Victims of Domestic Violence Stay with Abusers out of Fear

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Even the District Attorney prosecuting Chueng Lee's case is surprised at Mrs. Lee's request to be able to spend time with her husband.

While it may seem odd for a woman to have feelings for someone accused of trying to kill her - it's not uncommon.

A local expert says we shouldn't ask why victims stay with their abusers, but rather why abusers continue the cycle of violence.

The director at The Women's Community in Wausau says sometimes the only option for victims is staying and surviving the best they can...or leaving and possibly being killed.

Making the decision isn't easy. The threat of death is very real in many cases. She says 13 area women in the last 12 years have been murdered as a result of domestic violence, and all but one of them left the relationship before they were killed.

"I'm always asking the community to put the focus and the energy on holding perpetrators accountable and stop asking victims to end the violence. If victims could end they violence, they would," said Director Jane Graham Jennings.

She says people have several misconceptions and that domestic abuse knows no boundaries. It cuts across all cultures, classes, education levels and races.

Many victims stay because of fear, financial restraints, family pressure, religious beliefs and because many still love their partners.

The director says requests for service at The Women's Community continue to increase, and the level of violence occurring within homes is also on the rise.

Plus she says when victims see others in the community who have murdered, they're less likely to leave their relationship.

Overall, she says, it's important for the community to support victims and to condemn the perpetrators who continue the cycle of violence.

If you are in an abusive relationship, contact The Women's Community in Wausau or call the national domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE to find a shelter near you.