Why Does She Stay

Many women stay in violent relationships because they are afraid of the consequences of escalating the violence. The highest number of fatalities from domestic violence occur when a woman leaves or tries to leave the relationship.27 In addition to fearing for their own lives, battered women may fear for the safety of their children, pets, or others whom the batterer has threatened to harm if she leaves.

Some women stay because they have been systematically cut off from family and friends; they believe they have nowhere else to go. The batterer's control of information and giving of "disinformation" may make them think that no one will believe their story. They may also stay because of cultural or religious beliefs about the sanctity of the family.

For many battered women, especially women with small children, the lack of money or skills to obtain gainful employment can be a serious impediment to leaving the relationship. Their concern for their children's well-being may hold them in the relationship.

Finally, battered women may stay because they still love their partner; they don't want to end the relationship, they just want the violence to stop. Why Doesn't She Tell?

A significant obstacle to identification is the battered women's reluctance to talk about, or outright denial of, battering. Many women do not tell physicians about the violence because the women fear that the information may not be confidential. They fear retribution if the batterer learns of the "betrayal." Some women do not tell because they are embarrassed or ashamed; they believe that their situation is unique and somehow related to their own failures in the relationship. Finally, they may not talk about it because they believe the physician does not care, cannot or will not help, or is too busy for this type of problem.

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