Why Victims Don't Leave

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Domestic Violence
Signs of Abuse

Why Victims Don't Leave

People who are victims of D.V. Become conditioned to believe that there is nothing they can do to help themselves. There is a term called Learned Helplessness that was studied in the 50's and 60's. Animals placed in chronically abusive situations were unable to escape the violence when a clear alternative (escape route) was provided for them. This is because after a while they gave up hope of ever being able to change their circumstances and were therefore no longer able to see, or have hope in, potential solutions. Research indicates that people in chronically abusive situations become unable to make decisions to save themselves. Even when an escape route is obvious to others, the abuse victim is unable to see it. There is a learned helplessness that develops over time, and it makes the victim feel powerless and unable to act assertively. She stays because she is terrified that he will become more violent if she leaves, that he will try to take the children, that she can't make it on her own. The average woman in a domestically violent situation tries to leave the situation 7 times before they are successful at leaving permanently. Support your friend and help her to regain that feeling of hope and self-worth until she is able to make the break.
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