Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

‘Domestic Violence’ & Weak Women.

It’s a common perception that the women who ‘stay’ with violent men are weak both in body and mind, you often hear people say “why did she stay?” “If anybody ever hits me they’d regret it, it would be the last thing they ever do, I’d be gone”. There are also the “she must be a sadist, must enjoy the violence? Well that ‘sort’ never learn”.

You hardly (n/ever) hear the words why does HE do it? Why isn’t HE a better hu/man? The man isn’t considered weak for his abusive behaviour until he gets found out that is; and there is divorce or separation or murder, then he is considered as the man who put up with a lot he was nagged, he lost control, she was violent, or unfaithful or he had a bad childhood, he was pushed too far or was suffering from depression, something, something, something will excuse his behaviour and people will go “why did she stay with him?”

The answer to this question is that the woman is that the woman is strong, not that she is weak, she is stronger in so many ways you may not have thought of, let me explain.

The first time the abuse occurs whether it is verbal, sexual or violence in some form it will probably be seemingly insignificant and be something that is shrugged off as accidental, it may be an insult in the middle of an argument or a push or she may have got in the way, there will be apologies, an acceptance of joint blame.

Most people do shrug the little things off, after all you do make allowances in relationships. This shrugging off unfortunately will mean that the abuse will escalate. These escalations though probably not shrugged off so easily will be excused in some way; he’s overtired/worked, he has issues, I aggravated the situation, there will be something that somehow offloads the blame onto the victim and in her love and compassion and with her strength she will carry this burden.

Of course this changes because there is always escalation because there is always resistance from these so called ‘weak’ women, the man has to up the anti to assure her compliance to keep her under control. Understand these men do not lose control especially of themselves.

Lives for these women becomes a battle for survival where everyone can be perceived as the enemy, imagine if you will a woman who can run a house, go to work and be a good mother whilst her very being is assaulted as her abuser continually changes the rules so that he becomes her main obsession and she’s still standing.

I suspect you think you can easily identify abusers and their victims? But not only are abusers expert manipulators it is something that the victims become expert in too.

They manipulate everything and everyone that they need too to survive, families and officials are lied to, friends are distracted or dropped, smiles are faked as is desire and orgasms, hair is done, make-up applied and the children, if there are any, can be manipulated into seeing nothing or into being unknown or willing conspirators in placating Daddy.

While this goes on escape routes are planned and dismissed, dreamed and longed for and abandoned. Perfect plans to change him and the situation are designed and destroyed and through all this she is seen as a ‘weak’ woman.

She can be confused, torn and generally feeling at risk from him, from doctors, health visitors, families, social workers and strangers in the street; What if they find out and she loses her children, her home, and then he finds out and blames her?

This woman who now hides everything from everybody is still standing, still surviving and still hanging on to the only thing she has left that she controls, which is the tiny part of her mind; that bit of her that was formed before he took over her life; how dare people call her weak; how dare people not ask why does HE do this?

Middle class ‘do gooders’ must find it hard to understand why these women don’t behave as they would in the same situation and why when they are only trying to help are seen as the enemy? I mean they don’t make judgements do they? Well maybe that’s not true but at least they hide them well don’t they?

These underestimated weak women look into the eyes of a manipulating liar every day and see them exactly for what they are, these professionals represent danger, represent yet more relinquishing of control, represent another pointing and accusing finger.

The sad thing is that these strong women all too often believe they are ‘weak’ that they are failures, ugly, fat, unattractive, stupid, mad, bad Mothers, bad wives/partners, they’re wrong, wrong, wrong so divorced from the professionals that are trained and highly qualified and that can wield so much power over them.

It is easy for them to assume that these distant, strong career women could never have anything like this happen to them, mind you, don’t all strong women think this about themselves until it does?

This post was first published here - thanks to author for permission to cross post.

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