A question that often comes up when people think about abusive relationships is why doesn’t the person just leave. Unfortunately, the situation is often not this simple. Abuse is a complex issue and there are many barriers that could stand in a person’s way.
One of the main reasons I think people stay in an abusive relationship is for economic reasons. If an individual is dependent on their partner for money to live, than it will not be particularly easy to leave. As we discussed in class, men who are the sole earner in a household may control the amount of money the wife has access to. Even if the wife receives an allowance, it is usually not a large amount and there is not enough extra money to be able to leave.
Another factor that plays a role when a person stays in an abusive relationship is their religious or cultural beliefs. If an individual has a strict religion, they may not think it is okay to get a divorce. They may either have to come to terms with violating their religion or stay in the relationship. Also, some cultures would not be as accepting of a woman leaving her husband if he was abusing her due to different norms.
Individuals who have suffered from verbal and physical abuse may have very low self-esteem. This will also affect the likelihood that they will leave. They may think that their partner is the best that they will be able to get; the abuser may have even planted this idea in their head and reinforced it with more verbal abuse. Also, the person being abused may think that their partner will change. This is part of the cycle of abuse that occurs and an individual may hope that the change will occur because they do not want to end the relationship.
People often see it as the victim’s fault when they do not leave. However, this is an insensitive viewpoint. It is difficult to know how any person is actually feeling and what they are experiencing. Many people do not understand all of the factors that are at play and how hard it is to actually leave.