What is Domestic Violence and Why Do Victims Stay?

The United States Department of Justice defines “domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.  Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.”

Reasons why victims stay or return to the abusive relationship:

  • Fear that the victim will be unable to care for his or herself and his or her children
  • Believe that if the victim leaves he/she will kill the victim, the children, and or themselves
  • Fear of being alone
  • Believe that abuser needs the victim
  • The victim believes he or she can fix the problem
  • Believe the abuse is his or her fault
  • The victim believes the children need their father or that father figure in their lives
  • Financial control and/or dependence