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Why Do Domestic Violence Victims Stay Silent?

Posted in Domestic Violence on March 30, 2018

One in four women, or 24.3%, and one in seven men, or 13.8%, in the United States have been the victim of physical violence by an intimate partner. Physical violence is a common form of domestic violence, but it is certainly not the only form of it. Almost half of all American women and men have experienced psychological torment by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. With the severity of domestic violence, it can be difficult to understand why a victim would not immediately report the situation.

Emotional Factors

A victim might stay silent because he or she loves the batterer. Victims often retain some love their partners despite violence or torment. A relationship exists between the two people, and both the victim and the violator could have a difficult time ending the relationship.

The victim could also believe that there is a chance that his or her partner will change and end the violence. A victim could also worry that the tormentor would not be able to survive alone.

Other emotional factors affecting why a domestic violence victim would not report the situation could include:

  • Fear of loneliness
  • Guilt about a failed marriage
  • Concern about potential independence and loss of emotional support
  • Fear of making a significant life change
  • Belief that he or she can help the abuser overcome the tendency for violence

Situational Factors

A domestic violence victim may stay silent because of various situational factors. The abuser could financially support the victim and children, making economic dependence a significant factor. Victims may also fear that their abusers may put children in physical danger if they report the violence.

Other situational factors that could keep a victim from reporting abuse include:

  • Fear of emotional trauma for the children
  • Fear of losing custody of the children
  • Lack of housing
  • Lack of job skills
  • Fear of social isolation and abandonment of friends and family
  • Fear of court involvement
  • Cultural and religious restraints
  • Fear of retaliation

Stockholm Syndrome

Stockholm Syndrome refers to a victim feeling an attachment to his or her abuser or feeling as if he or she is a hostage and cannot leave. It is a psychological symptom that some victims of violence or kidnapping experience.

Symptoms and explanations of Stockholm Syndrome include:

  • Being grateful for small kindnesses from the abuser
  • Denying or rationalizing the violence
  • Denying anger at the abuser
  • Wanting to help the abuser and fulfill his or her needs
  • Trying to see things from the abuser’s perspective
  • Seeing the authorities as the enemy
  • Fearing that the abuser will find him or her after leaving
  • Experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Experiencing nightmares, fear, anxiety, and other emotional and mental reactions

Victims of domestic violence are in complicated, traumatic situations that are impossible to understand from an outside perspective. The choice to stay silent is complex and accompanied by countless factors, but it is never too late to get help. If your partner is accusing you of domestic violence, you need an experienced Riverside domestic violence attorney. Contact Graham Donath Law Offices, A.P.C. for dedicated defense in your domestic violence case.