Why Does She Stay?

This is a question we hear over and over again. The short answer is, if it was that easy to leave, she would. Unfortunately it is not that easy. Ending an important relationship, no matter how bad things are, is never easy. In most cases there are extenuating circumstances making it even more difficult such as not having family and friends who can help, being psychologically beaten down, financially controlled or physically threatened. Having children further complicates matters as does having family pets the abuser is threatening to harm or destroy.

There is no easy solution. There are always barriers to overcome. Barriers that may be situational, emotional, personal, cultural and/or religious based. Each presents its own challenge. And, each needs to be overcome.

Situational Barriers
• Lack of alternative housing – no where to go
• Lack of information about alternatives
• Lack of support from family and/or friends
• Lack of financial resources or skills
• Threat of greater physical danger to herself and her children if they try to leave
• Fear of being found and suffering a worse beating than before
• Anxiety of the unknown
• Believing the abuser will harm or destroy family pets

Emotional Barriers
• Being insecure and fearing not being able to cope alone with the children
• Believing things will get better and the abuser will change his behaviour
• Does not want anyone to know of the abuse
• Believing that she deserves the abuse and will never find anyone better
• Remembering what life used to be like before the violence started
• Putting everyone else’s needs before her own
• Believing him if he threatens to commit suicide if she leaves
• Feeling responsible for the failure of her marriage/relationship
• Being just too tired and worn out from the abuse to leave

Personal Barriers
• Religious/cultural pressure, needing to keep the family together
• Belief that marriage is forever
• Wanting a co-parent for the children
• Believing that it is up to the woman to work things out and save the relationship
• Immigration status
• Lack of support, pressure from family and friends to stay in the relationship