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Why do people stay?

Why do they stay?

Why don't they just leave?

One of the questions most people ask when they witness an abusive situation unfold is "Why do they stay?" or "Why don't they just leave?"

There are a million reasons as to why someone will stay in an abusive relationship. The important thing to realize is that people in abusive relationships are victims, and the previously mentioned questions downplays the seriousness of domestic violence. 

Many victims think they have no choice, and it is everyone's responsibility to remind them that there is always a choice. There is help. They are not alone. And they deserve to live happily and healthily, without the fear of abuse. 

It is everyone's responsibility to help!

Let them know they have a choice.

That they are not alone.

That there is help available.

That they deserve to live happily and healthily.

That they DO NOT deserve the abuse.

Abuse is, most often, about control and power over the victim.

This fact alone makes leaving a lot more complicated than it seems to outsiders.

Abusers target victim's self-confidence and independence. The abuser leads the victim to believe that they deserve the abuse or are not capable of taking care of themselves without the abuser's help.

Being the victim of abuse DOES NOT mean the victim is weak.


Abusers are masters of manipulation, and have often grown up learning how best to manipulate people in order to gain control and to making victims feel that they have no other options.


There are always options.



Let's take a look at the reasoning behind people staying in an abusive relationship.


A person in an abusive relationship could fear leaving for a variety of reasons. They could fear for their safety, as leaving is often the most dangerous time for the victim of an abusive relationship. If the abuse is physical or aggressive in nature, they could fear for their life.

Lack of Knowledge

People in abusive relationships are often knowledgeable of the resources available to them, or often even unaware they are in abusive relationships.

Lack of Support

Victims of domestic violence are often isolated by their partner, and therefore feel they have no support.


Victims of financial abuse could face uncertainty as t how they could support themselves, because they've been manipulated into becoming dependent on their abusers.


Children are very commonly used by abusers to control the victims. It can be as easy as the children's love for the abuser, or the abuser threatening the spouse to harm the children if the spouse were to leave.


Another reason involving children is the uncertainty of custody. If a mother or father is worried about custody, it could discourage them from leaving an abuser.

Fear of Being Outed

This situation is more specific to LGBTQ+ relationships. If a person is in a relationship with a person of the same sex or a relationship that is out of the traditional opposite-sex relationship and has not yet come out publicly, they could fear leaving or seeking help would somehow "out" them.


Of course if a person is in a relationship, they have feelings for their significant other. They could realize that their partner has a problem and want to help. They could just feel that they don't want to leave their significant other because they've built a life together.


Many people are hesitant to leave an abusive relationship because they belief it is against religion. For example, if a couple is married and their religion believes divorce is a sin, a victim of abuse will likely not leave for fear of facing religious consequences.


The opinions of others - friends, family, neighbors -  could also play in a part in people not leaving abusive relationship. People's judgement and lack of understanding could play negatively into their fears and insecurities. Particularly for male victims, many people tend to think of the male as weak or "less-than." 

Mental Turbulence

Gaining the mental willpower and strength to leave is in itself a daunting task. Many people have mental hurdles to overcome, such as general anxiety and other disorders.


A victim that has poor health might fear leaving because they are unable to care for themselves. This is especially true for victims who depend on their abuser's insurance policy.


Health care in America is infamous for the expenses it can incur. For this reason, people who rely on their partner's insurance plan can be reasonably worried that in leaving they may lose insurance.

Immigration Status

Many immigrants are dependent on their spouse for their immigration status. This is particularly true to military spouses. Many people fear is they leave an abusive relationship, they could be made to leave the Us, where they may have built an entire life.

Believing Abuse is normal

Many people have grown up seeing abuse or being the victim of abuse. These experiences will lead them to believe that abuse is normal or even that they deserve the abuse.

Remember! Leaving is often the most dangerous time!

75% of women that are killed in abusive relationship are killed when they are leaving or have left the relationship.

It is never as simple as leaving.

This is why it is important to develop a safety plan.

Your safety and your children's safety is our first priority!

Remember you don't have to stay!

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