Why Do Victims Stay in Abusive Relationships?

Why do victims stay?

That’s the question that is asked all the time from people on the outside looking in. If it was easy to get away from an an abusive relationship DOMESTIC VIOLENCE would not be an issue that affects 1 in 4 Americans. However, there are many reasons why people stay. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “Abusers repeatedly go to extremes to prevent the victim from leaving. In fact, leaving an abuser is the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence. One study found in interviews with men who have killed their wives that either threats of separation by their partner or actual separations were most often the precipitating events that lead to the murder.”

It’s important that people don’t question why someone stay, yet offer compassion and understanding.Victims don’t want to be judged. They want to feel protected, but are ashamed about the abuse. It is hard for others to understand, however always be supportive;have an open door, a listening ear, and a kind heart.

Victims stay because they have their own personal reasons to. The reason vary from one victim to the next. Keep in mind, no matter what you say to the victim, they are only going to leave when they find strength and the right opportunity to do so.

Victims stay because the fear of leaving is greater than the fear of staying.

Victims stay for several reasons:

  • Embarrassment and the feeling of being ashamed to ask for help. No one wants to be labeled as victim. Victim comes with a stigma.
  • Fear of being alone. Some people feel like they can’t be a lone and need a companion. Always remember it’s better to be alone than to be in bad company.
  • Fear of the abuser. Often abusers make threats to harm you and your family. And you fear that they will carry out their threats, so you start to live in fear.
  • Financial Dependency. The abuser control the finances leaving the victim financially dependent on the abuser. Often victims only source of income is that of the abuser.
  • False sense of hope. Victims believe and hope the abuser will change their behavior.
  • Isolation. The abuser isolated the victim from family and friends so their is no support available. Leaving the victim in isolation and totally depending on the abuser.
  • Religious or cultural beliefs and practices may not support divorce or may dictate outdated gender roles and keep the victim trapped in the relationship.
  • Insecurity and Self Esteem Issues. Abusers make victims feel bad about themselves creating low self esteem.
  • Feel as if there are no other options. Victims may feel there are no other resources or help available to get out of the abusive situation.

Please always be supportive and encouraging to anyone you suspect of being in a domestic violence relationship. Never disregard a victims concern, believe what they are telling you and what they are not telling you.

We must do all we can to protect everyone from the cycle of domestic abuse. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or visit their website to chat online 24/7.violence.

Images: Canva


National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

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