Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center


Understanding the Survivor

Why She Stays

“Why does she stay?”  This is a frequently asked question, but it is the wrong question.  Unfortunately, when people attempt to understand domestic violence, they often start by scrutinizing and evaluating the survivor.  This practice avoids looking at the behavior and intentions of the perpetrator of the violence, and it fails to hold the perpetrator accountable for his actions.  It also misses the essential task of examining the ways in which our culture condones, supports, and gives permission for battering.  In our victim-blaming society, we assume that it is the victim’s responsibility to not get victimized, rather than the perpetrator’s responsibility to not use violence.

Coverpage of Striving for Justice Toolkit


Defining Dating and Domestic Violence

State of Michigan Definitions

  • Domestic Violence 1st
  • Domestic Violence 2nd
  • Domestic Violence 3rd
  • Aggravated Domestic Violence
  • Assault With a Dangerous Weapon/Felonious Assault
Coverpage of Striving for Justice Toolkit

Defining Dating and Domestic Violence

SafeHouse Center Definitions

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior used by people to control their intimate partners.  It often involves a physical assault or a threat of physical assault, but an abusive relationship may involve verbal and/or emotional abuse; sometimes it begins with these types of abuse and evolves into physical abuse.  A physical assault is almost always accompanied by one or more abusive tactics.

Coverpage of Striving for Justice Toolkit

Pages