The reasons why women stay in violent relationships are highly complex and occur on many levels.  The summary that follows attempts to breakdown and categorize some of the motives operating to cause a woman to stay.  All of these factors are not found in each case, but a combination of some of them is usually enough to keep the woman together with her husband/partner.


Frequency and Severity

  • The battering may occur over a relative short period of time.
  • He may tell her, and she may be convinced that this battering was the last time.
  • Generally, the less sever and less frequent the incidents, the more likely she’ll stay.


Her Childhood

  • She may have lived in a home where her father beat her mother and accepts it as natural.
  • The more she was hit by her parents, the more likely she’ll stay.  In other words, she learned at an early age that it’s okay to hit someone you love when they’ve done something wrong.
  • She, or one of her siblings, may have been a victim of child abuse or incest.


Economic Dependence

  • She may be economically dependent on him and see no real alternative.  In her eyes, it may be worth putting up with the abuse in order to gain economic security.
  • Economic conditions, today, afford a woman with children few viable options.  She often has no marketable skills.  Government assistance is very limited and many women dread welfare.
  • Her husband may control all of their money and she may have no access to cash, checks or important documents.



  • She believes her husband to be almost omnipotent.  She sees no real way to protect herself from him.  Many of her fears are justifiable.
  • If she – or even a neighbor – reports then to the police, he will often take revenge upon her.
  • Often, she is so terrified, that she will deny abuse when questioned.
  • Some women are afraid that, if they report the crime of tell of the abuse, their husband might lose his job … the only source of income for the family.