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Reasons for Staying in Intimately Violent Relationships: Comparisons of Men and Women and Messages Communicated to Self and Others

NCJ Number
Journal of Family Violence Volume: 26 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2011 Pages: 21-30
Jessica J. Eckstein
Date Published
January 2011
10 pages
This study examined the reasons why victims of abusive stay in the relationship
Victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) often are blamed for remaining in abusive relationships. As a result, victims may communicate messages rationalizing why they stay. Systematic, comparative examinations of these messages directed toward self and others by males versus females have not been conducted. This study addresses a gap in the literature by exploring victims' communication regarding staying. Self-reports of 345 heterosexual IPV victims (N=239 women, 106 men) demonstrated that more justifications were communicated internally to self than externally to others. Men and women differed significantly in only 3 of 14 messages, with men choosing more stereotypically masculine reasons for staying. Findings are discussed in terms of applications to victims and their stay-leave decisionmaking in IPV relationships. (Published Abstract)