Why do many women still remain in abusive relationships with their male partners? A new study says they see their partners as dependable and affectionate.
The study by researchers in Toronto and New York suggests that many who live with chronic psychological abuse still see certain positive traits in their abusers — such as dependability and being affectionate — which may partly explain why they stay.
“We wanted to see whether survey information from women who were not currently seeking treatment or counselling for relationship abuse could be a reliable source for identifying specific types of male abusers,” says Patricia O’Campo.
A relatively small number of women (2.3 per cent) perceived their partners as extremely controlling, while 1.2 per cent reported that their partners engaged in extreme generally violent behaviours.
But a considerable number of women felt their abusive male partners still possessed some good qualities: more than half (54 per cent) saw their partners as highly dependable, while one in five (21 per cent) felt the men in their lives possessed significant positive traits (i.e., being affectionate).
Using survey data from a project funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the researchers explored the experiences of 611 urban-dwelling, low-income women.