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Domestic Violence: Why Do Victims Stay?

Summary: One question you may ask a victim of domestic abuse is, "Why do you stay?" The answer is much more complicated than you think.
Air Date: 9/27/13
Duration: 10
Host: Dr. Leigh Vinocur, MD
Guest Bio: Dr. Diana Fite, MD
Dr. Diana Fite of Houston, Texas is an attending physician at two hospital emergency departments in Houston—Methodist Willowbrook and Christus Saint Catherine’s — as well as at freestanding emergency facilities in Tomball and Katy, Texas. She also served for 22 years as part-time clinical assistant professor for the emergency medicine residency program at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

In 1995, Dr. Fite became the first female president of the Texas College of Emergency Physicians and the first and only and emergency physician to serve as president of the 12,000-member Harris County Medical Society. In both roles, she raised the visibility of emergency medicine and championed issues of importance to the emergency physicians and patients.

Dr. Fite grew up in the Texas Panhandle and earned her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.
Domestic Violence: Why Do Victims Stay?
The one question you may ask of a victim of domestic abuse is, "Why do you stay?"

But the answer is much more complicated than you might think.

In fact, there are many reasons why a woman (or man) might stay in an abusive relationship. She may have no place to go, no money saved up, no job. She may fear for the safety of her children and other loved ones, especially if the abuser has made threats of that nature. In essence, she may fear that the situation that will result from leaving will be much worse than the one she is currently in.

When a victim leaves, and the batterer loses that power and control, that is when things get really dangerous. It is times like this that you hear the horror stories of shootings in public places, or graphic details of harm or even murder.

Fortunately, there are many more resources nowadays to help women get through this process. Women's shelters and other groups are equipped to deal with all the questions, needs and help a victim may need when he or she decides it is time to go.

Emergency Rooms can also be a place or respite, as almost all physicians are now trained to recognize the symptoms and signs of abuse.

Join special guest, Dr. Diana Fite, MD, as she discusses the many reasons women stay in these harmful situations, and what you can do if you or someone you love is suffering.