How Domestic Violence Impacts People

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Victims of domestic violence experience an array of emotions and feelings from the abuse inflicted upon them by their abuser, both within and following the relationship. They may also resort to extremes in effort to cope with the abuse.. Victims of domestic violence may:

  • Want the abuse to end, but not the relationship
  • Feel isolated
  • Feel depressed
  • Feel helpless
  • Be unaware of what services are available to help them
  • Be embarrassed of their situation
  • Fear judgment or stigmatization if they reveal the abuse
  • Deny or minimize the abuse or make excuses for the abuser
  • Still love their abuser
  • Withdraw emotionally
  • Distance themselves from family or friends
  • Be impulsive or aggressive
  • Feel financially dependent on their abuser
  • Feel guilt related to the relationship
  • Feel shame
  • Have anxiety
  • Have suicidal thoughts
  • Abuse alcohol or drugs
  • Be hopeful that their abuser will change and/or stop the abuse
  • Have religious, cultural, or other beliefs that reinforce staying in the relationship
  • Have no support from friends of family
  • Fear cultural, community, or societal backlash that may hinder escape or support
  • Feel like they have nowhere to go or no ability to get away
  • Fear they will not be able to support themselves after they escape the abuser
  • Have children in common with their abuser and fear for their safety if the victim leaves
  • Have pets or other animals they don’t want to leave
  • Be distrustful of local law enforcement, courts, or other systems if the abuse is revealed
  • Have had unsupportive experiences with friends, family, employers, law enforcement, courts, child protective services, etc. and either believe they won’t get help if they leave or fear retribution if they do (e.g., they fear they will lose custody of their children to the abuser)

These are among the many reasons victims of domestic violence either choose to stay in abusive relationship or feel they are unable to leave.

Source: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence