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The learned helplessness theory, however, did not account for the fact that there are many social, economic and cultural reasons a woman might chose to stay in an abusive relationship.Women often have very rational reasons for staying—they may fear retaliation against themselves or their children, or they may not be able to financially support themselves or their children.

Those who espoused the theory, however, rarely took into account the fact that these “characteristics” might be, in fact, the physical and psychological effects of the abuse.In reality, however, battered women are not mentally ill, and many of those who were institutionalized were misdiagnosed because of a failure to recognize or understand the physical and psychological effects of domestic violence.From Joan Zorza, Batterer Manipulation and Retaliation in the Courts: A Largely Unrecognized Phenomenon Sometimes Encouraged by Court Practices, Violence Against Women 47-48 (Joan Zorza ed., 2002).A common understanding of the causes of domestic violence can help communities develop more effective responses to the violence; such an understanding helps avoid conflicting responses that could undermine efforts to protect victims and hold batterers accountable.When the battered women’s movement in the United States began in the early 1970s, the prevailing theory of why men batter was based on psychopathology.