Why Women Stay in Abusive Relationships
The question people ask is why a woman stays in an abusive relationship. Many women stay in abusive relationships because they feel they have no choice. They are afraid that they will not be able to support themselves or their children. They are afraid that friends or family will think that they have failed.
- Fear …..fear of leaving and fear of staying…..fear of reprisal…..fear for her life
- Financial dependence…..finding work to support herself and family…..few or out dated job skills
- Isolation…..unaware of legal rights…..lack of support
- Physical illness…..coping with situation drains energy
- Emotional dependence…..may still love partner, especially in the “honeymoon period”
- Social Pressures…..may feel she is responsible for the success or failure of marriage….may have been pressured by parents, community, church to try and hold on
- Low self-esteem….feels responsible for abuse….that she caused it
- Cycle of Abuse….may feel that family violence is normal, especially if she was physically abused as a child or witnessed her mother being beaten
- Accommodation….lack of alternative housing may force a woman to stay.
Extended family members may not be willing or able to accommodate her and her children.
The truth is that they are not responsible for the abuse and to stay in an abusive relationship may result in serious injury or even death. Women NEVER like being beaten.
Family Violence and the Impact on Children
- Violent behaviour is learned and children who witness violence in the home often become either perpetrators or victims of violence in adulthood
- Children who witness family violence tend not to perform as well as their peers in school, at sports and social interaction
- A large percentage of young offenders charged with crimes against people have been exposed to domestic violence as children
- Children who have witnessed domestic violence have a much greater chance of having behavioural problems
- Children from violent homes may blame themselves, may have sleep problems, nightmares, stomach and head aches
- Girls may become withdrawn and passive, boys aggressive and bullying.