Why Women Stay with Men Who Hur t Them 321
This is my
home. I don’t
want to leave, I
just want him to
stop hitting me.
would I go? He
would kill me
“Why does she stay?” is the first question most people ask
when they hear about a woman who is being abused. There are
many reasons why a woman might choose to stay in an abusive
relationship. They include:
• fear and threats. The man may have told her, “I will kill you,
kill the children, kill your mother... if you try to leave.” She
may feel she is doing everything she can to protect herself
and others by staying.
• no money, and no place to go. This is especially true if he
has controlled all the money and not allowed her to see her
family and friends.
• no protection. There may be nothing to stop him from
coming after her and killing her.
• shame. She may feel the violence is somehow her fault, or
that she deserves it.
• religious or cultural beliefs. She may feel it is her duty to
keep the marriage together, no matter what it costs her.
• hope for change. She may feel she loves the man and wants
the relationship to continue. She may think there is some
way to make the violence stop.
• guilt about leaving the children with no father.
But perhaps a better question to ask is, “Why doesn’t he go?”
If we ask why she does not leave, it says that we think it is her
personal problem to solve. It is wrong to think of the violence
as only her problem.
• The whole community needs to be responsible for the
health and well-being of every person in that community.
• It is the man who is committing a crime by violating the
woman’s right to live free from physical harm, or by killing
her. His actions should be challenged and stopped.
➤ If we ask why
she does not leave,
it says that we think
the violence is her
to solve. The whole
community needs to
be responsible for the
health and well-being
of every person in
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012