It is a common myth that if a victim stays in abusive relationship, the abuse can’t be “that bad.” In fact, there are many reasons why a victim may find it difficult to leave an abusive relationship. Common barriers to leaving include, but are not limited to:
They love the abuser and believe the abuser loves them. Often, victims want the abuse to end, not the relationship. It is not uncommon for victims to assume responsibility for the abuse, rather than blame their partner. They may believe that if they change their own behaviour, they can prevent the abuse from happening and save the relationship.
Abuse has lowered the victim’s sense of self and confidence. The abuser has made them feel useless, ashamed, and unworthy. The victim may be convinced that no one else would want to be with them.
They have no income or savings and are financially dependent on the abuser. The abuser may have control over the victim’s accounts or run up debts that the victim is liable for.
The abuser has threatened to harm the victim, their children, family members, friends, or others if they leave. The abuser may have also threatened suicide or murder-suicide. Due to a history of violence, the victim may fear that the abuser is capable of following through with these threats.
The victim fears legal consequences, such losing custody of their children if they leave.
The isolating effects of abuse have left the victim without the social support needed to leave the relationship. The victim may have little contact with outside world and lost touch with friends or family.
The victim may fear that no one will believe them if they disclose the abuse, or that they will be judged negatively by others for leaving (or staying in) an abusive relationship.
Visit these links for more myths and facts about domestic violence...