Health Questions and Answers

Question: What are the reasons why victims of partner abuse might not disclose the abuse to health care providers, even if asked?

Answer:

Women may be embarrassed and humiliated that it is happening to them. There may be cultural or religious beliefs that lead her to believe that this is normal or to be expected. She may have been told that she deserved the abuse. Her abuser might have threatened to harm her, her children, or other loved ones if she discloses to others, or she may believe that no one can help her.

Reference: Haywood YC, Haile-Mariam T: Violence against women. Emerg Med Clin North Am 17:603-615, 1999.

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