Letter: Domestic-violence victims suffer enough already
Please don’t blame the victim. In every case of domestic violence, there is so much more going on than you could ever imagine. We all hope that we would leave at the first sign of violence, but it isn’t that easy.
There is a backstory, a preparation that goes on, a way of slowly braking the person down, creating a dependency, isolation and blame so the victim believes it is her fault that this is happening.
Scattered in there is, of course, a few apologies, but they often sound like this: “I am sorry I hit (or slapped or punched) you, but if you hadn’t smiled at that guy (or if you had made the bed), I wouldn’t have had to kick (or punch or slap) you.”
As an advocate for Response: Help for Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, I want people to know you shouldn’t blame or assume you understand the victim. What she needs is understanding, support and help. She needs people to be there for her throughout this and when she is ready to leave.
Don’t let the isolation continue. She is bullied enough by the abuser and doesn’t need it from the outside.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
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