Why do Women Stay?

Source: Report on Domestic Violence in Algoma 2005

Some reasons why women stay in abusive relationships:

  • Fear of physical abuse/fear for life
  • Love for partner. Wants to be together.
  • Believe things will get better
  • Afraid of negative impact on children.
  • Afraid of failure: family, friends, community
  • Religious beliefs
  • Feels helpless, nothing will help
  • Feels guilty about some of the things she did wrong.
  • Blames herself for the violence.
  • Lack of financial resources
  • Negative response from community, police, courts, social workers, etc.
  • Unable to use current resources because of how they were provided (language, disability, homophobia)
  • Partner started doing things she had been asking for.
  • Fear of partner doing something to retaliate (report her to welfare, courts, etc.)
  • Needs time to plan and prepare to leave.
  • Feels insecure about competence as a person.
  • If she stays, she at least knows what to expect (better sense of control)
  • Their partner’s/husbands’ families or even their own have urged them to stay
  • They feel responsible for maintaining the unit of the family.
  • Their culture has communicated to them they must stay for “better and worse”
  • They feel the law will penalize them if they leave the home
  • They fear they cannot provide resources, time, love to their children by themselves.
  • They do not want their children to grow up without fathers.
  • They hope that he will change.
  • They are afraid of losing their house hold and personal possessions.
  • They have an alcohol/drug/food/sex addiction and feel immobilized.
  • Fear of the unknown/fear of change
  • Fear of being without a mate/partner. Thinks this is the best she can do.
  • Exhaustion – too tired to do anything
  • They hear negative stories, comments, and believe stereotypes about “single mothers” from families, friends, politicians and others in positions of power.
  • They are too embarrassed and ashamed to be on welfare.
  • They believe that the abuse is not too bad compared to the other women they hear about.
  • Their minister/priest has told them to stay.
  • They are so ashamed that their husband has abused them as they have no understanding of the dynamics of power and control.
  • They are disabled and need someone to care for them.