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Why do Victims Return to and Stay with Abusers?

A better question is, “Why does the abuser choose to abuse?”


The deck is stacked against the victim when confronted with leaving or not. Abusers work very hard to keep victims in relationships.


There is a real fear of death or more 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. [2] On average, three women die at the hands of a current or former intimate partner every day. [3]


We, as a community, must do more to ensure the safety of victims when they leave.


Batterers are very good at making victims think 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.


Most often, survivors 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.


To learn more about the complexities of leaving a domestic violence relationship, go to:

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