Why Victims Are Afraid to Leave

Leaving an abusive relationship is difficult for a number of different reasons. 13 reasons why victims will stay:

  • Fear - Many victims fear for their lives and have been threatened with violence or death if they leave or report the abuse. 75% of the deaths in abusive relationships happen when the victim is attempting to leave.

  • Threats - The abuser may make threats of violence and retribution towards the victim, others, or themselves when his or her partner tries to leave.

  • Shame and low self-esteem - The abuser has led the victim to believe they are responsible or deserve the abuse, especially when there is sexual abuse involved.

  • Control - The victim may feel they can control the abuser’s actions by doing what the abuser wants and behaving ‘perfectly.’ However, it is the abuser that has all the power and control until the victim decides to finally leave.

  • Children -  In an effort to keep the family together, the victim may stay with the abuser when there are kids involved.

  • Love - Victims believe they love their abuser and the abuser truly loves them, as the Cycle of Abuse shows, there is a Honeymoon stage in abusive relationships where there is peace and a false sense of security.

  • Deniability - Some victims believe the abuse is normal and do not even realize how damaging the unhealthy relationship is, especially in cases where there is no physical violence.

  • Religion - The victim may fear discrimination among their community or religious organization.

  • Finances - The victim may not be able to support themselves without the abusive partner.

  • Immigration - The victim may not be a citizen, know English, or have access to resources that could help them leave the abusive relationship

  • Justification/excuses - The victim believes the abuse is temporary due to alcohol and drug abuse, traumatic events, or financial difficulties.

  • Hope - The victim hopes and believes the abuse will stop.

  • No Hope - Sometimes the victim believes there is no help or way to escape.

Don't give up hope on victims, there are ways you can Intervene by giving them resources, support, and compassion.