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8 Reasons Victims of Domestic Violence Don't Leave

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The decision to leave an abusive relationship is very personal and very difficult. The average survivor attempts to leave 7 or more times before successfully separating from their abuser. These are some of the reasons why this is such a difficult decision to make:

1. Fear for safety

Though this may seem obvious, research has shown that leaving the relationship is the most dangerous time for a victim. The victim might fear that the abuser will carry out threats of suicide. They might fear leaving children or pets behind. Studies show that 89% of victims who had companion animals during an abusive relationship reported that their animals were threatened, harmed, or even killed by their abusive partner.

2. Isolation from others

A tactic of abuse is to isolate the victim in order to better control them. A victim of this tactic might fear that no one will understand or help or that  friends and family will support the abuser. In same-gender relationships, the victim might fear being “outed” by the abuser or being turned away by support resources.

3. Pressures about the children

Many victims place value on keeping the family together and may feel guilty for breaking the familial unit. Additionally, a victim might hold negative beliefs about single-parenting or might not be able to provide the same lifestyle for their children without the abuser’s income.

4. Promises from the abuser

Abusers are often very good at manipulating their victims. They might make promises to change or get help. They might promise that things will get better. They might also make negative promises, such as telling the victim that no one else will ever love them.

5. Cultural and religious pressure

Cultural or religious beliefs may influence a victim’s decision to stay, and an abuser might use these beliefs to manipulate them into staying. The victim might fear being rejected by their religious community for leaving.

6. Pressure from family and friends

For a number of reasons, it can be difficult for someone to disclose that they’re a victim of abuse. They might feel shame over how long they stayed in the relationship, or they might feel responsible for the abuse. They might fear that friends will choose to take the abuser’s side and not believe them. 

7. Financial Pressure

Another tactic of abuse is financial control. A victim might be financially dependent on their abuser. Because they may not have been allowed to work, they might be concerned about having to find a job without much experience.

8. Legal concerns

A victim might fear that the abuser will be given custody of their children. They might also fear having to go through the court system and possibly face their abuser in court.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, call us at 405-552-1010 or visit us at 1140 N Hudson Ave for help. You have options at Palomar, and we will never pressure you into doing anything you don’t want to do. If you decide to stay in the relationship, we can provide you with resources, such as safety planning, to help keep you safe. If you decide to leave, we advise clients to plan and leave in secret. We have on-site partners who are happy to help you make these plans and can connect you with resources to make this transition easier.