Those who have never been in an abusive relationship cannot understand just why a woman would stay and allow this to go on and on. There is no easy answer. Most abusive relationships don't start out that way. I imagine if it did there'd be far less women in abusive marriages. All seems fine until one day it progress into violence. By then, the woman may find herself unable to leave for a variety of reason. Some of the factors that make her stay are:
Limited financial options--Usually an abuser has complete control over the family finances. The woman usually has at least one dependent child and no property that they can call their own. The husband controls everything--bank and credit accounts--and doles her out a minimum allowance each week, enough to buy food, but not enough to put aside.
Believing that the abuser will take the children away.--The abuser threatens the wife with child custody. He points out that he makes enough money to hire the best of lawyers while she none.
Threats to harm the victim--My ex threatened to kill me if I left. He said no matter where I went in the city he would find me. Of course, he never follow through, but it was enough to scare me into staying.
Self-blame--The victim, "I deserve this. He is a good man who works hard. He deserves to have his dinner on time." "I'm no good. I'm a bad person".
Believing the abuser will change--My goddaughter was involved with an abusive man who actually stabbed her in the stomach during an argument. After being released from jail, he returned begging her forgiveness. She took him back believing he was a changed man. He ended up sexually molesting her 11 year old daughter and threatening to toss their baby from a moving car. (He's locked up now).
Believing violence is normal--Many of those who grow up in violent homes believe it is totally normal for one partner to abuse the other.
Limited housing options--The first time I left my ex I went to Victim's Services and was put up in a hotel paid for my public assistance. Roaches and mice ran free. Addicts and alcoholics lined the hallways. They gave me a daily allowance for food, but it barely covered my children. I went hungry. They finally found me an apartment and sent me to welfare for the rent and security. I sat there all day to be told at closing time to come back tomorrow. Same thing the next day. By then the apartment was gone and my children were getting sick. I had no other choice. I went back home.
Low self-self esteem--Years of verbal abuse by my mom had totally destroyed whatever self-esteem I had. And the fact that my ex would often use the same words she used didn't help any. My ex: "You're ugly. No one will want you." My mom to a boyfriend of mine: "What do you want her for? She's only going to be a fat old drunk like her father." Both took pride in pointing out how bad and stupid I was.
Isolation--The abuser keeps the victim isolated from family and friends. I see this happening now with my granddaughter. She's become involved with a very controlling man. We live in different states and not to long ago my son and I made a 4 hour trips to a family reunion at my daughter's house. My granddaughter never called or showed up. I later heard that he instead demanded that they visit his parents.
The victim still loves him--Or they believe they do. Like me, they never felt love while growing up so they had no idea what love really is.