Most women will experience physical abuse at some point in their lives, and most assaults of adult women occur at the hands of an intimate partner. But once it happens, the options for most women are few—and bad.
In 1999, law professor and domestic violence survivor Sarah Buel offered up 50 obstacles to leaving, most of which remain unchanged. She points out that the end of the relationship can be just the start of the most serious threats. A battered woman is 75 percent more likely to be murdered when she tries to flee than if she stays.
Welfare is the major safety net for single moms, but its monthly benefit levels are far below living expenses for a family of three. In a study of Texas abuse victims, the number-one reason cited for returning home was financial, Buel writes.
In a cruel twist, the women who have the least access to resources are the most likely to be victimized: One study found that men who refused to give their partners money were almost 10 times more likely to be abusive than men who allowed their spouses to help manage household earnings.
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