I got into a discussion with my dad the other day when he brought up “So tell me this, why would she go on to marry the guy” (in regards to the Ray Rice case).
I told him this simple question implies that she deserves, or is asking for abuse.
He of course said he didn’t mean it that way, but I told him that there is an underlined blame society puts on victims as if “they should know better”.
I get that people don’t understand it, and I fully understand how easy it is to say “well why would she stay”. Especially for people who have never walked in those shoes.
Ultimately, our focus should be shifted off of the actions of the victim, who are scared beyond belief for their life, and the lives of their loved ones if they do ever leave, and onto to the question of “why would HE do that”.
The last thing we as a society needs to be perpetuating is the guilt already felt by victims.
I had to break it down for dad, and told him that it isn’t easy, nor is it the safest thing to just pack up and leave.
1. there are control issues there, and many times that separates a victims from their loved ones
2. many victims feel embarrassed about the situation they are in
3. with society perpetuating the idea the victims are ultimately responsible for staying in a situation, many people feel they can’t talk to their loved ones without fear of being ridiculed for sticking around, and
4. many women are cut off from all money, possible have children with their abuser, and simply do not see how they could survive without him – or worse, how bad will the abuse be when he comes after me?
He has hit me, so will he hit my children (or will he torture my beloved pet who I cannot take with me, or will I have to give my pet to the pound because I have no means of taking care of it)? He said he won’t do it again and that he loves me. I believe he loves me, it was just an accident. Maybe if I HADN’T said that, he wouldn’t have gotten so angry. Maybe if I DID THIS and THAT better.
There are so many reason WHY people stay – but that isn’t the problem here. The problem is with the abuser.
The sooner society begins shifting the blame on the abusers actions, the more likely we are going to see victims finding their voice, and their rightful place back in society without a huge, embarrassing stigma over their existence.