One in Four…

Raising awareness about issues related to domestic & dating violence

Why Do They Stay? May 4, 2012

Filed under: child custody,divorce,domestic violence,financial control,Why do they stay? — Women's Studies Intern @ 10:11 am

A few weeks ago we blogged about SPENT, an online program that challenges users’ notions of poverty as they attempt to survive life’s challenges as a low-income individual.  We urged our readers to test themselves and play.  That got us thinking; why not create our own questionnaire that challenges our readers to think about why victims stay in abusive relationships?  Leaving an abusive relationship is not as easy as simply walking out the door.  It is a process, and the motivations and results vary according to each woman or man.

Imagine you are a victim of domestic violence and answer Question 1.  Then, follow along as you begin to think about why victims of domestic violence might stay in their abusive relationships.  Click on “RESULT” to learn more about how the scenario can affect a victim of domestic violence and the statistics surrounding that affect.

  1. Are you married to your abuser? (If yes, go to Question 2)
    RESULT

    Are you dating but living together with your abuser? (If yes, go to Question 2)
    Are you dating but living apart from your abuser? (If yes, go to Question 3)
    —-
  2. Do you have somewhere at which you can stay if you decide to leave? (Go to Question 3)
    RESULT

    Do you have the financial abilities to afford to rent an apartment or home? (Go to Question 3)
    RESULT

    —-
  3. Do you have a child or children? (If yes, go to Question 4.  If no, go to Question 6)
    RESULT
    —-
  4. Is your abuser the father or mother to your child(ren)? (Go to Question 5)
    RESULT
    —-
  5. Do your children require child care? (Go to Question 6)
    RESULT
    —-
  6. Are you employed? (Go to Question 7)
    RESULT
    Are you unemployed? (Go to Question 7)
    RESULT
    —-
  7. Do you have health insurance? (If yes, go to Question 8.  If no, go to Question 9)
    —-
  8. Is your health insurance dependent on your continued relationship with your abuser? (Go to Question 9)
    RESULT
    —-
  9. Do you speak English?
    RESULT
    Are you non-English speaking?
    RESULT

These few questions reflect just some of the situational reasons why a victim may stay with her or his abuser, but there are a multitude of emotional reasons as well.  Some of these include fear of the abuser, love, believing no one can help, or being isolated from friends and family members by the abuser.  Ultimately, it is the victim’s choice whether she or he wants to leave an abusive relationship.  Safety should be prioritized.  We must validate the experiences of the victim and allow her or him to make her/his own decisions.

We would love to hear about your experiences following along with this blog post.  What are some other things that may keep a victim from leaving an abusive relationship or keep her or him from speaking out about her/his experiences?  Leave your comments below.

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