7 Reasons Why Domestic Violence Victims Stay
This is one of the first questions almost everyone asks me. And I don’t think I am the only one who gets asked it.
“Why did you stay?” almost always followed up by, “I would never tolerate that.”. But what most people don’t understand is that leaving a marriage, creating change is not simply a matter of walking out the door, it is a process – a big, scary, life-changing process. Especially when there are children involved.
So really, why did I stay? Why do many women and men stay?
To be honest, there are a lot of reasons. Here are just a few…
7 Reasons Why Domestic Violence Victims Stay
- Love. The most powerful emotion on the planet. Love makes us do all kinds of things we never thought we would. Including tolerate behavior that we otherwise would never allow. Most relationships do not start off violent. They start off deeply in love and grow into an unhealthy union. And it is the love at the beginning of the relationship, it is the thought that it will be that way again and the abuse just needs to stop that keeps victims stuck sometimes. We make excuses for those we love, we think it is just a bad day. I did. I made a lot of excuses and I believed that every time would be that last time, because he ‘loved’ me. But love should not hurt. Period.
- Financial. The fear that we will be homeless and penniless. In many situations, the abusers will have complete control over the finances, leaving the victims to feel like they will not be able to support themselves or their children if they leave. This happened in our situation and was a major factor in why I did stay for so long.
- Fear of more physical harm to self or children. Statistically, the most dangerous time for victims is the 7 weeks following when they leave. 50-75% of domestic violence murders take place at the point of separation or in the 7 weeks that follow. Many believe that their abuser will make good on the physical threats when the victim leaves. They think that if they do what they are told, the anger will stop and no one will get hurt anymore. But the anger never stops…
- Shame. Society can make us domestic violence victims feel like social pariahs. The shame, humiliation and pain of what has happened and how people perceive us can make us feel the need to hide it, suck it up and stay. I did for a long time. I was so embarrassed by what was happening and felt I couldn’t tell anyone the truth. So I stayed. Share the love, pin this:
- Isolation. Many abusers isolate their victims. They manipulate and make it so hard for the victim to even have a friend, let alone seek a counselor or help that we honestly do not think there is anyone who can help. I was relocated across the country, away from my family and friends. He made it so hard for me to start new relationships with other moms that my perspective began to change and I did feel completely alone. Many victims do not have a single confidant, so leaving or changing their lives is incredibly frightening.
- Abuser is a respected member of the community. This is a scary one and can keep a victim stuck for a long time. Victims think, but everyone loves the abuser, no one will believe what they are really like behind closed doors. Many abusers are incredibly charismatic. When the abuser has power like that, they often have an incredibly huge ego and have to be the center of attention and it can make leaving very, very tricky and dangerous.
- No One Will Believe Me. The worst. Because it genuinely does happen, all of the time. I’m not sure if they don’t believe us, or if they just don’t want to because it is messy and awful. But society does put major pressure on victims and getting out – getting away, getting healthy sometimes does not seem possible in the moment.
It may be scary, but there is always a way out. I found one, as many others have.
If you are currently in danger or experiencing domestic violence on any level, please, please, please call the national domestic violence hotline now at 1-800-799-7233. It is anonymous, and they can and will help.
If you suspect someone you know of being hurt, read this post with ways to help today and don’t be afraid to reach out. You can click here and drop me a line anytime and I will help send you in the right direction.
Because you never truly know what is going on Behind The Scenes. Together, we can make a change and help end domestic violence forever.
Malibu Mama Loves Xx