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Survivor stories: Why domestic violence victims struggle to leave

You were likely drawn to your romantic partner for a number of reasons. When he or she turned violent or otherwise abusive, you likely struggled to reconcile the person you learned to love with the individual he or she becomes when abusive. This confusing duality is only one of a host of reasons why it is often difficult for victims of domestic violence to leave their abusers.

In the wake of several recent and high-profile domestic violence scandals, a number of domestic violence victims have begun to share their stories on social media. These stories are being shared for a number of reasons, and not least because these individuals want others to understand why they "didn't just leave" at the first sign of abuse and because they want other victims to know that they are not alone.

First and foremost, it is often difficult for domestic violence victims to leave their abusers because their abusers tend to make it difficult for them to leave. Both because abusers tend to be physically intimidating and emotionally manipulative, leaving is generally no easy task. Victims must understand that they deserve to leave and must find a way to leave safely before they can do so.

In addition, it can be difficult for victims to leave if they are financially dependent on their abusers, if they worry about the safety of their children and if they have no where to go and no support system to lean on. The law helps to ensure that domestic violence victims are protected from additional abuse. And resources do exist to help individuals leaving abusive situations. But it can be unquestionably difficult to leave. And it is important that victims understand that they are not alone in questioning whether or not they can or should.

Source: The Huffington Post, "'Why Didn't You Just Leave?'" Melissa Jeltsen, Sep. 12, 2014

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