Why Some Women Can't Leave

A common question people have when faced with victims of IPV is “why don’t these women just leave?” It seems like the obvious solution to many, but the reality is that there is no easy way for most women to leave. As proven in the previous sections, there are many factors that lead to victimization in the first place, many of which can be carried over to this section as well. Here I will explain why leaving is much more complicated than simply packing a bag

A Bruised Smile

There is an overwhelming number of reasons why leaving isn’t as simple as it sounds. Some of the major external factors that could limit a woman’s ability to leave an abusive relationship include living in an overwhelmingly sexist society, economic dependency, inadequate social support and agency help, etc [1]. Internal factors such as fear conditioning, low self-esteem, and PTSD are also at play [2]. While not all victims experience every one of these factors, many have experienced an overwhelming majority of both these internal and external examples. Victims are also regularly isolated from others and cut off from support systems by their abusers so they can’t get help [3]. As discussed before, many women are also made to be financially dependent on their abuser. As explained in one article, there are instances where “intimate partners intentionally destroy their victims’ economic stability by stealing their money, forcing them to leave their jobs or school, destroying their credit, or damaging their rental unit to the point they are evicted.” Among a sample of instability housed women, abuse was the leading cause for their housing struggle [4]. Financial abuse is detrimental to a woman's ability to leave. With inadequate funds many women are left without a home, face food insecurity, and so much more. 


1. Cervantes, Marisa V., and Jennifer Sherman. "Falling for the Ones That Were Abusive: Cycles of Violence in Low-Income Women’s Intimate Relationships." Journal of Interpersonal Violence (2019): 7.

2. Cervantes, Cycles of Violence: 7

3. 50 Obstacles to Leaving.” Accessed October 30, 2020. https://www.thehotline.org/resources/50-obstacles-to-leaving/

4. Gillum, Tameka L. "The intersection of intimate partner violence and poverty in Black communities." Aggression and Violent Behavior 46 (2019): 41.

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