Domestic Violence: Why Do Women Stay?

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What is battering? Why do men batter? Why do women stay? These are all questions that I will answer. I will also offer insight into the minds of victims that may help give a better understanding to the devastating cycle that hides behind the doors of many homes today that is known as Domestic Violence.

What is battering? Battering is a pattern of behavior that is used to establish power and control over another person. This control can be obtained through many different avenues. Minimizing, making light of the victims concerns, shifting responsibility and laying blame. Isolation, controlling what the victim does, reads and limiting outside involvement all together, even from family. Intimidation, causing the victim to feel afraid by using looks, gestures, or actions, such as demonstrating violence in her presence. Emotional Abuse, putting the victim down, calling her names, convincing and making her believe she’s crazy, humiliating, depriving her of sleep and playing mind games.

Why do men batter? Battering begins and continues because violence is an effective method for gaining and keeping control over another person. Batterer’s usually do not suffer consequences for their behavior, which encourages them to keep up their behavior. They get a sense of security when they have control that makes them feel better about themselves. Some of the characteristics of batterer’s include men that see women as property, they have low self- esteem, they don’t take blame for their behavior, and they appear to be very charming and often are seen as a “nice guy” to outsiders looking in. They often have traits such as extreme jealousy, possessiveness, unpredictable behavior and a bad temper.

"Why do women stay in violent relationships?" is generally answered with a victim-blaming attitude of abuse. They are often accused of having no character or they must like or need bad treatment, otherwise they would leave. Others may be told that they "love too much" or have "low self-esteem." Common sense would probably have most rational people thinking in this way.

The truth is that no one enjoys being abused, no matter what kind of emotional state or self-image they may have. Some of the emotions that I experienced in this kind of relationship are isolation, paranoia, shame and embarrassment. As a victim of abuse, I, like many victims, didn’t rea...

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...feelings to hopefully numb the pain. Yet, I needed to remember the pain in order to keep my strength to refrain from going back to my husband. Victims go back to their abuser an average of eight times, this is due to the dependency and the feeling that you can’t live without your abuser, which is a belief that is tactfully instilled by the abuser and learned and accepted by the victim.

Domestic violence is horrifying, confusing, and disorienting to say the least. With limited support from friends and family and a society that seemingly supports abuse, or rather, punishes victims for leaving their abusers. We, as a whole, ask that famous question, “Why does she stay?” She stays because there isn’t a way out.

Work Cited:

1. Mason, Miles. “The ABC’s of Divorce” Divorce Source.

2. Fischer, Kay-Laurel and McGrane, Michael F. Moving Beyond. Saint Paul, MN; Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, 1997.

3. Brown, Cathy. Personal Interview. November 17, 2004.

4. McGee, Susan. Survivor’s Handbook for Battered Women. August 29, 2003.
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