Navigate:

Why do involuntary victims endure domestic abuse?

This question, in a roundabout way, comes back to one frequently asked:
"Why does she just not leave?" Very often that question, separated from a particular situation, invites blaming the victim for her own abuse. It appears that some woman have a higher threshold of abuse: Many try to "work things out," and tolerate the intolerable until it becomes unbearable. In some situations, that violence escalates until a woman fears for the safety of her children.


It is untrue that the majority of victims of domestic violence just silently take it. Victims may engage in various survival and coping mechanisms. They often call the police or family members, seeking help to protect themselves and their children. A woman with no money, few friends, distant relatives, no car, no job faces a different set of hurdles than a woman with money, friends, supporting relatives, a vehicle and a career. In some cases, the first obstacle is that a woman may not have a place to go, which is why shelters have appeared all over the country in the last 30 years.


Moreover, some woman are embarrassed to admit to themselves and the world that their husbands are abusive.


There have been cases where women endured captive existences not all that different from the one depicted in The Collector, the John Fowles novel about a man who collected women (one at a time) and held them against their will the way he collected butterflies.


Moreover, according to psychologists, very often efforts at escape -- leaving an abusive partner -- trigger retaliatory violence by the batterer.


Some victims may appear to take it by remaining silent during the abuse. This can be a survival strategy, because the victim may have found that the violence increases if there are protests. Some victims may suffer through a beating to keep the abuser from attacking his or her children. This silence does not mean that the victim wants the abuse.