Domestic violence is so common and yet it’s not talked about enough. If you are in an abusive relationship, and your friends or family don’t understand why can’t you just leave your abuser, you are not alone. Even if you are not directly involved, you probably know someone or have noticed abuse. It could be someone you work with, a friend a neighbor or even a stranger. 

According to Anderson et al. (2003) some of the reasons why victims stay was because of depending on their abuser financially, nowhere else to move to, including the law enforcement not taking victims reports seriously.

Whatever the situation, when you think that domestic violence is influencing the life of your loved one, I bet you have questioned yourself, Why doesn’t your loved one just get up and go? I wish it was that easy for victims. Unless if you have been in the shoes of a victim it’s very complicated. 

Perhaps initially the victim really believed that the abuser was going through a period and that it will pass or maybe if they can only behave in a certain way, that will stop the abuse.

As a survivor myself I stayed because of all the above including worrying about what people will say, I didn’t want to be a failure, I loved him, thought he was going to change, I thought I was the one in the wrong and blamed myself for everything.

The other reasons why some victims stay is pressure from family trying to fix a broken relationship. This usually encourages victims to forgive their abusers, and abusers promising to change. Society also puts too much pressure on victims. No one wants to be a statistic. 

The reasons why victims stay can also change over time depending on the situation. For example if the victim joins the work force and is finally, independent financially, if there are children involved they might stay because they want to raise their children in one household. Better the devil you know is another term that most victims believe in. They get so used to the abuse and know what to expect making them comfortable in a toxic relationship. 

It just shows how vital spreading domestic awareness is, particularly educating the community on resources available so that victims are aware that there is help out there and know where and when to seek help.  

The reasons why victims stay are sure confusing and difficult to understand, and usually change over time as conditions change.

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About Sylvia Cooper 3 Articles
Sylvia Cooper is a Registered Nurse, Speaker, Author and a certified sexual assault advocate and trained to provide direct services to domestic violence victims and their children. As a domestic violence survivor herself, women empowerment is her passion. Through sharing her experiences with domestic violence, she inspires, encourage and empower women like her ignite that thing in them that says if she did it, I can do it too. Her story has helped victims gain courage to walk away from abuse.


  1. Enjoyed reading Sylvia’s article. Most people truly don’t realize that it is not that simple for victims of domestic violence to leave their abusers

  2. Just goes to show that you never know what someone is going through. Be kind, always. Be a light to those who need it. Thank you Sylvia for sharing your experience and continuing to be support for many women going through domestic violence.

  3. Great job on highlighting the many factors that can prevent victims from leaving abusive relationships. I enjoyed your article

  4. I loved the article. Most people don’t understand why victims stay, Its important we educate ourselves in order to help victims.

  5. I loved this article on Domestic Violence. It is so true, that most people say “Why does She stay, just leave”. You are so right when you say that unless you wear those shoes, you do not really understand that leaving is just not that easy. Many women are afraid to leave because their abuser has either threatened to kill them if they leave or even harm the children. Sylvia, this is Your Calling to help others to see that there is a way out of domestic abuse, but there must be a plan. Can you imagine how many lives you have saved through your pure determination to make a difference in the lives of these women. You are a blessing for so many. Thanks for your true dedication to helping others to achieve a safer and happier life.

  6. I’m one of your biggest cheerleaders & admirers. You have undoubtedly helped a lot of people that would otherwise suffer in silence. Keep up the good work.

  7. Good article, Sylvia. And I have been one of those that says “why can’t they just leave”. I say it, but I also know that it’s not that simple, I know that there are many factors to take into consideration, and only that person truly knows why they cannot leave. I do hope that you can continue to help and inspire those that need a way out.

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