Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Blaming victims of male violence just reinforces the abuse, by @vonny_bravo

WHEN I think of how we respond to female victims, I think of the Victorians. Specifically of their approach to mourning, particularly in respect to women in the upper classes.

When someone died – a parent, a husband a child – women partook in a complex set of rituals that dictated everything from their dress to their behaviour. This elaborate show – the black clothes for two years, possibly for the rest of a life, the removal of oneself from society and recreation – were all to send easily interpreted signals bereavement. To fail to perform grief in this prescribed public manner was to show great disrespect to the dead and to their trauma. It also was to invite suspicion. Suspicion of sexual promiscuity and disingenuous sorrow.

Rules and restrictions dictated how a woman must behave to be accepted as a genuine sufferer. They needed appropriate cues to understand a woman’s pain. It was a visual shorthand for judging who was deserving of time, sympathy and respect.

Is this so different for what we want from women now when they claim to be victims of male violence? ...


This article was first published on The National on 14.8.17. You can find the full text here.

Inspired by our participation with the Write to End Violence Against Women awards organised by Zero Tolerance, we are now collecting examples of good journalism about domestic and sexual violence and abuse to make it clear that it is possible to write about DSVA without resorting to myths, misrepresentations, minimisation and victim blaming.

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