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January 16, 2021
International

Why Do Victims Keep Staying?

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By Samantha Semoso – EMTV Online

When a friend, family member or a friend of a friend that you know has been a victim of domestic violence for so long, and yet she/he continues to stay, what do we do? We think to ourselves that we would never put up with that abuse; thinking why can’t they just leave their abusive partner.

We often put ourselves in the place of the victim and imagine ourselves leaving at the first signs of abuse. But breaking free of abuse is not simply a matter of walking out the door. Leaving is a process.

It can be difficult for many people to understand why a person would stay in an abusive relationship. But there are many reasons as to why the victim keeps ties to the abuser. Strong emotional ties or situational realities, like a lack of money, more often that not keep the victim from leaving.

Emotional reasons for staying

  • Belief that that the abusive partner will change because of his/her remorse and promises to stop
  • Fear of the abuser who threatens to kill the victim if abuse is reported to anyone
  • Lack of emotional support
  • Guilt over the failure of the relationship
  • Attachment to the partner
  • Fear of making major life changes
  • Feeling responsible for the abuse
  • Feeling helpless, hopeless and trapped
  • Belief that he/she is the only one who can help the abuser with their problems

Situational reasons for staying

  • Depending on the abuser financially
  • Fear of physical harm to self or children
  • Fear of emotional damage to the children over the loss of a parent, even if the parent is abusive
  • Fear of losing custody of the children because the abuser threatens to take the children if victim tries to leave
  • Lack of job skills
  • Social isolation and lack of support because abuser is often the victims only support system
  • Lack of information regarding domestic violence resources
  • Belief that law enforcement will not take her/him seriously
  • Lack of alternative housing
  • Cultural or religious constraints

Below are relating articles to the causes and reasons for this:

What is Domestic Violence?

The Cycle of Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence in the Suburbs

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