Domestic violence series

What are the things that stop a woman from leaving an abusive relationship?

Here's a quick list, taken from Horley's book Power and Control.

- The power of a charming man who creates an emotional dependency between the two of them.
- Emotional entrapment, saying sorry and pleading on the man's part
- Love that still exists
- Pure fear that if she gets away, he will come after her and the children
- Fear of being alone after being convinced that they are worthless and unable to cope
- Feelings of guilt and shame that she is somehow to blame for the abuse
- Hope that everything might just get better
- Stigma of divorce and being publicly known as a 'battered wife'
- Belief that parents should stay together no matter what
- No one to turn to, after being isolated from friends and family for a long time
- Financial dependence
- Nowhere to actually go - few shelters and public housing that is unsuitable
- Having to move children around is unsettling for them
- Belief that police reactions will be unsympathetic

"Ending any relationship is a painful and complex process for anyone. There will be ambivalent feelings, attempted reconciliations, hopes that things will improve, feelings of guilt at leaving, anxieties at facing a new life. But for an abused woman, the trauma is doubled. It's easy to say glibly, "Women have a choice - why don't they leave if it's that bad?" But do they really have a choice? " ~ Horley

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