If Women Really Wanted To, They Could Leave…
Instead of asking :
“Why Does She Stay?”
“Why Doesn’t He Take Responsibility For His Actions?”
“Why Does He Abuse?”
Women have many reasons for staying with an abusive partner. Some of the beliefs and situations that affect a woman’s decision to stay are:
1. Belief that she can change her partner’s behavior.
2. Belief that her partner will reform his ways.
3. Doubts about surviving without a man.
4. Religious and cultural beliefs that divorce is wrong.
5. Children who need a father’s support.
6. Economic hardship – inadequate income to support herself and her children.
7. Lack of low-income housing.
8. Lack of child support
9. Difficulty for women with children to get work. Lack of affordable child care.
10. Threats of taking or getting custody of the children if she leaves.
11. Threats of violence and death to her, her children, and others who help her; threats to hurt or kill himself.
12. Threats of physical attacks and threats to kill the partner, the children, and/or family members increase when the abused partner is attempting to leave. Seventy-nine percent of spousal abuse is committed after the woman leaves. This threat is very real.
Why Would a Woman Who Has Been Physically Abused By Her Partner Remain With Him?
Findings show three major factors influencing actions of abused women:
1. The less severe and less frequent the violence, the more a wife remains with her partner, often to keep the family together for the sake of the children. When the violence is toward her children, she is more likely to leave.
2. Evidence shows that violence passes from generation to generation. Boys who witness the abuse of their mothers are more likely as adults to abuse their partner. Girls learn that society accepts violence against women.
3. The fewer resources a woman has, the more likely she is to stay with her violent partner. She often seeks help but does not receive the support necessary for safety and for economic support of herself and her children.
Adapted from “Red Flag Green Flag Resources” by Rape and Abuse Crisis Center of Fargo/Moorhead
What Can I Do?
If you have friends or family members who are in unhealthy or abusive relationships, the most important thing you can do is be supportive and listen to them. Please don’t judge! Understand that leaving an unhealthy or abusive relationship is never easy.
Try to let your friend know that they have options. Invite them to visit this website or call our 24-hour crisis line (805) 781-6400, even if they stay in the abusive relationship. To learn more, check out our other tips on helping a friend.