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Why Do People Stay in Abusive Relationships?

When people hear about a victim of domestic violence who remains in the abusive relationship, a typical reaction is that the victim is “asking for it” by the simple fact that he or she stays. After all, they know that it may, or even will happen again. For some victims, however, it may be just as hard to leave as it is to stay.

Psychology Today reports that 36 percent of women and 29 percent of men have suffered violence from a domestic partner at some point in their lives. You may not be able to see the signs, but many victims suffer both physical and mental health effects. Nearly half of the female victims report depression, while 64 percent acknowledge having post-traumatic stress disorder. Furthermore, both male and female victims are more prone to develop both mental and physical health problems that include chronic pains and numerous, ongoing headaches, as well as diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome. Children who see acts of domestic violence may be more likely to experience a variety of emotional and behavioral problems.

The mental and physical anguish that victims experience in an abusive relationship is also part of the reason they stay. Depression and PTSD can be debilitating. At work, victims are likely to be less productive, often late to work and take more time off, which leads to a higher rate of job loss when compared to non-victims. They may struggle just to function, and facing up to the need to leave an abusive situation can be overwhelming.

If domestic violence is something you have experienced, there are local outreach organizations who can help. Many times, those who work with domestic violence victims have been in your shoes, and they understand what you are going through and the fears you have. You can start with the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-7233, to learn more about making a safety plan.

Another step to consider is obtaining a legal protection order. The order restricts your abuser from coming into contact with you and includes your work or school, as well as your car and home. It gives police the right to remove the abuser from the situation.

This article contains important information about domestic violence. However, it is general in nature and should not replace the advice of an attorney.

For more information, contact Louis Wm. Martini, attorney at law.