Domestic Violence: Why Some Men Batter and Some Women Stay Part 2
Part II of Domestic Violence: Why Some Men Batter and Some Women Stay. Learn why some women stay here.
Why Some Women Stay
The reasons that women stay in relationships filled with violence are complex. Violence is a powerful thing. In addition to physical pain, there are many psychological and emotional elements to violence that make it a useful method of control. Combine with this the dynamics of an intimate relationship and/or children, and you have a very confusing state of affairs. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why some women stay in these relationships.
- If I leave him he’ll kill me – Sounds dramatic but for some battered women this is a very real fear. It’s also a very real possibility. Women are more likely to be severely injured or even killed when they attempt to leave.
- I believe what he says – Many batterers use knowledge gained from the relationship to attack their victim’s spirit and self worth. Name calling, degradation, and humiliation quite often go hand in hand with domestic violence. Many women are told they deserve the abuse or that they somehow provoked the abuser. Threats to do harm to other loved ones (even the kids) are sometimes made. They are sometimes told that they won’t be believed if they tell. These women often feel that the abuse will stop if only they could be a better girlfriend, wife, or mother to the children. If only they could just love him hard enough. In many ways, this line of thinking releases the man from responsibility. If it’s not his fault then why would she leave him? Instead, the goal for these women becomes to do better so that the violence will not happen again.
- Where will I go? – Remember domestic violence is about power and control. This quite often means that these women are isolated and given very few resources. Questions regarding where they will go and how they will provide from themselves (and possibly their children) are very legitimate. In addition, domestic violence shelters have a stigma that prevents many women from seeking out these options. For women that do consider them, they are often seen as short term solutions and without a long term plan leaving seems unrealistic. Take a woman with no job, no job skills, no money, and no other means to provide. Being able to visualize a long term successful and realistic plan becomes nearly impossible. Not all battered women face this scenario, but this example illustrates the dire position many women are in.
- And what about the kids? – Take the above woman and add a custody battle (from #3). For many battered women leaving could result in the loss of their children.
Also, women sometimes view their partners as good fathers and think maintaining that father-child relationship is important. Quite often staying in the relationship means financial security, better schools, and safer neighborhoods for the child. These women sacrifice themselves, thinking that doing so is better for the child.