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Why Do They Stay?

This is one of the most common questions we ask ourselves but without realizing it, it carries a level of guilt on the victim or survivor.

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​Almost every time we hear of someone experiencing domestic violence and staying in the relationship, we ask ourselves, "Why do they stay?" People almost never ask, "Why do they abuse?" However, that's a better question. Unfortunately, the "Why do they stay?" is a question that generally comes loaded with judgment against the victim or survivor, while the person who abuses remains invisible in the background, evading responsibility for the abuse.

THE RISK OF VIOLENCE AND
THE SEVERITY INCREASES WHEN THE VICTIM OR SURVIVOR TIES TO LEAVE AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP.

​There are many factors that prevent a person from safely leaving an abusive relationship.

The fear of the abusive person for how they will react, what they will do.

FEAR

IMMIGRATION STATUS

Undocumented people tend not to report abuse for fear of deportation. Many times victims or survivors receive threats from their partner to deport them.

Language barriers and the lack of culturally appropriate services and resources make it difficult for an immigrant to seek and find help. Also, some cultural beliefs and norms (e.g., machismo, condemning divorce, rigid gender expectations, women must stay in the house, etc.) prevent someone from seeking help.

CULTURAL BARRIERS

​THE NORAMLIZATION OF VIOLENCE

Violence has been normalized in our society. Phrases like "All couples fight, that's normal," or "My parents also fought," or "A woman has to submit to her husband" may perpetuate violence from generation to generation. Furthermore, people define violence in different ways. Many times people think that violence has to be only physical and that verbal or emotional violence does not count as violence.

CHILDREN

Many women tend to stay trapped in the relationship because of their sons, daughters, or sons. They feel a great responsibility to keep the family together and by leaving, they would be breaking it. However, when the couple causes harm, they are already breaking up their family. Many times the abusive partner uses the children to control the victim or survivor (e.g. threat of taking the children away).

LACK OF RESOURCES

Many times the person has been isolated from their family and friends due to violence, so they no longer have that support. Also, if you do not know how to speak English, or you are financially dependent on your abusive partner because he or she did not allow you to work, or you do not have a safe place to go, it will be very difficult for you to get out of your situation.

​There can be so many factors and so many other reasons why a person becomes trapped in an abusive relationship that is not always visible to the naked eye. The important thing is to believe the victims or survivors and support them. Learn how you can help someone here.

No one deserves to be abused no matter what.

​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 Abuse?

Supporting Someone

Healthy Relationships

Power & Control Wheel

Equity Wheel

Sexual Violence

Know Your Rights

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