Leaving an abusive relationship is not simple and can be dangerous

There are many reasons why people stay - including:

• Fear • Believing abuse is normal • Embarrassment • Low self-esteem • Love • Social/peer pressure • Cultural/religious beliefs • Lack of money • Nowhere to go

I was wearing my “Tap Out Dating Violence" work shirt the other day at the grocery store. The man in line next to me starting asking me about my job and told me that if someone is being abused they should just leave. It’s that “simple.” He didn’t understand, like so many people don’t, that leaving is often scary and complicated.

Victim Blaming is the notion that someone deserves to be hurt by their partner because they chose to stay in the relationship. This is not true and something the Teen Alert Program discusses frequently in our presentations.

The photo below is an image of the incident with the famous NFL football player Ray Rice knocking his fiance out cold in an elevator. He punched her in the face so hard that she fell unconscious to the ground. The media coverage following the attack blamed her for staying and implied that she must like it and deserved it.  This awful victim blaming began the online conversation #WhyIStayed.


Just because she stayed with her high school sweetheart does not mean that she or anyone else who stays deserves to be hurt. The hashtags #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft have gained popularity on social media following the Ray Rice case. Brave individuals are sharing their stories about why they chose to stay and leave abusive relationships to inform others and end victim blaming. Below are some powerful posts I found online:

#WhyIStayed  I thought what was happening could be helped. I thought what we had was love. I thought that was the best love I could receive

#WhyIStayed  The shock that someone who “cared” could actually do something bad to you

#WhyIStayed  I thought I needed him

#WhyIStayed  You told me I deserved it, you told me it won’t always be this way. You told me you would change.

Instead of always asking why did she/he stay in the relationship, we should be asking why are people abusive? Why is he/she hurting someone they care about? Is he/she being held responsible for their hurtful actions?

To learn more about why people stay and how to help, click HERE