Many people ask this question rhetorically, but it is important to understand and validate the important reasons why people may stay in an abusive relationship. Genuinely understanding this will help our society take the pressure and blame off survivors and be more supportive.
The following are just a few of the reasons why leaving an abusive relationship can be difficult and dangerous.
For survivors in Franklin & Grand Isle counties, Voices’ advocates are available 24/7 to help you safety plan around these reasons.
Fear of Harm: You fear that if you do leave, the manipulation, threats of harm, and other types of abuse will get worse. That the abuser might find you and retaliate. In fact, risk of harm increases severely when a survivor leaves. An abuser may also threaten to harm themselves if you leave.
Children: Partners may threaten to take the kids away if you leave. You may want to stay together for the sake of the children.
Love: You love your partner and believe and hope things will get better or they will change. It is scary to end a relationship.
Economic Dependence: Lack of financial resources or few choices and support for living independently.
Shame/Guilt: You may fear embarrassment and shame for what has happened, or you could be worried about what people might think.
Manipulation: Your partner tells you that you deserve the abuse, that the abuse isn’t that bad or that it isn’t happening..
Social Issues: Partner may threaten to deport you, you have a disability that does not allow you to work and are financially dependent on them, male partners may feel they have a “right” to control others.
Substance Use: Your partner controls the drugs or tries to sabotage your recovery.
Religion: You believe you made a commitment to God to keep the family together.