Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

He didn’t just “snap”

When I read headlines on Domestic Violence and they contain the immortal words; “He Just Snapped” – it will very often contain the following; “out of character”, “isolated incident”.

The reporting of Domestic Violence is not doing anything to stem the flow of misrepresentation about this crime. Type “He Just Snapped” into Google, watch the tide of uniquely reported DV news stories flood your screen.

Very often he hasn’t just snapped, very often it will be the crescendo to a run of systematic abuse that will have been going on for years. 76% of all DV incidents are repeat. 76%.

He didn’t suddenly turn on her, out of the blue, out of character, this family man of good standing in the community. Three quarters of the time it will have happened before.

The following stats are taken from The Crown Prosecution Service Website and all links to the source material can be found here

•Nearly 1 million women experience at least one incident of domestic abuse each year

•At least 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence

•Two women are killed each week by their partner or ex-partner

•54 per cent of women victims of serious sexual assault were assaulted by their partner or ex-partner

•Victims of domestic violence are more likely to experience repeat victimization than victims of any other types of crime

•76 per cent of all DV incidents are repeat offences

•Women experience an average of 35 incidents of domestic violence before reporting an incident to the police

And what of the woman who suddenly snaps “after years of repeated abuse”?

The response to her, is not “it was so out of character”. The response to her is “why didn’t she leave sooner”. What people who are reading these articles and writing these reports are failing to see is that many, many women in abusive relationships DO SNAP. But the result of their snapping is to leave, to escape, to run away. When they snap they don’t take a hammer to their partner, they don’t murder a father in front of their children. They remove themselves from their place of torture and find a way to survive and they do this with a bravery I can’t even begin to comprehend.

“What goes on between a man and a woman in the privacy of their own home is no-one’s business but theirs” NO. Not anymore. We cannot allow this mentality to pervade. A man’s front door should not protect him from facing a jury for his crimes. We owe it to every woman trapped in this way to be her voice, because at the moment, the crimes still going on unpunished show me she’s not being heard.

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

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One thought on “He didn’t just “snap”

  • natalie says:

    it really gets my goat when i hear the phase, i just snapped, no, thats not the truth, abusers never just snap, they are in control of what they are doing, granted they have issues, because anyone that can hurt people like they they do, have got to be a few cents short of a dollar, violent and sadistic behaviours are not the norm, well not my norm anyway.
    ive been reading today about male violence and it really has had me thinking, my friend years ago, wanted to go and meet her best friend as shed just ad her second child and wanted to show her of to her, by the time she had the guts to do this without her abuser finding out her baby was almost 6 months old, but she did it, she waited for a time she thought she could meet her for a short while and not cause any conflict at home,and she had a great time, even though at the back of her mind she kept thinking, i cant be late home, well her worst nightmare had come true and she was late home, she started cooking the dinner as quick as she could, but having a toddler a baby and a young step child to look after and trying to cook dinner with less than an hour to go was tough going, so she decided she was going to lie to him when he came in, to this day i dot know why she thought she could get away with it, not that she should have had to do it in the first place, but never the less, she stared cooking at a pace she could handle, knowing he would be back any minute, when he arrived home and saw that dinner was not even nearly ready, he asked her what she had been doing all day for her to be still cooking at this time, and here it was, tell the truth or lie, she decided to lie, she told him that she had already made dinner but that she had burned it so she threw it away and started again, but then he looked in the bin and asked where the spoilt food was, she started to panic, and lied again, i meant the bin outside she said, by this time she scared out of her mind, she had the chance to tell the truth but was terrified to admit that she had lied, it was inevitable, he was gonna go and check the bin outside and he did, so she felt she had no choice but to await her fate, oh and it came quick, he came back and was screaming at her, he unplugged the kettle and beat her with the kettle wire, would her beating been any less if she had admitted to sneaking out, no it wouldnt, he beat her again the next day and told her that she was being punished for lying, and that liars always get caught, so again the phrase i just snapped is a pile of rubbish.
    its a way for abusers to make there victims conform to how they want them to be, to this day every time my friend even tries to tell a lie, she stammers, looks away and gets scared, hey mate you ok, eerrmmm, yeeahh , iimm cool, when people knows shes not, and thats what abusers love, they want victims to feel afraid, they want them to know that they control what they do, what they say, and even what they think, im so angry that the system and some peoples attitude’s are so blasé about dv. and that because abusers are so good at terrorising there victims, they are too terrified to speak out, because lets face it, the system fails victims often, and they dont feel protected when they have been failed even once, so how can we expect them to keep asking for help when the consequences from the hands of there abuser are so dire……..