The victim may have no marketable skills to find employment or to provide housing, child care, health care and other necessary living expenses. Threats of bodily injury or death and threats of loss of custody are also part of the picture. The victim many times feels it is easier to stay in an abusive relationship and at least be provided for.
Moderator: The theme of this year's Domestic Violence Awareness Month is "It Shouldn't Hurt to Go Home." This seems aimed at children. Assuming the children in a relationship aren't physically abused, what effect does observing violence have on them?
Carol: Many children, every day, witness a parent being abused by someone. Even though they themselves may not be physically abused, there is mental injury that leaves permanent damage. Often, when they become an adult, they can repeat the abusive cycle, thinking that it is normal behavior. But while they are still young, witnesses to violence have a tendency to exhibit low self-esteem, behavior problems or poor school performance. Parents are the center of a child's world and they often feel helpless when someone is hurting their mom or dad.