It’s Not Your Business Why Someone Stayed With an Abuser

Stop asking why victims didn’t leave sooner



Image by John Hain from Pixabay

“I had no idea your husband was so bad. Why didn’t you leave sooner?”

I sigh in frustration. My friend has finally escaped her abusive marriage, and this is the crappy support she gets.

Another person calls her selfish for leaving her kids without a dad. There are also a few posters from her husband’s family who claim my friend is an attention-seeking liar. I continue skimming comments on her Facebook post until I finally find an appropriate one.

“I love you,” it says. Short and sweet, but still helpful. It’s not a judgmental comment. The poster isn’t taking anyone’s side. She’s simply reminding our mutual friend that people care about her.

This is the kind of response victims of abuse need, yet it’s rarely the one they get. In fact, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) reports that victims are often afraid to tell anyone about abuse because they fear judgment, distrust law enforcement, or worry about community or cultural backlash. Sadly, the NCADV states that only 34% of individuals who are injured by an intimate partner seek medical treatment.

This statistic is even more disturbing when you consider that more than 12 million men and women experience some form of physical abuse, rape, or stalking each year. If only 34% of these individuals seek help, there are around 8 million people who go without essential care. Sometimes, these individuals skip care because their abusers won’t let them see a doctor or they lack the resources needed to make an appointment. Even when victims have access to a phone, transportation, and financial assets, they may be ashamed to seek help.

But maybe you still don’t understand why victims stay as long as they do. Can’t they just stash some funds and get out of their dangerous situation?

Not exactly, especially if they plan on earning money from a job. Unfortunately, nearly 2 out of 3 domestic violence victims have experienced workplace problems. Approximately 40% of victims fear their intimate partner might pay them an unexpected visit, while 57% struggle to focus on work-related tasks. When looking at overall abuse rather than…




Working through my trauma one story at a time. Thanks for joining me on my journey.