Domestic violence has recently become a national awareness because it was considered something inside the home and private even when the end result of domestic violence was death. The estimated domestic abuse against women has been as high as one in four (Bostock, Plumpton, & Pratt, 2009, p. 95). People outside of a domestic abuse relationship tend to make comments about what the victim should do, they say the most notorious phrase of “She should just leave him” but it is not that easy. The answer to this problematic question of “Why doesn’t she just leave?” is she cannot. I argue that the margins on women as victims involved in an abusive relationship prohibits the thought of leaving due to the social and financial barriers and her notion that toleration is strength. The legal system has setup ways of addressing this issue but it has become normalized inside the homes.
Once abuse has started in a relationship, there have usually been a lot of years or time invested into the relationship and some type of commitment has been established so leaving is not the first thought of action (Bostock et al., 2009, p. 99). Habitually the first thought is (in a heterosexual relationship) that he will not do it again because he has not done it before, and the abusive partner will even add to this by saying something similar to “You made me really mad and I promise I will not do it again”. Before most of the physical abuse, he will start the abuse by degrading the character of the victim. He begins to strip the victim of her social outlet by constantly calling and making her check in so he knows where and who she is with at all times. The victim knows mentally that this is abnormal, but she also thinks he is just being very caring. Forgetting that it seems abnormal, the victim allows the thought of him caring so much to consume her mind. Every action her partner does towards her, she will put towards how she thinks he feels about her. When he hollers and fuss at her she will think that she needs to do something more, something else, and/or something differently to please him because he is a good man. If he is taking care of her, he has automatically been pictured as a good man because of what societal rules are about what a good man is suppose to be. Society says that a good man takes care of his partner and family and that he is showing he cares by providing for them. Often friends will tell her to leave and then tell her what they would not put up with concerning the abusive relationship. The victim will most likely lean more to the abuser because her friends have not offered her help but have done almost exactly what the abuser is doing which degrading the victim. When the abusive partner has succeeded in separating and isolating the victim from her family, friends, and other social networks, she has no one to ask for help (Waldrop & Resick, 2004, p. 295). This puts her in a social box where her partner is the only one with a key out.
In addition to her partner establishing barriers on her social life, he is typically the person in control of the household finances. When someone leaves their home, if he or she does not have any means of finances, the probability of them surviving is unlikely, but even they have some social connections which put them at a better chance of survival than a domestic violence victim. Financial resources will contribute to a battered victim’s choice of staying in the relationship (Waldrop & Resick, 2004, p. 291 & 296). If the victim has a child or children, she knows when she does want to leave the violence that she has to have money to take care of them and to make sure they are not found. The amount of available money for the victim is crucial in determining whether to stay or leave. Often times the victim decides to stay until a better opportunity presents itself.
Addressing the issue of getting the police or the law involved is very complicated. There are specific rules and steps…