As health care providers, we empathize with the terror and pain victims of intimate partner violence encounter. We must also empathize with the abiding love they have for their partners.
The question of why a partner stays in an abusive relationship is almost always accompanied by a myriad of accusatory allegations. All too often we hear that victims who stay in violent relationships are “crazy,” or that they are somehow responsible, or worse even, that they provoke and revel in the abuse. We must not surrender to these myths. If we truly wish to understand why these individuals stay in abusive relationships, we must recognize that this question never has a single answer; rather there are a constellation of reasons why individuals stay in violent relationships.