Reasons for Staying in Intimately Violent Relationships: Comparisons of Men and Women and Messages Communicated to Self and Others When introduced to relationships that involve abuse, whether verbal or physically violent, many simply ask why the victim doesn’t Just leave. In a sense, this puts blame on the victim for remaining in such a relationship. According to the study, this may result in the victim communicating reasons rationalizing why they are staying. This study also addresses “comparative examinations of these messages directed toward elf and others by males versus females(21). Researchers have examined male and female victimization and their reasons for staying in an abusive relationship, yet no studies have “comparatively, and quantitatively looked at male and female victim’s reasons for remaining in abusive relationships(21b” and how this can be tied to how the victim may view this as a front to their personal social identities that they normally communicate to others and themselves. The objective of Eckstein’s study was to “determine if victims’ reasons for staying in IPV relationships differ according to sex and/or intended source of message(21). She sets the background of her study with current research that describes “prominent theoretical perspectives on gender identity to understand male and female(22)” Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) victimization. She uses the Stages of Change Model (Prochaska and DiClemente 1984) in order to frame her research questions. Then presents results of a survey study that assesses communicative reasons for staying in an abusive relationship. In social settings, humans exchange or present an identity of themselves or allow thers to see who they want them to see of themselves.
This can include affiliations with social positions, such as being part of certain groups or apart from. They may act a certain way to fit social norms in different settings or enact behaviors of expected gender roles. In these ways, it may effect someone to accept the problem or move away from the problem. Cultural norms may also influence the way someone may perceive their victimization. Placing blame on the victim may make the victim criticize themselves for not leaving the relationship.
Women and Men are expected to lay a certain role in the family and that may also complicate the process of leaving because of being subjected to the power of their partner and their own feelings of helplessness. Although understanding social stigma and identifying internalized sense of failure, the process of leaving can still be stunted with rationalizations. When someone’s process of leaving is applied to the Stages of Change Model, we can identify which stage they may be stuck at or failing to overcome.
Many appeal to tradition or religion as rationale for not leaving, fear of repercussions, societal mbarrassment, protecting their children, or lack of involvement by officials have influenced their feelings of helplessness. In order to see which factors may impact more for which gender, a survey study was held to try and explore this area: What abusive partners? What differences, if any, exist between male and female reasons for remaining with abusive partners? This survey recruited participates through internet postings in general hobby, violence, and family specific forums and chat groups.
A total of 345 people, 239 females and 106 males, participated with an age range of 18-72 years of age and busive relationships that ended immediately after the abuse began or lasting as long as 51 years. The results of the questionnaire allowed for “several distinct groupings” to emerge. These groupings came out to ten categories: (a) lack of practical resources, (b) lack of relational resources, (c) excusing the partner, (d) positive emotions, (e) face concerns, (f) fear, (g) hope for the future, (h) normative behavior, (i) tradition, and O) parenting.
These reasons for staying provide support for the “leaving process as not only stages of change, but also comprised of relational ncertainty, boundary management, and the presence of intrusion in relationships(27). ” This is because the outwardly reveal the internal processes at play when a victim is contemplating their abusive relationship. This awareness may not only aid in identifying where a victim is in the process of leaving, but also supports the stage theories of change in IPV victimization. Men in the survey placed more emphasis on personal strength, fatherhood, and a desire to protect others.
According to gender roles and societal norms, men who are abused deviate from these gender xpectations and are subject to ridicule. Cultural awareness is definitely a must if victims are being forced to stay victims due to upholding gender expectations. When used with the Stages of Change Model, the position of where someone is at in their process of leaving can help to distinguish between how ready they are to leave and how much help a counselor or third party can provide. For example, in the precontemplation stage, this person isn’t planning to leave and may give reasons such as the abuse being normal or giving excuses for their partner.
Contemplators, acknowledge the problem and consider leaving, but may use religious or marital obligations as reasons for staying. Those in the preparation or action stage, may cite lack of resources, such as being dependent on their partners or not having another place to go. Although a very important study, there were limitations to its information. One of these being that the survey was done online. This limits participation to those who are literate, have access, and are members of the particular groups that the survey was given to.
Also, to ensure the safety of the participate, no records were kept for IP addresses or where the participate was from. So the sample may extend to outside the United States. Additionally, participates were mostly female, so the sample for men may be from exceptional cases rather than an ideal comparison group. Perceptions of abuse could also be different, as men may not perceive slapping or hitting as assault while women may. This study has shown that gender roles and societal pressures may warp a victim’s view of rationalizing, internally and externally, how severe their abusive relationship s.
Men may choose more stereotypically masculine identity reasons for staying, but overall both men and women converge on the reasons they give to themselves and others for remaining in IPV relationships. Eckstein, Jessica J. “Reasons for Staying in Intimately Violent Relationships: Comparisons of Men and Women and Messages Communicated to Self and Others. “Journal of Family Violence. 26. 1 (201 1): 21-30. Print. Prochaska, J. 0. , & DiClemente, C. C. (1984). The transtheoretical approach: Crossing traditional boundaries of change. Homewood, IL: Dorsey Press.