Why Doesn’t Rihanna Just Leave? The Myths & Realities of Leaving An Abusive Relationship

I’ve been following the Rihanna/Chris Brown story and aside from the Hollywood glam that’s been dominated the coverage, I wrote this piece after reading this Alternet article for the third time ….


“I’m sick and tired of hearing the same old myths being perpetrated about domestic violence. The one that gets under my skin the most is “Why doesn’t she just leave?” Why aren’t we asking the abuser “why doesn’t he leave?” It’s not the survivor’s responsibility, it’s all about power & control that prevents an abusee from leaving an abusive relationship.

The three major characteristics that prevent abusees from leaving an abusive relationship is love, hope, and fear. The abusee believes her abusive partner still loves her. That he/she’s abusing the abusee because he/she loves her/him. You’d be amazed to know how prevalent this thinking is. This is a major reason why abusees don’t leave abusive relationships.

Then there’s hope. There’s the idea that if I only do this or that better, then his/her abusive partner will change his/her behaviors. The other excuse to stay in the relationship is “he/she won’t hit me again, he promised.” There’s that piece of hope in there too.

Then there’s fear, another major reason why abusees don’t leave abusive relationships. There’s the fear that the abusee can’t live on her own. There’s the fear that if the abusee leaves, that the abuser will come beat her some more or even kill her/him. Statistics, domestic violence experts, and survivors of domestic violence will tell you that THE most dangerous time for an abusee in an abusive relationship is AFTER the breakup. So that keeps the cycle of violence going AND prevents abusees from leaving relationships. I’m certain that these three factors played into Rihanna’s situation.

It’s NOT as easy as people make it out to be. Learn the facts of what keeps domestic violence going… especially for us males.”


Another man against violence against women,

– Christian Avard, a.k.a. “ctrenta”


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    • ctrenta on March 8, 2009 at 09:23
    • rb137 on March 8, 2009 at 09:54

    And it’s cruel for people to smugly judge her. It’s just damned mean. No one knows what keeps her there. But the “love hope fear” model is too simple, as well. It’s a start, but it barely scratches the surface, I suspect. I think it’s really important to take her decision to stay seriously and not minimize her for it. She just might not be ready. I wish her well, though.

    I was once in an abusive marriage. I searched for a while to find the right time to leave. Not love nor hope nor fear kept me there. It was finding the time when I was ready. And when I left, I was done.

  1. don’t/can’t/won’t think like sociopaths.


    My mother taught me that.  People vary in their capacity to deal with it or not.  The only thing that saved my sanity was the paranormal world, not everybody does that.

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