Why do victims stay in abusive relationships?

Kat Mayuga

If you’re up to date on recent happenings, you’ve probably heard of another case of domestic abuse by a college student named Kyle Viray. While the amount of support for his victim has been overwhelming, we can still see people who are blaming his ex-girlfriend for what happened, or even justifying Kyle’s actions.

“If they’re having a hard time, why won’t they just leave?”


We encounter this question a lot of times whenever we see something related to domestic abuse and some people may struggle to understand how they are able to stay in an unhealthy relationship for so long. Each of the victims has their own reasons for staying and one of the things we can do to support them is to try to understand their situation. Read on to find out some of the reasons why they stay in abusive relationships.

They are afraid of being judged

Another reason why some victims are afraid to open up about their situation is because they know that some people will judge them or worse, side with the oppressor.

People with abusive tendencies tend to choose to show only their good side to other people, which will lead them to question the victim’s claims and accuse them of just looking for attention. Remember that what we see on the outside doesn’t necessarily reflect what’s happening behind closed doors.

Victim-blaming is rampant, and it only makes matters worse by empowering the abuser and discouraging the victim to step forward.

They are being threatened by the abuser

Sometimes, the victims stay not because they want to, but because they feel that they have to. On some occasions, the abuser will go as far as threaten the lives of their victims, their victims’ family, or even their own if the victim breaks up with them. Studies even say that the most dangerous time during an abusive relationship is when the victims leave.


They are not aware that they are being abused

People normalize abusive behaviors to the point that some victims do not even realize that they’re already being abused and therefore, do not feel the need to seek help. An example of this is when people celebrate possessiveness and pass it off as just being sweet and caring.

Abusers may also take advantage of this by gaslighting and manipulating their prey into believing that they’re only overreacting.

They are hoping that the abuser will change

Some people believe in second chances, and for others, they love their partner enough to believe in them when they promise that they are not going to hurt them again. They might also believe that with a little bit of sacrifice, they can change their partner’s behavior.

These are some of the reasons why victims of abuse stay in an unhealthy and toxic relationship. Remember that no matter what the reasons are behind it, beating up someone can never be justified. Putting part of the blame on the victim will not help in any way and will only strengthen the abuser. The reason why a lot of victims are afraid to step forward and call them out is because they fear that they will be judged and be called a liar. If you know someone who is suffering from abuse, be it physical or emotional, the least we can do to support them is by understanding them.

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