A survivor is a person in a relationship whose ability to be safe and to act in their own interest and according to their own desires has been limited by a partner using power and control. Our culture tends to blame survivors for not exercising the option that they may appear to always have, completely leaving, while not considering as legitimate their desire to have safey and freedom within a chosen relationship. In this, the culture replicates the blame process by keeping attention on the survivor's behavior.

In a legal context, survivors are called victims. When the legal and public mental health systems intersect, as in domestic violence, this can cause an unfortunate confusion with the 'victim role' and contribute to a forgetting of the function of 'power to' (empowerment) in the safety and sanity of everyone.