Why Do People Stay In Abusive Relationships?

by Natalie Wall | Jan 18, 2024

 

There is an immense amount of courage involved in leaving an abusive relationship. We often hear people ask why someone won’t “just leave” when they begin to be abused, so we wanted to dive deeper into the topic and explain the layers of what could be running through a victims mind.


Fear.

Many victims are afraid of the consequences that could arise if they leave. Their abuser could find them and become even more violent or in the worst case scenario, lethal. Many victims do fear for their lives and feel they have a better chance at survival if they stay. This is why we have DVHRT, our high risk team, who are specifically trained to work with the authorities to help a victim leave their situation as safely and calmly as possible. 


Children.

Not only can abusers physically retaliate against the children in order to keep their victim under control, but they can also make the victim feel like they would be breaking up their family if they left. Keeping the family together may not only be something that a survivor may value but it could also be against their religious beliefs to get a divorce from their partner and to separate their family unit.


Lack Of Resources.

Many people fear being on their own because maybe they think they wouldn’t be able to provide themselves or their children with the resources they need to survive. They may have never had a job before, not be able to afford clothing, food, or even have a place to escape to. This is why we provide Emergency Shelters and Transitional housing to help get survivors back on their feet. While in our care they will also have the ability to use our resources such as legal aid, medical and dental. Counseling, and even our job training program.


Shame. 

Shame is a powerful feeling. Victims may feel that they’ve done something wrong, that they deserve the abuse, or that experiencing abuse is a sign of weakness. Remember that blame-shifting is a common tactic that their partner may use and can reinforce a sense of responsibility for their partner’s abusive behaviors. Here at The Family Place we use counseling and group sessions in order to help survivors understand that no abuse is deserved and that they hold none of the blame for what has happened to them.


Besides the obvious fear of physical harm, there are many reasons why victims of domestic violence struggle to leave their abuser. Every story is different and personal, so our care for each survivor is different and personal. So instead of asking “Why” do people stay, we want to ask what we can do to help them leave. We hope to be a place of resources, shelter, and relief for everyone who walks in our doors. We hope that when someone hears about what we provide here at The Family Place, they feel that much more confident to take the next step and walk out the door to a brighter future.