Why Do Women Stay in Abusive Relationships?

Why Do Women Stay in Abusive Relationships? October 5, 2010

Here on my blog I have a page called, “7 Reasons Women Stay in Abusive Relationships.” Its text comprises a series of my posts—there run together as one whole piece—in which I delineate and explore those seven reasons.

Yesterday I was pleased to learn that the entire “7 Reasons” essay was cut and pasted into a members forum on Our Place, a website intended as “a place for anyone who is dealing with, or thinks they may be dealing with, verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, spiritual or financial abuse.”

Here are some of the comments about “7 Reasons” left on that forum:

“Most helpful, strong stuff I have read in a long time. Very sobering.”

“Thank you SO MUCH for posting this … funny stuff, but oh-so true! I’ve only scanned over the article once, but I can already see there is SO MUCH GOOD STUFF that will help me and I think will also help my kids!”

“Thank you so much. You deserve an award for posting this info! Great info indeed.”

“This is one of the most powerful bits of writing on abuse I’ve read.”

“I sit here with my mouth wide open in amazement at the way John describes to a ‘T’ the reason why I cannot move “him” out of my life … I don’t really know if I am glad that I have read this or if I am in shock …”

“I posted the link to this wonderful article on my Facebook page, and my son (20) sarcastically commented … “I think you should listen to that dude, Mom.”

“Really empowering. Life changing. Something I’ll come back to again and again.”

Since first posting “7 Reasons,” I would guess that I’ve received one hundred letters from women telling me how profoundly and positively it affected them. Many of them told me they found in it the inspiration they needed to finally escape their abusive relationship.

When “7 Reasons” was available on Scribd.com (for free, of course), it was downloaded and read 22,000 times. I’ve heard from lots of doctors, counselors, and domestic violence centers who have incorporated “7 Reasons” into their processes and programs.

I’m pretty sure that nothing I ever write will do more people more good than that piece.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you would, please spread the link to this piece as far and wide as you possibly can. (Its shortlink is: http://wp.me/P4O2q-1SN ). A lot of women whose abusive husbands have cut them off from society search online for human connectedness and help. (The night before last I received an email from a woman who wrote to say that “7 Reasons,” plus the people she met through Facebook while her husband was at work, gave her the courage to carefully plan the escape of her and her three children from the abusive marriage that for ten years had been devastating their lives. This morning that man woke up to find his dumb ass where it belongs: alone.)

Put the link to “7 Reasons Women Stay in Abusive Relationships” on your Facebook page. Put it on your blog. Share in on Twitter; StumbleUpon/Reddit/Digg it. But get it out there. You never know who might read it at a moment of their lives they need it most.

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  • Mindy

    Bless you, John Shore.

  • Great stuff, as usual, John (but October is a month, not a week).

  • Oh, THANKS for that find David! Yowzer. Changed. Thanks again.

  • As so often, I have to agree with Mindy. Bless you.

  • John. It's important to note since the realisation that DV or intitmate partner abuse IPA includes verbal, emotional and mental as well as physical that its now recognised that 40 % of DV or IPA victims are men.

    A 2004 Canadian department of health paper shows that 7 % of women in a hetrosexual relationship with suffer DV and 6% of men will be victims also….current figure from America, Europe and Australia / New Zealand is showing the same that male victims are 33% – 45% of all DV victims.

    Also what many shelters and advocates for Women and Children neglect to say is that around 75-80% of child murders by a parent are by the mother and not the father.

  • Ace


  • Don Whitt

    Wow. That's incredibly insensitive Ace.

    You've mentioned the deconstruction of "the cultural prescripts of masculinity" and one of the best places to help start that is to avoid the reinforcement of the stereotypical vilification of men. Try it – you'll find it liberating.