'Sort their own s*** out': The Project host Jesse Mulligan's emotional appeal to perpetrators of family violence

Warning: This article discusses family and domestic violence.

Chances are one in every two women will experience sexual, physical or emotional abuse at some point in their lives.

In an effort to get to the bottom of New Zealand's appalling family violence statistics, Women's Refuge is answering the all-too-common question: "Why doesn't she just leave?" 

"A lot of people think it's as simple as picking up and leaving... It's actually really daunting and complex to leave," says Susan Barker from Women's Refuge.

On average, a woman tries to leave a violent relationship seven times before she successfully escapes.

The question perpetuates the cycle of victim blaming. It places responsibility on the victim for their dire situation - instead of placing responsibility on the shoulders of the abuser.

Following the chilling stories of two survivors of domestic violence on Thursday's episode of The Project, presenter Jesse Mulligan put out an emotional appeal to perpetrators of family violence.

"As usual, we're talking about how the victims can solve this problem," Mulligan said.

"Can I take a second to suggest there's actually a better way - and that's for the abuser to sort their own s*** out.

"Maybe that's you and you're watching tonight. If it is, there's probably plenty of reasons why you've turned into the person you have become - but there's no reason for you not to get some help."

Kanoa Lloyd interviewed Kristel Blase, a woman who survived 18 years of family violence. 

After selling all of her belongings when they started their life together, her ex-partner verbally abused Blase into having no sense of self-worth, manipulated their children into standing by him and perpetrated physical abuse.

Blase says it is important that people "don't give up on that person" who is going through family violence. 

"You don't feel like you have any worth. You feel like you don't matter," Blase said.

"I've lost 18 years. I'm 42 now.

"My children's confidence is low, they've never been able to have a voice."

But things have changed for Blase now.

"I'm a fighter. I'm determined not to sink, no matter what. That's what's changed."

However, victims are not the only ones who need to find the strength within themselves to successfully change their lives. Perpetrators of family violence also have that choice.

"If you really want to demonstrate love, there are organisations out there that can help you," said Mulligan.

"There will be thousands of people watching who are this sort of person - but you don't have to stay this sort of person. 

"Others before you have turned from abusers to protectors. Do the right thing and call that number and get some help."

Where to find help and support: