Why she stays

Women stay in abusive relationships for many reasons.  They do not stay because they “want to be abused”.

A battered woman may believe:

  • His violence is temporary.
  • With loyalty and love, she can make him change.
  • His promises that it will “never happen again”.
  • It’s her responsibility to keep the fgamily together.
  • There will be more good times.

She may tell herself:

  • He’s had a hard life.
  • He needs me.
  • All men are violent; it is to be expected.

She may deny or minimize the violence.  She may believe her abuser when he tells her that his abuse is “her fault”.

Fear is a major factor.  Many women believe their abusers’ threats. She believes he will kill her if she leaves him.  She may fear:

  • More severe abuse.
  • Retaliation if he finds her.
  • Destruction of her belongings or home.
  • Harm to her job or reputation.
  • Stalking.
  • Charging her with a crime.
  • Harming children, pets, family or friends.
  • His committing suicide.
  • Court or police involvement.


  • Few job skills.
  • Limited education or work experience.
  • Limited cash.
  • No access to bank account.
  • Fear of poverty.

Pressure from community of faith/family.

  • Family expectation to stay in marriage “at any cost”.
  • Family denial of the violence.
  • Family blame her for the violence.
  • Relition may disapprove of divorce.
  • Religious leader may tell her to “stay and pray”.

Guilt/Self Doubt

  • Guilt about failure of the relationship.
  • Guilt about choosing an abuser.
  • Feelings of personal incompetence.
  • Concern about independence.
  • Loneliness.

Concern for Children

  • Abuser may charge her with “kidnapping” or sue for custody.
  • Abuser may abduct or abuse the children.
  • Questions whether she can care for and support children on her own.
  • Fears losing custody of her children
  • Believes children need a father

Lack of community support

  • Unaware of services available to battered women.
  • Lack of adequate child care.
  • Few jobs.
  • Negative experiences with service providers.
  • Lack of affordable housing.
  • Isolated from community services.
  • No support from family and friends.

Will it get better?

Studies show that over time, without intervention, abuse in the home gets more frequent and more violent.