This is an understandable question because we are concerned for people who are being mistreated. At the same time, the better question is “Why does the abuser continue to hurt someone he claims to care about?”

While this can be confusing for friends and family, the bottom line is that on balance, the survivor, who is the expert on her situation, feels that this is the safest option for herself and her children. As friends and family who want to be helpful and supportive, we should seek to understand more of the factors that make separation dangerous for her.

People who use abusive behavior frequently escalate their abuse when their partner tries to separate. Attempting to leave can be the most dangerous time for a survivor.

Additionally, victims may stay because they are made to think they cannot survive on their own, financially or otherwise. Often abusers create a financial situation that makes leaving nearly impossible.

Survivors sometimes want the abuse to end, not the relationship. It is not easy for anyone to let go of hopes and dreams, and some abusers appear very sincere in their promises to change or to stop the abuse.