Expert Says It's Common For Women To Stay In Abusive Relationships

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 09/10/2014 | 03:00 PM EDT

Domestic Violence expert says it may take a woman seven times before permanently leaving abusive man

Though many across the country are questioning Janay Palmer for choosing to stay with husband Ray Rice after the football star struck her on a casino elevator, truth me told Palmer is just one of many women who stay in abusive relationships, says one expert.

In fact, the most frequented question women of abuse ask Katie Ray-Jones, president of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, is “How do I get him to stop hitting me?” as opposed of how they can actually get out of the relationship.


Palmer gave pause to many when she denounced the media for reporting the vicious attack on her by the hands of Rice and publicly defended him in an Instagram post. Ray-Jones, however, says this is typical and that it usually takes a woman seven times before she gets the strength to leave for good.

“She is under a lot of pressure," Ray-Jones said of Palmer, according to the New York Daily News. “[Rice] may be telling her ‘We could lose everything. Do you want to do that to your daughter and your family?’”

The National Domestic Violence Hotline, headed by Ray-Jones, provides support to women suffering from assault seven days a week with 170 different languages.

Ray-Jones points out that Palmer, aka Mrs. Rice, may have had to open old emotional wounds now that the video of the violent incident has gone viral. Because of that, she says, she is in quite a vulnerable space.

“Six months have passed and this is reopening the situation for her all over again,” she said. “They are supposedly in counseling together and he may be telling her that he will change and is changing. This may be a wake-up call for him to get help and a wake-up call for her to get help.”

More introspectively, Ray-Jones says Palmer may be confused as many of the women she’s worked with are.


“He may be telling her ‘If you don’t stand by my side, I’ll have nothing to do with you and our daughter,’” she postulates.

She adds that Palmer is facing a lot of pressure from not just her husband, but from the media, the public and the NFL.

“Now everything is being rehashed all over again,” Ray-Jones said. “It makes it difficult for her to move forward.”

(Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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