Why They Stay

People who stay in violent relationships may undergo gradual stages of reasoning. The reasons for staying may change. The outcome of a long-term battering relationship is destructive to everyone involved.

At first, victim may stay because:

  • their love for partner.
  • believe partner will grow up or change.
  • believe they can control the abuse by doing as the abuser says.
  • believe they can convince partner of their love (and end their jealousy.
  • believe it is their duty to make the relationship work.
  • believe they can reason with their abuser.
  • believe them when they say they are sorry and won’t do it again.
  • embarrassment for partner and self, so seldom seek help.
  • afraid of what will happen if police become involved.

Later, victim stays because:

  • they hope abuser will change or get help.
  • under pressure from family and friends.
  • believes partner needs them and loves them.
  • fear of being alone and not being able to support themselves.
  • believes the promises of change and that abuser will get counseling and/or stop abusing drugs or alcohol.
  • victim is confused.
  • increasingly afraid of partner’s violence and may become afraid for their life.
  • feels isolated and sometimes trapped.

Finally, victim stays because:

  • fear; abuser has become tremendously powerful in their eyes.
  • threats to kill victim or the children.
  • believes they are not lovable.
  • believes they cannot survive alone.
  • victim is very confused and feels guilty.
  • victim becomes very depressed and decisions are very hard to make.
  • victim believes they have no control over their life.
  • victim feels hopeless and helpless.
  • believes they have no options.
  • may have developed serious emotional or physical problems.