DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: WHY DOES SHE STAY?
Domestic Violence: Why Does She Stay?
University of Phoenix
“Why did you stay?” she was asked. Liz Faith, a former victim of domestic violence, now detective at the Bellevue Detective Family Violence Unit responded, “See I love that question because for me, the only answer to that question is, ‘Why are you asking me that question?’. To me it’s like, who cares why I stayed. Why do people even ask that question? Why aren’t people saying, ‘Why did he do that?’ To me it doesn’t matter. Why do women stay? Well, they stay for a number of reasons. They are in love, and I was in love. You know, they are dependent and the other person is dependent on them. There are a myriad of reasons, but the women, by staying in a violent relationship, are not breaking the law. Men, by assaulting their partners, are violating the law. They are committing felonies. They’re criminals.” (KING-TV, Seattle (Producer) (1995). Hostages at Home (Available from Intermedia,1165 Eastlake Avenue E, Suite 400, Seattle, WA, 98109) Many people have the misconception that if a battered woman wanted to leave, she would just get up and go. People tend to overlook the environmental barriers that keep a woman from leaving an abusive situation. They also do not consider how the batterer may have prohibited her from leaving. Most do not focus on the behavior of the batterer, rather question the mental characteristics exhibited by the victim. This research will ask the questions that we should be asking. How difficult is it for women to overcome the obstacles presented to them by being in abusive relationships? How do they and their children safely leave these situations? Why do
women leave? When do women leave? How can the community assist in the leaving process or help in general with this growing epidemic? Oh, and by the way, why isn’t the perpetrator asked to leave? There are many misconceptions surrounding the question, “Why does she stay?” As a matter of fact, many don’t stay in abusive relationships at all. Some women leave for only a short period of time until things have “blown over”. Some women leave after the first physical explosion and never go back. Statistics show that the average amount of times a woman will leave an abusive partner is 7 times, before she will actually leave for good. (The Oakland County Coordinating Council Against Domestic Violence. (2009). Handbook on Domestic Violence. Retrieved from http://www.domesticviolence.org) Many people believe that a woman will be safe once she leaves an abusive relationship. This, more times than not, is quite the opposite. The most dangerous time for a battered woman, is once she has actually left the abusive person. This is when the abuser tends to “up” the violence because they feel like they are losing control of her and the situation. Abusers usually stalk their partners after they leave, as well. Abusers are more likely to kill their victims after they leave, while trying to leave, or when the victim tries to exert some type of independence. This type of violence in the world of domestic violence workers and advocates is called “separation violence” and is considered the most dangerous time of all. (The Oakland County Coordinating Council
Against Domestic Violence. (2009). Handbook on Domestic Violence. Retrieved from http://www.domesticviolence.org) Some battered women are held against their will and truly considered hostages in their own homes. Abusers terrorize their victims psychologically and attempt to brainwash them to keep them in the relationship. Constant badgering or “breaking down” of the victim leaves them feeling helpless and confused. Survivors of domestic violence have often been put into the same category as survivors from concentration camps, physically abused children, prisoners of war, religious cult members and...
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