Why do people stay in abusive marriages?

On Behalf of | May 29, 2023 | Divorce

One of the worst things you can say to someone in an abusive marriage is, “Just leave them.” If it were that easy, they probably would have done so long ago. As a concerned friend or family member, you may be searching for ways to help. One of the best things you can do is arm yourself with information to help you better understand the situation.

Statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence show that:

  • In New York, 31.7% of women and 29% of men will experience physical violence, sexual violence or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetimes.
  • In 2018, 228,769 protective orders were filed in New York.
  • Every year, 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence. Of these children, 90% witness this violence first-hand.

The Institute for Family Studies highlights several reasons individuals stay in abusive relationships. They include:

Financial constraints

Abusers often keep a tight rein on their finances, allowing their spouses little access to money and preventing them from working. It can leave the person suffering this form of invisible abuse feeling unable to leave the marriage as they know they don’t have enough to survive long. That’s where friends and family can come in and provide immediate support and courts can order payments to help them in the longer term.

Fear of retaliation

Many abusers have told their spouse precisely what they would do to them if they ever tried to leave. In other marriages, they don’t need to, as they have already beaten their spouse enough times to make it clear what they would do.

That’s why it can be crucial to get somewhere safe before telling an abusive spouse you are leaving them. Surround yourself with a strong support system and notify local law enforcement. You can also seek protection orders to keep them away.

Feeling they deserve what they get

Some abusers knock their spouse’s self-worth so far down that they end up believing they do not deserve any better than their current situation. Or they feel they would never be able to survive alone. That’s not true, but it can take a lot of help to recover confidence and self-belief.

The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC can help

If you have a friend or relative who cannot escape their abusive marriage alone, consider helping them seek legal advice to understand their options.

At Poppe & Associates, our focus is relentless advocacy for our clients. We understand the delicate nature of these types of situations and are prepared to help brave victims of abuse find their new happily ever after. Schedule a consultation today by calling 646-665-3903 or through our online form.

Let Me Be Your Brave

Mia Poppe, Esq.

Mia Poppe, Esq.
Managing Partner