Why Do Victims Of Domestic Violence Stay?

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domestic violence
Is it OK to ask victims of domestic violence why they stayed with the men who abused them?

Because that's probably the answer you'd get. It's certainly the one I would've given all those years ago. The Frisky: Why I'm Happy To Be Single (For Now)

Besides, don't you think these women are wondering why themselves? Even more than the brutality my abuser inflicted upon me, my most vivid memories from this time in my life are of the now-incomprehensible trifecta of humiliation, extreme self-loathing and, believe it or not, guilt.

Guilt might not make sense to someone on the outside looking in, but the sense that you're somehow responsible for your abuse is overwhelming.  So when we ask a woman why she's staying in an abusive relationship, it just makes her feel worse about herself.

So what should we do? I think back and wonder what, if anything, anyone could have said or done to help me out of such a sad situation.

  • My boyfriend's parents knew what was happening. They saw it first-hand. Perhaps if they had relied on mental health professionals instead of prayer, they could've actually helped their deeply disturbed son and saved the female population from another violent predator.
  • My parents saw my black eyes and bruises, but I lied to cover them up. I don't blame my mom and dad because though they hated my boyfriend, I doubt they wanted to believe this was happening to their kid. We had a highly contentious relationship and short of having me institutionalized the only thing they could've done was foster a nurturing, mutually respectful relationship from the jump, and by my teen years, that ship had sailed.
  • The woman on the street who saw me being beaten and asked if I wanted her to call the police should've just called. If I answered yes, I could very well have gotten myself killed. Even though I like to think it would have ended things, I have no idea if police intervention would've done the trick or if I would've wound up like one of those sad battered women you see on "Cops," screaming at the po-po to leave her man alone.
  • A complete stranger saw me walk away crying after my boyfriend slugged me in front of a crowd of people (who said nothing). She took me by the arm, led me into a small café, sat me down and ordered me a Coke.
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