Gina, Shaun and Joshua

Why do women stay?

Women have learned that it may be their own feelings of fear, guilt, or shame that keep them in a relationship that is physically abusive. Often, social and economic pressures compel a woman to stay. Sometimes she stays for lack of somewhere to go for shelter and advice or because she feels that she loves her husband and lives with the hope that he might change, if only she can "hang in there." Tragically, in most cases, the abuse continues, for in fact her husband's behavior has nothing to do with her actions. Other reasons for staying with him may seem as compelling. A woman may feel that a divorce is wrong and that she should keep her marriage together at all costs. Perhaps she feels her children need a father. She may be isolated with no outside job and few friends. The friends and relatives she does talk to may give her little support, perhaps because her situation frightens them and they don't want to admit to themselves that such violence could occur. If she confides in a counselor, she may also be encouraged to "save the marriage." And, along with her emotional dependence, she may worry about being able to find a job to support herself and her children. If she has her husband arrested, he may not be able to support her. If she doesn't have him arrested, he may beat her even more severely for trying to leave him. Is there a way out? Most women suffer these attacks for years before they finally find the courage and determination to take steps to keep from being victims of further abuse.

(source: National Institute of Mental Health) 

This page last modified Sunday, March 11, 2007
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