Great strides have been made in the domestic violence arena since the early 1970’s when women first advocated for domestic violence shelters and prosecution of batterers. But as we see time and time again, through the press, social media and for some of us in our own lives, women are still forced to stay in situations that are unmanangeable, insecure and at worst dangerous.
These are the top ten reasons indicated by the National Domestic Violence Hotline that are obstacles to a woman leaving her batterer
1. Advocate: The victim doesn’t have an enthusiastic supporter on their side so may feel discouraged or hopeless.
2. Batterer: The batterer is wealthy, famous, powerful in the community, etc., and can afford to hire private counselor and pressure decision-makers.
3. Believes Threats: The victim believes the batterer’s threats to kill them and the children if they attempt to leave.
4. Children’s Best Interest: The victim believes it is in the children’s best interest to have both parents in the home, especially if the abuser doesn’t physically abuse the children.
5. Children’s Pressure: The children put pressure (independently or by the abuser’s influence) on the abused parent to stay with their partner.
6. Culture and Race: Because of differences in race or culture, the victim worries about being treated unequally by the justice system if they come forward, or believes stereotypes about acceptable actions in their own culture.
7. Denial: The victim is in denial about the danger, instead believing that if they could be better partners, the abuse would stop.
8. Disabled: Victims who are disabled or physically challenged face obstacles in gaining access to court and social services, and may be isolated from basic info about resources.
9. Elderly: Elderly victims may hold traditional beliefs about marriage and believe they must stay, or are dependent on the batterer for care even in the face of physical abuse.
10. Excuses: The victim believes the abuser’s excuses to justify the violence, blaming job stress or substance abuse for example.
Understanding can help us all support the hurdles a woman may go through when making choices regarding her safety or the safety of her family.
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