Why do victims stay with or return to abusers?

Victims stay or return for many reasons, such as:

  • The deck is stacked against a victim when confronted with leaving or not.
  • Abusers work very hard to keep victims in the abusive relationship.
  • There is a real fear of death or worse abuse if they leave.
    • In fact, a victim’s risk of getting killed greatly increases when they are in the process of leaving or have just left.
    • On average, three women die at the hands of a current or former intimate partner every day.
  • Batterers are very good at making victims believe that the abuse is their fault. Victims often believe that if they caused the violence, they can also stop it.
  • Victims stay because they are made to think they cannot survive on their own, financially or otherwise. Often abusers create a financial situation that makes leaving nearly impossible.
  • Survivors sometimes want the abuse to end, not the relationship. A survivor may return to the abuser because that’s the person she the survivor fell in love with, and she believes his promises to change.  It’s not easy for anyone to let go of hopes and dreams.
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