I had been in an abusive relationship years and years ago (as an RN) ... I was frightened of my own shadow, with a toddler and no family for support. I was a lost soul floating through life wishing one day I would die in my sleep. I didn't believe there was help any where in the universe that could extradite me from my situation. I was as hopeless and as downtrodden as you could get and still function with a heartbeat.
If you've never been in this situation - first thank God - and second, don't presume you can predict how you would react. I used to have a fiery spirit that was difficult to break, but little by little I was eroded to a shell of my former self. Threats leveled against me may seem outrageous now in hindsight 2 decades later, but at the time I had no one and it was frightening. By the very nature of the abusive relationship the victim believes the things their abuser threatens them with, and cycle repeats over and over unless something makes it stop. I believe the person whom abused me enjoyed it immensely, and that he felt he had power.
Psychological warfare is a nasty game: my abuser taped all calls without my knowledge (I worked nights, so he had the phone company install a phone jack in our outside storage room while I slept ... he attached a recording device that taped when there was sound, then hid it inside of a box high on a shelf - this was in the days of landlines without cellphones). One day he said to me, "I know what you're thinking ... I'm inside your head". If that doesn't chill you to the core then probably nothing will.
My abuse went on for years - I wonder if it could have ended much sooner if there was someone who cared enough to find out what was really going on in my private life? This nurse did just that, and has my sincerest respect and gratitude for saving someone else who clearly needed saving.