50 Obstacles to Leaving: 11-20

50 Obstacles to Leaving: 11-20

Can you imagine the frustration of a victim being asked, “Why don’t you just leave?”

talking with children

While leaving seems like a quick and easy fix to escape abuse, we know that leaving an abusive partner is a complicated, difficult challenge and often the most dangerous time in a relationship. Victims have many reasons for staying. This week we’re giving you 50, adapted from Sarah M. Buel’s “Fifty Obstacles to Leaving, a.k.a., Why Abuse Victims Stay.”

11. Family Pressure: Family members exert pressure if they believe there’s no excuse for leaving a marriage or if they’re in denial about the abuse.

12. Fear of Retaliation: The batterer has shown willingness to carry out threats and the victim fears harm to themselves or the children if they leave.

13. Fear of Losing Child Custody: The batterer has used the threat of obtaining custody to exact agreements to their liking.

14. Financial Abuse: Financial abuse can take many different forms depending on the couple’s socio-economic status — ex. If victims have been forced to sign false tax returns or take part in other unlawful financial transactions.

15. Financial Despair: The victim realizes that they cannot provide for themselves or their children without the batterer’s assistance.

16. Gratitude: The victim feels gratitude toward the batterer because the batterer has helped support and raise their children from a previous relationship, or take care of them if they have health, medical or other problems.

17. Guilt: Batterers have convinced victims that the violence is happening because it’s their fault.

18. Homelessness: Homeless abuse victims face increased danger, as they must find ways of meeting basic survival needs of shelter, food, and clothing while attempting to elude their batterers.

19. Hope for the Violence to Cease: This hope is typically fueled by the batterer’s promises of change, pleas from the children, or family’s advice to save the relationship.

20. Isolation: The victim has been cut off from family, friends and colleagues and lacks a support system or people to stay with.

Comment section

4 replies
  1. The most recent abusive relationship was approximately 3 months ago. I was involved with a man who constantly lied, manipulated, psychologically distorted incidents, refused to buy food, wouldn’t give me money but wanted me to work in the house and then say we didn’t come into agreement on a salary. He drug me on the carpet I had huge marks from this on my body…He had a minor scratch from me trying to protect myself. I went to the police to report the incident and they took his side. Why? Because he was from the city, he is a pillar in the community , knows the police officers and his brother is an attorney. It was as if I was the abuser . The police lied on the report. He lied and it seems unbelievable. When I got a lawyer he pretended to be interested in my case but once again he knew the abuser and didn’t attempt to bring justice. He wanted to sweep it under the rug and protect the abuser as well. It’s an on going cycle of women not being taken seriously. If you are beautiful you are seen as a gold digger while the abuser goes free.SMH

  2. Shay,

    Thank you for contributing to our blog community. It sounds like this has been a frustrating situation. It takes a lot of courage to seek help and it can be frustrating when the justice system isn’t helpful. Unfortunately, this is not unheard of and many times people who are abusive are very manipulative and can make themselves seem like the victim.

    If you would like to talk about what has happened or look for possible resources feel free to give the National Domestic Violence HOTLINE a call at 1-800-799-7233. An advocate is available 24/7 to offer guidance and support.


