Reasons for Staying in Intimately Violent Relationships: Comparisons of Men and Women and Messages Communicated to Self and Others
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Victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) often are blamed for remaining in abusive relationships. As a result, victims may communicate messages rationalizing why they stay. Systematic, comparative examinations of these messages directed toward self and others by males versus females have not been conducted. This study addresses a gap in the literature by exploring victims’ communication regarding staying. Self-reports of 345 heterosexual IPV victims (N = 239 women, 106 men) demonstrated that more justifications were communicated internally to self than externally to others. Men and women differed significantly in only three of 14 messages, with men choosing more stereotypically masculine reasons for staying. Findings are discussed in terms of applications to victims and their stay-leave decision-making in IPV relationships.