Fear of being judged:
When we talk about an abusive relationship, the question often asked is “why do you stay?” In some relationships, the abused may choose to stay in the relationship. Only the person in the relationship can attempt to describe why he/she didn’t leave. They often have difficulty communicating with others about the abuse. One reason for this difficulty is the fear of being judged.
One might be pushed to ask harsh questions and demand serious answers from people who remain in abusive relationships. In some instances, family members, friends, coworkers, etc. are quick to blame the person who chose not to leave. The victims are oftentimes ensnared in a vicious cycle that is often difficult to break. Studies have shown that leaving an abusive relationship is the most dangerous time for an abused woman or man. In many instances, the threat of leaving or actual separation have resulted in the death or disfigurement of the abused partner.
Some victims remain in the relationship because of:
- the sentiments they still hold dear and don’t want to let go of
- believing lies of the abuser that no other man/woman will want them
- financial restraints
- threats to their life, children, family, friends, pets, etc.
- others encouraging the abused to stay in the relationship for one reason or another
- fear and manipulation
- hope that things will get better
I would attempt to describe this as a hope that there would be a return of the good times. Additionally, sometimes it’s a choice to remain in such relationships because, in the abused eyes, it is a sincere attempt to protect others. In this sense, it is more of a sacrifice to stay when they believe the choice to leave will bring harm to children, finances, pets, others or even legacies.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34 ESV)
Hope for the abused and abuser:
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3 NIV)
Instructions for those who suspect abuse:
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1-2 ESV)
The essence of love:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV)
The greatest gift we can share with the abused and the vulnerable is love. This love includes having a listening ear and being non-judgmental. “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1 NLT) The truth of the matter is; although abuse may not be happening in your home, it could very well be occurring to someone you know and needs the courage to #SpeakUp without being judged. Although it takes an abused person seven times to leave, by seeking help, they continue to gain the strength needed to leave the abusive relationship.
you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please CALL 911.
For crisis and counseling services, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224.
Hotline advocates are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year to provide confidential crisis intervention, safety planning, information and referrals to agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.