Barriers to Escaping


Victims do not have a choice to just walk out the door with no consequences.

A battered individual may believe:

• the violence is temporary.

• with loyalty and love, she/he can make the other person change.

• the promises that it will “never happen again”.

• it is their responsibility to keep the family together.

• there will be more good times.

Most victims do not want the relationship to end; they want the violence to end.

Fear is a major factor. Many believe their abusers’ threats that they will be killed if they try to leave
She/He may fear:

• More severe abuse

• Retaliation if their abuser finds them

• Destruction of belongings or home

• No one will believe him/her.

• Criticism from friends and family

• Harm to job or reputation

• Stalking

• Being charged with a crime by the abuser.

• Harming children, pets, family or friends

• The abuser may threaten or commit suicide

• Court or police involvement.

The average battered individual leaves 7 to 8 times before permanently leaving a relationship.

Reasons vctims often return to their abuser include: economics • Few job skills • Limited education or work experience • Limited cash • No access to bank account • Fear of poverty.
Sometimes there is pressure from community of faith/family • Family expectation to stay in marriage “at any cost” • Family denial of the violence • Family blames her for the violence • Religion may disapprove of divorce • Religious leader may tell her to “stay and pray”.
A victim may also stay because of guilt/self doubt • Guilt about failure of the relationship • Guilt about choosing an abuser • Feelings of personal incompetence • Concern about independence • Loneliness.
Concern for Children • Abuser may charge her with ‘kidnapping’ or sue for custody • Abuser may abduct or abuse the children • Questions whether she can care for and support children on her own • Fears losing custody of her children • Believes children need a father.
Lack of community support • Unaware of services available to battered women • Lack of adequate child care • Few jobs • Negative experiences with service providers • Lack of affordable housing • Isolated from community services.