Why Victims Stay


To hear the statement that a partner or spouse beat you is a statement most people do not understand. The first thing that comes to the mind of someone who has never experienced a violent relationship will ask, “Why don’t you just leave?”

Stop! Put yourself in the victim’s shoes and ask yourself the same question. “Could you really leave at the first sign of abuse?” Leaving an abusive relationship is a process.

If you imagined yourself as the victim, could you really leave at the first signs of abuse? Leaving an abusive relationship is a process. While this is difficult to understand there are many reasons why victims stay these include strong ties to emotional and psychological forces along with other factors.

Emotional Reasons Include:

  • Believing the partner will change because during the remorse he/she apologizes and promises to stop.
  • Fear that the abuser will kill or cause more harm to the victim if reported
  • Lack of emotional support.
  • Guilt over the failure of the relationship.
  • Attachment to the partner.
  • Fear of making a life change.
  • Feeling guilty or responsible for the abuse.
  • Feeling helpless, hopeless, and trapped.
  • Believing he/she is the only one that can help the abuser.

Situational Reasons Include:

  • Economic dependence on the abuser.
  • Fear of physical harm to self and children.
  • Fear of emotional damage to the children over the loss of a parent even though the parent is abusive.
  •  Fear of losing custody because the abuser threatens to take the children if the victim leaves.
  • Lack of job skills.
  • Social isolation and lack of support because the abuser is often the victim’s only support system.
  • Lack of information and resources regarding domestic violence.
  • Lack of alternate housing
  • Cultural or religious constraints.




Domestic Violence Roundtable, (2016) “Why Domestic Violence Victims Stay.” Retrieved from http://www.domesticviolenceroundtable.org/abuse-victims-stay.html