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Why Do They Abuse?

Nothing justifies abuse. However, here are some reasons why people abuse it.


Violence is a learned behavior and there are several factors that increase the risk of one person abusing another in a relationship . It is important to note that risk factors are not necessarily the cause of violence.


Although most research on this topic has focused on studying men who abuse women, the following risk factors can cross all social categories such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, class, etc. That is, any person could perpetuate violence against their partner or a family member, but some people are more susceptible to abuse according to risk factors.

Risk Factors For The Perpetration Of Intimate Partner Violence

Individual Factors

Low self-esteem
Low education or income
Being young

Aggressive or criminal behavior in youth.

Excessive alcohol and drug use

Anger and hostility
Economic stress (e.g. unemployment)
Emotional dependence and insecurity

Relationship Factors

Relationship conflicts, including jealousy, possessiveness, tension, divorce or separation.

Dominance and control of the relationship by one partner over the other.

Families experiencing economic stress

Association with antisocial and aggressive peers.

Lack of skills to solve social problems without violence.

Poor behavior control and impulsivity.

History of physical abuse

Desire for power and control in relationships.

History of physical or emotional abuse in childhood.

Hostility towards women

Unhealthy family relationships and interactions.

Witnessing violence between parents in childhood

Parents with less than high school education


History of experiencing physical discipline in childhood

Social factors

Traditional gender norms and gender inequality (for example, the idea that women should stay at home, not enter the workforce, and be submissive; men should support the family and make decisions)

Cultural norms that support aggression towards others.

Income inequality at the societal level

Weak health, educational, economic and social policies or laws

Visit the CDC page here for sources of information.

The only person responsible for the abuse is the person doing the abuse. It is never the fault of the victim or survivor.

If you need help or would like to speak with an advocate about your situation, we are available 24/7 at 509-795-2028.

Why Do They Stay?

Healthy Relationships

Know Your Rights

Power & Control Wheel

Equity Wheel

Sexual Violence

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