spend the vast majority of your time knowing that your efforts are basically useless.