Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Time to prioritise safety of mothers and children

DISCUSSIONS of child contact and court systems without mentioning domestic abuse are, I believe, akin to climate change policies that ignore human influence: ill-informed and reckless (“Parents deserve a court system that is fair but firm”, The Herald, August 28).

The most recent figures suggest that domestic abuse is prevalent in at least half of all court actions on contact raised by a parent. Perhaps some mothers choose to block contact for little or no real reason – though we predict this number to be very, very few – but the use of the court system by perpetrators to continue to abuse and control mothers and children is frequent and well documented.

Children with a parent who abuses their mother do not simply bear witness to domestic abuse; they experience it in their own right. They see and hear their mother being hurt, physically and emotionally. They try to intervene to protect their mother from harm. They are controlled, manipulated, threatened, and, in some cases, forced to participate in the abuse. As the abuser extends control over her social life, work life, finances and health, her children suffer in countless ways, and their suffering continues well after the parents have separated. In the most extreme of cases of domestic abuse, the abuser kills the children as a final act of possession and revenge. ...

 

This article was first published in The Herald on 4.9.17.

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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