Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Another comment submitted to the site which replicates victim blaming attitudes

We frequently get comments submitted to our site which are meant to be supportive by actually replicate the same victim blaming attitudes we campaign against.

This is a recent example:

Perhaps more worryingly, you are allowing your bf to continue punishing you for what happened. He is evidently carrying a lot of insecurities himself from past relationships, but those are his issues to deal with not yours. There is no excuse for the way he is treating you, no matter what has or hasn’t happened to him in the past. No one has the right to speak to you in the way he does, regardless of what you may or may not have done. He is trying to control you by making you feel guilty about the rape, by making you feel bad about yourself because he is absolutely terrified of you leaving him and until he deals with his demons, there is absolutely nothing you can do to change that. They are his insecurities and he has to deal with them, nobody else can do it for him.

1. The poster is not "allowing" her partner to "punish her". He is making an active choice to engage in abusive behaviour. This is domestic violence.

2. "Insecurities" do not cause domestic violence. It is men making a choice. Blathering on about "insecurities" reinforces the theory that men are allowed to engage in emotionally abusive behaviour.

I am speaking to you  … as a man who used to be like your bf. I was never physically or sexually abusive, but boy I had a vicious tongue in my head. Until I realised this and asked for help, there was nothing anyone could do. Now, I am happily married and we have a wonderful relationship. My personal feeling is that too much hurt has been caused in your relationship for it to have any kind of realistic chance of a future. But that is only my opinion and it is you who must decide whether you actually want to be with him. If you do, then it is for you to set some clear boundaries in the relationship. like if he raises his voice you walk out and you must stick to the new boundaries too.

3. It is not women having a lack of boundaries that causes domestic violence, it is men making a choice to engage in abusive behaviour. We keep repeating this because this commentator clearly believes in the myth of women's responsibility for experiencing abuse.  He also has no idea of the number of barriers to women leaving abusive men. Frankly, anyone talking about "clear boundaries" and referencing the victim and not the perpetrator is engaged in victim blaming.

If he loves and respects you as he says he does, your bf will respect your boundaries. Yes, sometimes he will slip and you take the agreed course of action. ...

4. Men who respect and love women do not "slip" into abusive behaviour. They make a choice.

Most important of all, try to remember none of this is your fault and you have done nothing to deserve any of this.

5. Except, obviously, the bits where he's suggested it's her fault for not having "clear boundaries" and "allowing" her abusive boyfriend to abuse her.

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3 thoughts on “Another comment submitted to the site which replicates victim blaming attitudes

  • Hecuba says:

    How to excuse men of any accountability – by claiming it is up to women to ‘set clear boundaries’ which neatly hides/erases the fact men are accorded greater individual/collective power than women. When was the last time a man accepted he is responsible for his choice and agency to subject a woman/women to violence?

    This writer who excuses/justifies male violence against women needs to read Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft because this male author has worked with violent males and he has heard countless men justify their male sex right to dominate and control women. So nothing new concerning mens’ endless list of excuses/denials/justifications.

    Men will continue to deny their accountability because that is always their last resort when they know they cannot refute the facts concerning male accountability.

  • Liza says:

    I’ve been a victim and now trying to survive with my 2 kids.
    I’m trying no contact now with the kids seeing him near where we now live. He won’t give up on me.
    But I can’t keep moving, establishments don’t help coz the rules aren’t set properly.
    I didn’t see anything wrong in the account given!!!!
    Thank you for doing this site. Being nice isn’t what these men are, in anyway!!

  • Emma-Marie Smith says:

    I don’t think this man intended any malice here, or anything as sinister as wanting the victim of this abuse to shoulder blame, I think he was genuinely trying to help. Unfortunately it is the basic misunderstanding of domestic abuse from those on the outside that can have the most damaging effect.

    In my case, I didn’t tell anybody I was being abused until long after the relationship had ended and I started to receive threats through my family members. This is mostly because I didn’t realised I was being abused and felt embarrassed to call it that… He never hit me, although he threatened to; he would push me and kick me out of bed, grab my wrist, wrench open the shower curtain or pull back the bed covers to hurl abuse at me; he never threw anything at me but incredibly cutting and offensive words and accusations. We ‘just’ had a ‘volatile relationship’ in which he unpicked every one of my insecurities and used them as a vehicle to abuse and manipulate me, all the while sewing the seed in my mind (over a number of years) that I was just not good enough, didn’t try hard enough and must not care enough to make him happy.

    Ultimately, he consumed and controlled every aspect of my life but made me feel like I wanted it that way, like it was my idea and like I would be nothing without him. How grateful I should be that he had taken me in and put up with my selfish, clumsy and immature ways. I am a smart girl who always thought I would follow my mother’s advice and leave after the first raised hand but the complex and insidious nature of these things meant I was unable to see, think or act like myself.

    I didn’t know who to turn to because I did not understand what was happening to me. The most damaging advice I ever received when it became obvious he was treating me badly was that I just had to ‘whether the storm,’ ‘try and reason with him,’ ‘set boundaries…’ because of course none of these things work with a perpetrator of abuse. Trust me, I tried EVERYTHING. I spent two years trying desperately to abide by his insane rules, trying to talk him to reason, trying desperately to make him see my perspective, tried to walk out on him, tried talking and talking until I did not know which words were mine and which were his anymore… I was not a passive object. But I loved him and I knew he was damaged and if I could only love him enough then I would fix him.

    I ended up trying to take my own life because of course, none of this worked. I blamed myself and thought that he, and the world, would be better off without me.

    It sounds insane to me now, as I am in an incredibly happy and fulfilling relationship with a man who adores and respects women, most of all me. I have my own life and job and a son who I am devoted to. But it has taken me years to even begin to realise that it was about him, not me.

    We need to rid the world of this idea that anybody but the perpetrator is in anyway responsible for an abusive situation, and let it be known that emotional abuse can be just as dangerous as physical abuse.