"So why don't you just leave 'em?"

Your friend comes up to you and tells you that their dating partner isn't treating them right. Most of the time, the first thing you'll want to tell them to do is leave them. While that may make sense to you, a lot of the times, it's just not that easy to leave an abusive relationship. Understanding why someone may not be able or willing to leave their abusive relationship right now is a major part of being a supportive friend.



Reasons why someone may stay in an abusive relationship

  • Isolation

  • Fear / Threats of murder or suicide

  • Abuse may get worse

  • Threats to “out” partner

  • Love / Hope For Change

  • Embarrassed / Shame

  • Lack of resources

  • Normalized Violence

  • Culture / Family / Religion

  • Don’t know it’s abuse

  • Victim Blaming

  • Financial Dependency

  • Gender Expectations

  • “Can Handle”

  • Immigrant Status

  • They are “young” (what people think about their relationships)
  • This may be their first relationship

  • Adults / parents may not know they’re dating

  • People tend to see teen relationships as “puppy love,” and may not take the violence serious

  • People may not believe the violence is occurring

  • In Hawaii, a lack of confidentiality (minors have few rights in HI)