Victims of Abuse: Why Don’t They Leave?

Victims of Abuse Why Don't They LeaveThis is not an uncommon question.  It is often asked by those who have not experienced and do not understand the complexity of remaining in a abusive relationship.  The truth of the matter is that many people who are in relationships where no abuse occurs do not immediately leave even when there is trouble in paradise, or they leave and then return, similar to men and women who are in abusive relationships.  The answer as to why they remain in the abusive relationship is as complex and complicated as how they will break free from the relationship.  Leaving the relationship is a process. Professionals who work with victims of abuse know that the most dangerous time is when the victim leaves because the abuser becomes more violent.

Victims of abuse may face several hurdles to leaving the relationship. This list is not exhaustive:

  • Economic Dependence on their abuser/Lack of Work Experience/Lack of financial resources
  • Fear for their safety or the safety of their children and/or other family members.
  • Isolation — no support system.
  • Beliefs about Family — the victim may believe that family should not share family secrets. Guilt about breaking up the family unit.
  • Beliefs about Marriage — the victim may believe that separation or divorce is not permissible.
  • Belief that the abuser will find and kill the victim.
  • Society’s response against victims — legal system, religious systems, family systems, and community.
  • Belief that the abuser will change.
  • Attachment and love for the abuser.
  • Fear of losing custody of their children.
  • Lack of Information about community resources that advocate and support.

True Words Out of Babes…

True Words out of BabesOne of my two, too many, jobs as a LPC Intern is being a group facilitator for a battering intervention prevention program (BIPP).  With that being said, I work with men and women who have battered their intimate partner/family member.  I love facilitating these individuals, because they provide insight into why someone would hurt their loved one.  Most of the time, it is what was taught to them by their parents.  In the group, we examine two wheels: power and control and equality.  Most of the group members report that they find the group helpful in knowing that they are not alone, there are alternative choices than violence and that they are not judged as a bad person due to their frowned upon behaviors.  The hardest discussion to have with these group members is the effect that domestic violence has on their children.  After all, children follow the saying “monkey see, monkey do”.  So, when I watched this video of these children rejecting the request to slap a woman, I felt lighthearted!  There is still good in this world and these young men proved it.  Watch this short clip and tell me what you think and feel about our next generation!

Domestic violence

Domestic violence Domestic violence can be identified a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is utilized to maintain or obtain authority and power over an individual. Domestic abuse can be sexual, physical, psychological, emotional, financial, threats or actions of actions that influence another individual. Like any other situation in life, domestic abuse has stages. The stages tell how and why victims continue to be with their abuser and live in the same house with them. Victims might experience physical harm such as broken bones or bruises. They might experience hopelessness, nervousness or social seclusion.

The Tension-Building Stage

This is the initial stage; the abuser gets mad with ease. Frequently abusers vocally hassle their significant other throughout this stage. It may look as if the abuser is starting a fight with their partner. Arguments may become uncontrollable. The abuser might segregate their partner from family and friends. The victim starts to feel that something will occur but does not know when it will happen or what will set the abuser off. The abuser accuses the victim for the abuse and their troubles. To stay out of harm’s way the victim might pullback in order not to make the abuser mad all over again. The abuser may gradually become more envious & vocally abusive.

Financial Abuse – Common Signs

According the the Cycle of Power and Control seen in my previous post here, financial abuse is part of physically and emotionally abusive relationships. WomensLaw.org defines it as making or attempting to make a person financially dependent, e.g., maintaining total control over financial resources and withholding access to money, are some forms of financial abuse (also called economic abuse). Below is information on how to recognize financial abuse:

Specific signs of Financial Abuse in relationships may include:

Keeping her “barefoot and pregnant.”

This entails keeping the woman pregnant just about every year of the relationship which can prevent her from seeking or keeping employment. Between doctor’s appointments, child care and housework she may be unable to obtain or maintain employment. The financial abuser often uses guilt to deter her from wanting to do anything without the kids or may call her a bad mother.

Financial Abuse – Common Signs

According the the Cycle of Power and Control seen in my previous post here, financial abuse is part of physically and emotionally abusive relationships.  WomensLaw.org defines it as making or attempting to make a person financially dependent, e.g., maintaining total control over financial resources and withholding access to money, are some forms of financial abuse (also called economic abuse). Below is information on how to recognize financial abuse:

Specific signs of Financial Abuse in relationships may include:

Keeping her “barefoot and pregnant.”

This entails keeping the woman pregnant just about every year of the relationship which can prevent her from seeking or keeping employment.  Between doctor’s appointments, child care and housework she may be unable to obtain or maintain employment.  The financial abuser often uses guilt to deter her from wanting to do anything without the kids or may call her a bad mother.

National Domestic Violence Month 2013

Today is the last day of October National Domestic Violence Awareness month.  What is considered domestic violence?  The National Domestic Violence Hotline describes domestic violence as a “pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner”.   Whether it is sexual, emotional, verbal or physical abuse, domestic abuse can occur at anytime and anywhere; regardless of one’s sexual orientation, gender, age, race, and/or religion.  Family First Counseling wants to inform you of the descriptions about domestic violence, statistics and ways that you or someone that you know, can receive help in escaping the domestic violence cycle.

Verbal/Emotional Abuse (often disregarded, but one of the most detrimental):

~  Puts you down with name calling.
~  Demands you to ask for his/her permission to do something.
~  Acts jealous of others (family, friends, coworkers).
~   Controls your financial means.
~  Threatens to hurt you, your family members or pets.