Barriers to Leaving an Abuser

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:

Fear for Safety:

– General fear of what the abuser will do after the victim leaves

– Fear from a specific threat the abuser has made to harm or kill   the victim, their children, or other family or friends

– Fear the abuser will carry out threats to die by suicide

Isolation from Others:

– Fear of being alone or that no one will understand or help

– Fear of being rejected by family and friends for leaving

– In same-sex relationships, fear of being “outed” or not believed

Pressures About the Children:

– Beliefs about two parent homes and fear of single-parenting

– Fear of being deported and children losing access to the U.S.

– Fear of inability to provide the same lifestyle for the children

– Fear of child welfare taking the children from the victim

Promises from the Abuser:

– Hope that the abuser can change and things will get better

– Fear no on else will ever love them

– Promises by the abuser to change and get help

Cultural & Religious Pressure:

– Strong religious/cultural beliefs surrounding marriage and family

– Fear of being rejected by the religious community for leaving

Pressure from Family & Friends:

– Feelings of shame and fear of friends and family finding out   about the abusive situation and how long he/she has stayed

Financial Pressure:

– Financial dependence on the abuser

– Fear of financial independence, concern about job prospects

Legal Concerns:

– Fear of custody and visitation outcomes for the children

– Fear of the court system and having to face their abuser in court