What Keeps Women in Abusive Relationships
The following list is far from comprehensive. There are many combinations of factors that prevent victims from leaving their abusers.
- Economic dependence. She may become homeless if she leaves.
- Fear of increased danger if she leaves. Fear he will hurt the children.
- Fear of losing custody of her children.
- Abuser has isolated her from her family and friends, and she feels she has nowhere else to go.
- Fear of the unknown.
- She may not recognize the abuse due to a long history of violence.
- Negative responses from community, police, social workers, courts, etc.
- Fear no one will believe her.
- Unable to use resources because of how they are provided (language barriers, disability, homophobia, etc.)
- Low self-esteem and total lack of belief in self.
- Abuser says he will commit suicide if she leaves. He may also threaten to kill her, the children or another family member.
- Denial or minimization of the abuse.
- Love. Violent outbursts are often followed by periods of affection and promises of change.
- Feelings of shame and humiliation in front of family, friends and the community.
- Exhaustion from the energy needed to survive in an abusive environment.
- The belief that children need both a father and a mother.
- She believes a partner is essential to her identity.
- Religious and familial pressure to “keep the family together.”
- Other religious or cultural beliefs.