Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

“Why doesn’t she just leave him?”: The result of false narratives on women’s lives.

Today I have had the misfortune of reading Maureen Messent’s comment piece for the Birmingham Mail entitled ‘Our ‘holy cows’ are own worst enemies’ (http://www.donotlink.com/f0Z) which is heavy on the victim blaming bile and ignorant, pro-police opinion but lacks absolutely any facts, figures or even anecdotes. Even Richard Littlejohn has the imagination to use ridiculous anecdotes to back up his weird opinions, much alike those ridiculous memes on facebook about pensioners being asked to remove their poppies in case they upset an imaginary Muslim or whatever.
Even the stupid know they need human stories to give flesh and blood to ideas and therefore cement their opinions to the masses. So her lack of any kind of anecdote really does leave this piece with nine paragraphs of bitter thoughts. It is literally the ramblings of someone, with all due respects, hasn’t a clue about what she is talking about.

Messent explains that women who don’t leave violent partners are their own worst enemies and are “never to be held accountable for staying with brutal men, never to be told the harm done to children who watch these beatings”. If this were true we wouldn’t be faced with pure apathy on the constant closures of refuges, MVAWG charities wouldn’t be some of the least supported charities being trumped by animals and opinions as vapid as this wouldn’t even exist. If people in general truly cared for women in abusive relationships then the nasty press would not sensationalise every single story of a man beating a woman to death with added irrelevant details about how she had left (jilted) him, how they were struggling with custody and how violent and frenzied these murders tend to be.

Messent is galled by the fact that last week the HMIC found that many police forces in the UK are not up to standard with regards to treatment of victims of domestic violence: “Not all police leaders are ensuring that domestic abuse is a priority in their forces”. The HMIC report entitled ‘Everyone’s business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse”, the 155 page document, which I doubt Messent has even glanced at, is damning in its data and information:

“Domestic abuse is a priority on paper but, in the majority of forces, not in practice. Almost all police and crime commissioners have identified domestic abuse as a priority in their Police and Crime Plans. All forces told us that it is a priority for them.
This stated intent is not translating into operational reality in most forces. Tackling domestic abuse too often remains a poor relation to acquisitive crime and serious organised crime.”

This is serious. It means that a crime that 1 in 4 young people are victims of, a crime that is costing the UK economy £15.7 billion a year and a crime that a woman is dying every 2.4 days from is not important enough to our police force. Despite Messent’s claim that this report is unfair she cannot deny these findings.

She claims that the 77 women’s deaths from domestic violence in 2013 are ‘avoidable’ and she is absolutely correct; they could be avoided if men stopped killing women, if our press reported on male violence to women and girls with integrity and honesty without resorting to victim blaming and thusly everyone reacts to this violence with horror and not apathy. They could be avoided if services to women and children being abused weren’t being slashed in cost-cutting incentives by local governments and avoided if refuges were not being closed. They could be avoided if our police force believed women on the first occasion of reporting without creating false narratives in their heads before they have even interviewed the victim as in the case of Alex Farragher who was called a ‘fucking slag’ in a phone message by her investigating police officer. They could be avoided if they offered real support to women leaving abusive partners and not refuse, as in the case of Cassandra Hassanovic who was murdered by her partner on the way to a refuge after being denied a police escort. It could be avoided if young boys were educated on masculinity and violence and equality.

It, however, is not avoided simply by women staying with their partners. This false non-argument clearly hasn’t taken into consideration any real life stories that many of these murders, like Cassandra Hassanovic, happen once the woman has left her partner!
Her claim that “we’re never told how many of the dead women refused police advice to leave their attackers once and for all” as if this makes any kind of difference, just reiterates her total lack of understanding of male violence against women and girls and her contempt for women who are simply unable to leave.

Here in Devon, two refuges have shut in the last week due to “change in contract”, which means that women in the Exeter and Barnstable areas have no real support framework from real experts in this field. To me, refuges are more than safe spaces but symbols of empathy, support and hope. They say that society is not prepared to put up with male violence, their mere existence as physical spaces of safety can be enough to help a woman leave. Now there is less and less.

Of course it is hard for women to leave when the alternative is a flea infested bed and breakfast without security and counselling and support. Would you, Maureen? If you report your crime to a police officer and they do not take you seriously, or listen to your partners claim that you attacked him first? Would you Maureen? If your police officer investigating loses vital evidence or refuses to even take evidence because they believe that you should just leave him? If you have absolutely no family to run to? If you own your home but your partner does not? If it is your father who is abusive and you are a teenager? If your partner uses extreme emotional blackmail and brainwashing? If your partner threatens to murder you if you leave them? If your partner threatens to kill your children or himself? Would you leave, Maureen?

Would you care to talk to actual victims of domestic violence like the report did or would you like to go through life blindly making up narratives of women experiencing domestic violence and stick to them despite evidence to the contrary?

The ironic thing is, Maureen Messent even answers her own question in the final paragraph of this piece, she says: “Battering is a foul and cowardly crime. Why, then, is it also the offence so many women baulk at taking to court?”. Why don’t you read the report, Maureen, for yourself instead of filling in the gaps with ideas rather than facts.

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7 thoughts on ““Why doesn’t she just leave him?”: The result of false narratives on women’s lives.

