Researchers explain how abused women decide to leave their partners

November 14th, 2007 - 10:31 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Nov14 (ANI): A recent study on family relations revealed the stages abused women go through before deciding to leave their partners.
The study conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign nvolved 19 mothers who were divorcing or seeking to modify their custody or child support arrangements.
The participants indicated that their former husbands had committed at least one of seven acts of physical abuse more than once.
According to the study an abused woman goes through all the below given stages before taking the final decision of leaving their husbands.
First is the precontemplation stage when the woman often denies of being abused by her husband.
Second is the contemplation stage when the mother begins to realize that she has landed into an abusive relationship.
In the third stage the exploitation of the woman piles, which carries a noticeable effect on the children.
In the fourth stage the woman tries to hold back her marriage.
In the last stage the woman finally, reclaims her identity and continue to deal with an ex-husband’s attempt to have control on her children.
“The process of leaving an abusive relationship can take years, and there may be many attempts before a woman finally leaves permanently,” said Jennifer Hardesty, a U of I assistant professor of human and community development.
“It can be a frustrating experience for the people who are trying to help her, especially if they don’t understand the stages that women go through before they are able to leave,” she added.
The researchers also claim that there are clear markers that help in identification as to which woman is in the process of leaving her husband.hey however added that not all women left their husband in the same way.
“Some women get hung up moving from the thinking stages to the action stages, especially in the later stages, there can be a lot of back-and-forthing,” said Lyndal Khaw, a graduate student who adapted Prochaska and DiClemente’s Stages of Change model for the study.
“If a woman is driven to react in a dramatic way, she may even leapfrog over a stage. The information we gained will help us tailor advice and resources to women, depending on the stage they’re in. We’ll be able to meet them where they are.
“When people learn that a woman is being abused, there’s a tendency to encourage her to leave. But a woman who’s in the first two ‘thinking’ stages of the model may not be ready to call a shelter. She may be blaming herself and telling herself: If I’d just shut up, he wouldn’t have slapped me,” she explained.
“When this woman does reach the planning stage, she’ll then be ready to accept help-for example, securing a safe mailbox, establishing a separate bank account, or hiding her children’s social security cards,” she added.
Talking of the impact on the children, Khaw explained that they play an important role in decision making of the mothers. Fifty-three percent of the mothers were moved to action in order to protect their children
“He only used a gun once, and that’s when I decided to leave,” one participant said.
The authors also said “It’s important that practitioners offer support-based interventions that will help mothers cope with the physical and emotional issues surrounding multiple exits and returns. Some women must gradually gain the confidence and resources needed to sustain that final exit.”
The study was published in the October issue of Family Relations. (ANI)

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