The reasons why women return to abusive relationships are complicated and varied.
With limited resources, women's choices are limited.
A lack of money, suitable alternative accommodation and emotional support are often key factors.
In some countries women are lucky to have safe houses which they can access, but in many countries they don’t. Even safe houses are not ideal as some have a limit on the time an abused woman can stay there or there are restrictions (eg a safe house that does not allow male children over the age of 8).
Laws that protect women against domestic violence do not exist in some countries and in some countries where there are laws they are often not enforced properly.
Families and friends are often not supportive and there may be religious or cultural pressures on woman to return to the relationship and try to salvage the marriage. Some even fear the loss of status and respect in the community. (ie If I leave I will no longer be the doctor’s wife/ pastors wife etc)
Fear of the unknown is also a factor that paralyses someone from getting out of the relationship.
It’s a case of “better the devil you know”.
In cases of extreme poverty someone might choose the option of physical or emotional abuse instead of starving, especially when children are involved.
Very often women might try to leave but they are threatened by the abusive partner that they will leave with nothing and that they will not get their children.
Despite these constraints many women do leave abusive relationships, particularly if they have the support of family andfriends, non-profit organisations and a legal system that protects and enforces the rights of abused women.