  • Hecuba says:

    Totally agree with everything in this article. As usual another propaganda article has been published by malestream media promoting mens’ lies concerning pandemic male violence continuing to be committed by males against their ex/current female partners.

    Notice violent men’s behaviour as usual is ignored by this female journalist because her only intent is to perpetuate holding women accountable for mens’ choice and agency when they commit violence against women and girls.

    Repeat mens’ lies often enough and they become mens’ truths!

  • Sue Veneer says:

    Messant seems to be totally oblivious to those horrendous cases where, even when a woman manages to escape a violent partner, he kills her children out of revenge. Fear of that more than fear for her own safety will keep many women at home with an abusive man.

  • Just wanted to mention a valuable source on this topic: the Pervocracy’s “Why does she stay with that jerk?”

    The article flags up 20 different reasons why people stay in abusive relationships. It also has a long, well-moderated comments thread, with lots of people sharing what kept them from leaving &/or how they eventually did.

  • Murphy says:

    I’m actually happy for the lady who wrote the article, so much ignorance of the numbing effect on the brain of the victim of emotional and psychological abuse shows she never experienced it. I hope she never will, psychological torture is far worse than physical aggression. The real worst enemy for such women is ignorance such as hers, law enforcement’s ignorance, society’s ignorance of how mentally paralyzed, overwhelmed by anxiety and panic attacks such a victim is, with the feeling that she’s lost her identity, that she’s rendered totally helpless, powerless by her abuser. Like a Class A drug addict, except nobody would blame such a person for not being able to shake off i.e. heroin addiction when forced to live in the same house with his/her drug dealer. Worse still, whilst a drug addict knows he/she abuses/damages the body, the emotional& psychological abuse is so insidious most victims don’t even realize they are subjected to abuse until it is too late. For those who really want to help their ‘no scars to show’ abused friends, please help raise awareness for the symptoms presented by victims: i.e. emotional, mental, physical exhaustion (narcissism victim syndrome); the most dangerous abusers are the malign narcissists (dr Jekylls/mr Hydes) please check out/google the narcissistic red flags, their traits, how to recognize them, narcissistic speak (they all say the same things), narcissistic MO: gaslighting, projection, disproportionate fits of rage, ‘walking on egg shells’, hoovering, master liars and smear campaigners, how they degrade and debase and vilify the victims. Also read how weakened the victim’s body is, she’s hardly able to function (constant stress damages the immune system which in turns damages the circulatory, digestive, etc systems, and also can lead to any serious disease: heart attack, cancer. Depression is common place. Teresa Cooper’s article ‘Silent Abuse’ explains how desperate these women get when nobody believes the hell they live in, you see their partners wear the mask of sanity in public, they only drop it behind closed doors with no witnesses around. So, if you want to help and empower women to leave an abusive partner just educate them on such topics: narcissistic abuse, explain to them that theirs is not a case of ‘love’ but of chemical dependancy in their brain – help them to remove themselves for a fortnight away from abuser so that they can have a chance to think clearly out of the fog. Use video materials to illustrate what is happening to them (Gaslight the 1944 movie). Once you do this these poor women will not only leave a psychological abuser, but they will go NO CONTACT, following the unanimous advice from all victims of narc abuse who shook off the chemical self destructive addiction to their abuser.

  • Laix says:

    One has to ask given all the clear evidence that identifies the male scourge that is violence against womon why consecutive governments have done little to nothing to deal with male violence against over half the population! Over and over again activist womon have to keep on repeating the psychodynamic that is present in DV . Not that long ago it was rightly or wrongly identified for legal/social reasons as ‘battered women syndrome’ that explained clearly the process of how and why women get caught up in the cycle of male domination /control that leads to routine denigration fear and injury. It was known that unless this vile cycle was stopped it would lead to fatal consequences for the woman. It was known that even when women wanted to leave they had few safe options that would be reliably secure and often police would fail to ensure a fleeing women’s protection. Feminist activists raised money invested energy and time worked to convince local authorities to provide, support and sustain safe houses. This model worked for women and protected them and children. It was known that the most dangerous time for any woman leaving violent sadistic men was itself the ‘act of leaving’ she may have attempted to leave several times before success but always paid a heavy violent price for the very act itself of walking away. This is all known this is all well documented to exhaustion . Knowledge about domestic violence is well researched and women have written honest painful accounts of their detention torture and loss of self agency at the hands of men who often were never prosecuted for the venal crimes they had committed against women.
    And yet and yet again here we are today 50 yrs after our group opened the first local refuge know that womon are still at high risk from fatality from male violence and damage from male abuse. Services to womon have not grown exponentially during this time and the criminal justice system remains inconsistent in its provision and commitment to womon and girls. It is inconceivable that with all the advances that have been made Society in the face of overwhelming evidence can still produce ignorant misogynist rhetoric that wants to assert that ancient patriarchal myths and lies loaded against womon are part of 21st Century . To me as a life long enduring campaigner for mine and womons rights in general and specific I am affronted that it still remains that womon are suppose to take responsibilty for men’s violence and blamed for the atrocities their tormentors and assailants inflict upon them.
    I will go to my grave before I ever cave into to these saboteurs who defame all womon in their effort to be populist and crony with men.
    We must carry on challenging and confronting those who would piss over real lived experience of male violence. We/I will never STOP fighting to eradicate these corrosive vile injustices done to my sisters everywhere at the hands of men! NEVER!

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