Domestic Violence: Why Women Stay.

Every time we ask “why didn’t you just leave?”, we engage in victim-blaming.

Steiner tells the dark story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence.

Domestic violence is “Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.”  (Source – Women’s Aid.)

MYTH: Domestic violence stops on separation or once the relationship ends
FACT: Women are at a higher risk of violence and of being killed after leaving violent partners . Domestic violence continues long after the relationship has ended – 76% of separated women suffer post-separation violence . It is one of the most significant causes of repeat homelessness and repeat victimisation. 79% of women leave their violent partner because the abuse is affecting their children or they fear for their children’s lives . (Source – Women’s Aid, UK.)

What are the signs of domestic violence?

  • Destructive criticism and verbal abuse: shouting/mocking/accusing/name calling/verbally threatening
  • Pressure tactics: sulking, threatening to withhold money, disconnect the telephone, take the car away, commit suicide, take the children away, report you to welfare agencies unless you comply with his demands regarding bringing up the children, lying to your friends and family about you, telling you that you have no choice in any decisions.
  • Disrespect: persistently putting you down in front of other people, not listening or responding when you talk, interrupting your telephone calls, taking money from your purse without asking, refusing to help with childcare or housework.
  • Breaking trust: lying to you, withholding information from you, being jealous, having other relationships, breaking promises and shared agreements.
  • Isolation: monitoring or blocking your telephone calls, telling you where you can and cannot go, preventing you from seeing friends and relatives.
  • Harassment: following you, checking up on you, opening your mail, repeatedly checking to see who has telephoned you, embarrassing you in public.
  • Threats: making angry gestures, using physical size to intimidate, shouting you down, destroying your possessions, breaking things, punching walls, wielding a knife or a gun, threatening to kill or harm you and the children.
  • Sexual violence: using force, threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts, having sex with you when you don’t want to have sex, any degrading treatment based on your sexual orientation.
  • Physical violence: punching, slapping, hitting, biting, pinching, kicking, pulling hair out, pushing, shoving, burning, strangling.
  • Denial: saying the abuse doesn’t happen, saying you caused the abusive behaviour, being publicly gentle and patient, crying and begging for forgiveness, saying it will never happen again.
    (Source – Women’s Aid.)If you are in need of help please contact your local police, tell a friend, tell your family doctor – please don’t suffer in silence. Helpful Resources: Women’s AidThe HotlineCanadian Women’s Foundation, and HELPGUIDE.ORG.
  • It is my (The Double Parent’s) opinion that we need more awareness of the abuse that happens AFTER women leave these relationships, and that we need more support for women during post-relationship abuse, and we need a way to stop these abusers who continue to abuse. I also believe that “the system” and society at large facilitate (knowingly or unknowingly) this continued abuse and that big changes are necessary – so that women who do escape abusive relationships can move on and live in peace and safety
  • Click here to watch Violence and Silence.

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9 thoughts on “Domestic Violence: Why Women Stay.

  1. […] here if you have ever wondered why women […]

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  2. mitch8061 says:

    In the late 70’s, I was in a domestic abuse situation but it happened so gradually, I didn’t realise what was happening until he had taken control of my life and began dictating what I could or couldn’t do, enforcing his opinions on me, treating me like I was stupid as well as telling me I was stupid. Telling me I was fat when I was a size 14 dress size (I’m 5ft 7in tall) and eventually in the final 2 weeks of the 18 month relationship, resorting to physical violence and denying it even though he had hit me and dragged me across a floor by the hair. I was lucky, I didn’t have kids so it was easier to leave him but it scarred me for life and it took me 10 years to trust a guy again. At 55 yrs old, I still get butterflies in my stomach if a bloke raises his voice to me. I didn’t have access to any women’s aid groups and no one knew what had been going on because he had convinced me that no one would believe me if I told them anyway and I felt so ashamed. He made me feel guilty and said it was all my fault too. I hope others who find themselves in similar circumstances can find the courage to leave their abusive partners and get the help and support they need. Never lose sight of your worth, … YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME, … YOU ARE ENTITLED TO FEEL SAFE AND LOVED AND RESPECTED IN ANY RELATIONSHIP, IT IS A RIGHT NOT A PRIVILEGE.

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing. I am delighted you found the strength to leave and managed to do so. You are 100% right, victims of domestic abuse are not to blame and have the right to feel safe and be loved!

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  4. bonnie says:

    thank you for sharing your story. by sharing it openly, and often, you surely have helped people.

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  5. I was bullied in my marriage and subsequently discovered my husband was having an affair. I vividly remember reading online the definition of domestic abuse and trying to figure out if what I was going through could actually have been defined as abuse because I wasn’t being physically beaten up. I was frequently told I was irritating and miserable and it got to the point where I believed it all. He swore at me a lot and looking back I think I was probably too weak and too scared to leave. Finding out about his affair was the final straw and I somehow managed to gather the strength to ask him to leave. I’ve now been separated for 20 months and I’m still being bullied to a certain extent.

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  6. […] a single mom to my four month old baby boy when I met my second husband. I had just got out of an *abusive marriage and was in therapy for PTSD/Anxiety. I was always scared. When I met him, he immediately jumped […]

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