A new study of battered women apparently overturns the widely held belief that such women stay with their abusers because of financial dependence. A survey of domestic violence victims treated at San Francisco General Hospital shows that the vast majority had been abused earlier, but only 7% of the women relied on the batterer for their sole financial support.
In a report last week in the Western Journal of Medicine, physicians Daniel C. Berrios and Deborah Grady stressed that the reasons a domestic violence victim remains with the assailant are complex and may include threats of more violence. Further, physical separation from a batterer did not ensure protection; a third of the victims were not living with the assailants at the time of the violence, the study found.
Using cases of 218 domestic violence victims who sought treatment at the emergency department of San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center, researchers found that 86% of the victims reported at least one previous episode of abuse. Ten percent of the victims surveyed were pregnant at the time of abuse, 30% reported they had been abused during a previous pregnancy, and 5% stated they had had miscarriages because of abuse.
In 48% of the incidents, victims said the batterer had alcohol or drug problems.