In light of the Ray Rice and Janay Palmer [Rice] intimate partner violence that took place in Atlantic City, I was personally moved to contemplate why women choose to stay. In respect for Janay Rice’s privacy and her rights as a victim SBM will not not post or link to the video nor provide pictures of the attack.

I was moved to contemplate, because I still have some questions that I need to ask my own mother. My father, may he rest in peace, was a drug abuser and had some incidents of intimate partner violent acts. What made her finally decide to leave was one day when he came home and my mother seeing the confusion in the eyes of children as to the state that their father was in. Was he high? Was he sober? Should we greet him with love and a hug or does he need some space? She chose to leave New York, my father and relocate to California regardless of what lied ahead.

There are tons of articles with the opinions of individuals asking why did she stay, stating that she should leave, or some other decision that is devoid of her own voice. The fact of the matter is she chose to stay. Could she have left? Of course, but the decision is up to her. That’s not an easy decision, but it’s her choice. A family therapist stated via a WNYC podcast “any licensed therapist/psychologist would advise her to stay only if it’s safe to stay and the abuse stops.”

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After doing some research a few reasons why victims of intimate partner violence stay:

1. Repair the relationship

Love isn’t all rose petals and soft pillows. When you’ve been in relationship with someone for a long short period of time it can be difficult to just leave or call it quits. There can a hope to see the relationship go from violent to abuse-free.

2. Forced

When there is a history of violence in a relationship it isn’t always videotaped. More often than not it is going on behind closed doors and not visible to others. The abuser when physically or mentally at an advantage can put measures in place to insure that the abused can not leave their sight.

3. Children are involved (fear of losing them)

In violent relationships there is often a competition for power, and children can be used as bait to make someone stay in the relationship.

4. Opinions of others

As common as divorce is in certain cultures and circles it is frowned upon. A good friend of mine, Aviva Klein, has a portrait series to bring awareness to the Agunah community, which consists of Jewish women whose husbands refuse to grant them a Jewish divorce.

Others who are abused, but want to keep the veil of perfect relationship will also not leave or even speak about it to others. These are only a short few reasons why women stay.

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Are there other reasons you feel women stay that has not been stated above?
If you were in an abusive relationship would you stay? Why or why not?
Do you feel Janay is staying for the right reasons? Why or why not?

By AlacrityAmir

Amir is a research scientist and community activist, who is also inspired to not only see growth in himself, but those he comes in contact with.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AlacrityAmir
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