Thanks cocci for the comment and hey dusk, thanks to you too … and heres some info triggered by your comment …

“Why Do Women Return?

From Douglas Larsen,
Your Guide to Abuse / Incest Support.
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The Domestic Abuse Cycle

Why do women return to violent relationships?

This is one of the most common questions asked by the average person who doesn’t understand domestic abuse. This question has become a hot button with advocates, because it placed blame on the victim instead of the perpetrator. One valid response is to challenge the question itself:

“The question is not, ‘why doesn’t she just leave,'” we correct gently. “The question is, ‘why doesn’t he just stop hitting her?'”

We need to get this straight. The blame here lies squarely on the abuser, not the victim.

However, challenging the question only goes so far. A battered woman will return to her abuser eight or nine times before she leaves for good. 

And people ask, “Why?”

The fact that this question has persisted is an example of how poorly society understands the cycle of violence and the needs of battered women. Once you see a battered woman as an actual human being, the reasons she returns to her abuser are logical and straightforward.

Let’s look at a battered woman with typical problems. A crisis center or Hotline tells her they can place her in a safe home, so she leaves her abuser. She brings her two children (in 70% of domestic violence cases if a man is beating his wife, he is also beating his children). After a few days in the safe house, the crisis center tells her that their funding only pays for three or four days residence.

“So what do I do now?” she asks. The crisis center gives her a list of battered women’s shelters.

There’s only one problem. All of the shelters are full.

She has no place to go. Her family abandoned her when she married the guy. Her friends can’t afford to take her in, or are afraid to do so because her husband is so violent. She has no money and no resources, because everything is in her husband’s name. She ends up living in her car.

The first or second night they spend in the car, she takes a serious look at her problems.

  • She’s homeless.
  • One of her children has a fairly serious medical condition, like asthma or allergies. But the insurance is in her husband’s name, so medical care is not available.
  • They’re hungry, and she has no idea where she will get their next meal.
  • Since they’re homeless, she risks losing custody of her children to her husband. And if he gets sole custody she won’t be able to defend them.
  • She has been a wife and mother for years, so her education is either incomplete or obsolete. She has no job prospects or job training and is looking at a life in poverty, working at McDonald’s.
  • Her husband beats her.

Notice that domestic violence is the sixth problem on her list. And as she sits in the car, watching the windows fog up, on alert for danger, listening to her children try to sleep, she is forced to face facts. If she returns to her abuser, five out of her six problems will be solved.

Abusers create these situations deliberately. They work to force their victims to stay with them by destroying all other options. And domestic violence will end only when society addresses all of the problems facing a battered woman.

Some of these problems do have answers and there are many domestic abuse survivors. We’ll address these solutions in future articles, including developing personalized Safety Plans. But let’s return to the question we posed: “Why does she go back?”

And now we have the answer: “Because everything is stacked against her.”

Don’t condemn the woman who goes back. Celebrate the woman who manages to escape.”


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