  3. I went through many of those roadblocks to leaving. My situation looks like something out of a daytime talk show. The simple explanation is that I was abused, isolated, blackmailed, coerced, threatened, for to swing so the my now ex would not be mean to our kids because he told me if I didn’t do what he said that he would take it out on our teenagers…Even though my divorce was final in February of 2012, I am still having to fight to keep my daughters away from their crazy abusive father. It seems that whoever is the most manipulative and conniving person with more money for a bigger lawyer firm will win. I thought mediation was going to protect my daughters a year ago when it stated that the relationship was so broken down and that my daughters had good reasons not to see their father and that they didn’t have to unless they initiated a visit themselves, but my ex husband ran away from signing the final mediation papers. We have chased him for a year with 5 court dates that he has managed to have moved. Now he has filed papers ignoring the mediation and demanding retribution for not having seen the daughters that he abused. I am told now that in good faith I must send my daughters to a counselor that my ex husband has already contacted and lied about himself as soon as he became aware that our daughters were going to counsel with that person. I do not want my ex to attempt to see the same counselor that my daughters would see. Our daughters never wish to see their father again and they are almost 18 and almost 17. I am concerned that even after hearing my daughter’s stories, that this counselor will try to force my daughters to see their father during counseling sessions. Due to a case management meeting that the lawyers had with the magistrate, it now states that I was to find a counselor and it only gave me two days, and the wording states something to the effect of “father and children will get psychological assessments with a counselor and proceed with family counseling at the recommendation of the counselor. If my ex manages to make it be ok for him to see the same counselor as or daughters then our daughters are not protected. My ex is very manipulative and manages to look like a fine upstanding person. For many years no-one knew how he treated his family at home. He is a firefighter/paramedic and is respected by a lot of people. This made it difficult for me to even get police reports near the end of our marriage when I no longer would sit back and let my ex threaten me or the kids. When I started getting death threats by text message on Memorial Day last year, the police actually told me they would not be making a report and that I should erase the message and forget it happened. The next morning I got another message and I contacted my attorney. My attorney told the police there would be trouble if the did not investigate. I was then given a detective. After 5 months the detective informed me that my first ex husband was the one who wrote me the death threats. This made no sense to me or anyone else. My first ex husband had not seen me in years and had no contact with me. He should not have even known my number or that I was divorced since he lives several hours away from me. It has always been my belief that either my current ex hired my first ex or that somehow my current ex made it look like my previous ex threatened me. I stayed with my current ex husband for years out of threats and intimidation. He once even told the police in January of 2000 that I was going to kill myself and they believed him because he is a firefighter paramedic and they knew him in the small town we lived in. Way back then he had the police jump on top of me on my way out the door to go meet him at a restaurant. When the police told me I was suicidal I was shocked. My ex was having an affair and he had apparently had his girlfriend call and claim she was my friend and she told the police I was suicidal too. I went to a place to be evaluated and they quickly figured out I was not suicidal. Meanwhile I had no way back to the police department where my kids had been taken. When I got there I discovered that my parents had been called to get our kids since the police did not know if they should believe my or my husband. My ex apparently called my parents child molesters and the police were fed up and called CPS. CPS took our kids all because my now ex husband lied. The next morning I filed for divorce. I was devastated and my kids were gone. I quickly learned that the court did not want to give kids back to a broken home and I had to cancel my divorce in order to look like an intact family. At that point my ex told me that if he ever wanted to have the kids taken away again that it would be very easy for him to do since he is respected. He cut me off from my family by telling me I could never contact them again or he would lie and have our kids taken away from us. I had zero contact with my father from that point on for 9 yrs. The abuse escalated, and I was forced into swinging in order to protect my kids. My ex became addicted to porn and downloaded titles that insinuated teenagers on a constant basis. If I shut down his downloading for the rest of us to use Internet then he would threaten me. Our daughters couldn’t use the printer which was there’s because it was attached to the computer their father used to download porn. He controlled everything we did and even spied on us with webcam while he was at work. The things he did to me which are much worse than I am saying here should be enough for him never to be around kids. Honestly, there is much worse, my ex is sadistic, crazy, narcissistic, possibly docciative identity disorder, manipulative and ruthless. He will not just let go of the control he had over us. I am worried I will not be able to protect my daughters.

  4. Pam,

    Thank you so much for posting your story for our blog community. It sounds like you been through a lot! It also sounds like you’ve done the best you can to protect you and your children. Know that you are not the only person to experience these difficulties from the police and the courts. I can’t tell you how many calls I’ve gotten from survivors who are in similar situations. When your abuser wields so much influence in your community, it can be hard to be heard or for justice to be served.

    If you’d like, you can call us at 1(800)799.7233. We can talk about your situation and maybe get you connected to resources that might be able to fight on your behalf. We are here 24/7 and we are completely confidential.

    All the best,
    Hotline Advocate MC

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