Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

All victims need to be rescued

I had toxic parents. Once i saw a live video of a coach. She was talking about raising children.I loved what she said. She seemed like a safe person to approach. Yesterday she did another video. In it,she was totally against the idea of rescuing victims. I contradicted her. I wrote about how hard my childhood was and how badly i needed somebody to rescue me. As an adult,i still need someone to help me go from low contact to no contact with my abusive parents. She replied very rudely: "You ask for a free ride on somebody elses'back. Don't contaminate others with your misery. Rescue yourself. That's what i did and nobody came to my rescue. On the contrary,i kept silent about my abuse.In order not to ruin others' day, i always showed a happy face". Practically,she was saying that victims have no right to speak and that we must be positive in order to be accepted by society. I explained to her that a traumatised brain doesn't have the same life skills in comparison to a brain that was not injured. Also,most abusers are very dangerous when the victim tries to go no contact. I want to do it,but i know what would follow.My narc parents would stalk me on the street and i would not be safe anywhere. That's why i need somebody to be there for me in very practical ways. I need that person to support me morally and to go with me to the police or even to court,if need be.In fact,i know somebody very caring and compassionate. But now i hesitate to call him and ask for help.I feel ashamed for needing help and i'm terrified of rejection. Is it victim shaming to put somebody down for needing to be rescued? Was the coach right?


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3 thoughts on “All victims need to be rescued

  • Linda Perry says:

    Thanks for sharing. You are very brave.
    I was once given a small psychological model by a counsellor which helped me a lot.
    A triangle with the words victim, rescuer and aggressor.My counsellor told me to notice when I or someone I was interacting with switched roles in a relationship.
    I think the point was that none of these roles are healthy.
    Survivor now, rather than victim. I can be firm without becoming aggressive and I happy to support and help rather than rescue.
    Rescue takes the power away from the victim preventing them from becoming a survivor.
    You cannot change your history, you totally have the power to change how you think about it and how it affects you.
    You can move past your history and define yourself.
    Stay safe, be strong and look after yourself.
    Best wishes.

  • Admin says:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. We agree that everyone who experiences domestic and sexual violence and abuse deserves the unconditional support of both specialist organisations and their friends and family. Children absolutely need the adults around them to follow child protection protocols in order to ensure that they are given appropriate support and intervention. The coach’s statements are very troubling. Keeping silent so as not ‘to ruin other’s days’ is victim blaming. Telling women they have no right to access support or help is victim blaming. Every single victim of domestic and sexual violence and abuse has the right to support if they so choose. Dictating how other people deal with their lived experiences in antithetical to a victim centred justice system.

  • Jane says:

    I was told by state social workers at 14 that I should stop expecting to be rescued and learn to look after myself. I couldn’t go home to my abusive parents so years of homelessness followed.

    Some professionals justify a lack of assistance for survivors by making ‘clinical’ justifications for the lack of assistance, such as ‘rescue is bad’, ‘dependence on others is bad’. I believe all survivors deserve to be rescued and cared for until they are ready and recovered enough to be able to have a full and happy life. There is nowhere on earth that this happens, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t.

    We should all depend on some caring friends or helpers, as they should on us, and that’s healthy and normal- we are social animals. And I think it is deeply oppressive to demand we hide the harm and pain caused by crimes committed against us.

    Crimes of abuse against children are heinous, and if the harm were ever fully accepted by the community I believe all of us would be rescued, and cared for, and assisted- so that as much of the harm as possible could be undone. Oh, and the perpetrators would actually go to jail and it would be for a long, long time.

    Given that we, as a society, allowed the abuse to occur, I believe we hold collective responsibility for rescuing and empowering individuals and liberating survivors from abusers and oppressive professionals.

    I am sorry that doesn’t happen, and I mourn for 14 year old me, who believed these professionals. Despite not being legally allowed to get a job, a lease, or a bank account- I felt that my homelessness and poverty was my own fault.

    Whether you are 14 or 80 a victim/survivor deserves to be rescued from criminals and not abandoned to rescue themselves.