Death by Love

Whenever we read or hear about women who have been in abusive relationships for years, the first question we ask is, "Why does she stay?"

The answer is never simple, but often involves some or all of the following reasons:

Many women feel they provoked the abuse, or are worried they will be branded a "failure" if the marriage or relationship ends. She may also believe that her children need their father.

Learned helplessness
This is the belief of many women that they have no power or control over the situation. Often, this is a result of a previous attempt to leave being blocked by police, counselors, friends or relatives. It is very difficult for a woman in this situation to recognize that she does have options.

Emotional dependence
Despite the abuse, many women still love their partner, and their sense of worth and approval is linked to him. She may also want to avoid the social stigma of a divorce or broken relationship.

Financial dependence
Some women in abusive relationships may have no or few jobs skills, and a fear that she will not be able to support herself and her children if she leaves. She may not have a car or any money of her own.

Many women are afraid of being on their own, or being found and beaten again by their partner, or are worried about their children's safety. Many women hope that this time will be the last time he beats her.