Click here for my segment from today on WFAA Midday News talking about Domestic Violence.
Leaving a violent relationship is a process, not an event, and for many victims, they cannot simply “pick up and go” because they have many risk factors to consider. Here are a few things to consider about domestic violence on why victims continue to stay in that relationship:
- Like most people, victims of domestic violence are invested in their intimate relationships and often strive to make them healthy and loving.
- Some victims hope the violence will end if they become the person their partner wants them to be.
- Others believe and have faith in their partner’s promises to change.
- The abuser’s “good side” can give victims reason to think their partner is capable of being nurturing, kind, and nonviolent.
Guilt – Shame – DENIAL
- Victims of violence rarely want their family and friends to know they are abused by their partner and are fearful that people will criticize them for not leaving the relationship.
- Believe the abuse is their fault.
- Victims often feel responsible for changing their partner’s abusive behavior or changing themselves in order for the abuse to stop.
- Guilt and shame may be felt especially by those who are not commonly recognized as victims of domestic violence.
Emotional and physical impairment
- The psychological and physical effects of domestic violence affect the daily functioning and mental stability of the victims. Making the process of leaving and planning for safety challenging for victims who may be depressed, physically injured, or suicidal.
- Abusers often use a series of psychological strategies to break down the victim’s self-esteem and emotional strength.
- In order to survive, some victims begin to perceive reality through the abuser’s paradigm, become emotionally dependent, and believe they are unable to function without their partner.
- Threats to find victims, inflict harm, or kill them if they end the relationship.
- The abuser threatens to seek sole custody, make child abuse allegations, or kidnap the children.
- Many victims are stalked by their partner after leaving.
- Lack of income, viable job skills or education, affordable daycare, safe housing
- Often, victims find themselves choosing between homelessness, living in impoverished and unsafe communities, or returning to their abusive partner.
- Abusers establish control over victim by isolating them from support systems.
- Victims often separate themselves from friends and family because they are ashamed of the abuse or want to protect others from the abuser’s violence.