Blaming The Victim?

Blaming The Victim?
By Regena English

Earlier this year I wrote an article on domestic violence and it's been used on some sites addressing the topics of divorce and domestic violence. Since publishing that article I've received a great many positive letters from women who've experienced spousal abuse.

However recently I've received two letters of outrage over my article accusing me of blaming the victim. This irritated me because I couldn't figure out which part of the article gave that impression. What did the article say that generated such a negative response from these two women? In the article I made mention of so-called experts overlooking the role women played in their own victimization.

(Commonsense Approach To Domestic Violence)

"Not once did she (a domestic violence expert interviewed on a talk show) point out how victims aren't victims until they surrender their power, which gave the impression she was saying the victims aren't responsibility for themselves." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Never did I intend for that remark to be seen as re-victimization of the victim. However it is stating an observation. Since receiving those letters I found myself pondering the real problems they had with the article and they're not what you think.

Somehow these women assumed I was saying because they were assaulted by their spouses they provoked it therefore got "what they deserved". I would never say that, no one has the right to hit, kick, bite, choke,or cut anyone else.

Problem number one, when victims choose to do nothing when their "gut" instinct or outward indicators point to something being wrong with their potential spouses, boyfriends, or lovers early in the relationship they're playing a part in their future abuse. Why?

They're failing to react to the signs. For some reason their logic maybe to disregard the information given to them concerning their significant other out of fear of being wrong. I can understand how that could happen, I've been in bad relationships (none abusive but bad just the same), and like them I explained away misgivings I had about the people and their actions.

In this culture many women tend to explain away inner misgivings about people they want to love them, we think by disrearding evidence or defining the signs in gentle terms we're giving this person a chance, just maybe we're over reacting or misreading their actions, comments, or intentions. It's in hindsight we learn the error of our judgement in trusting those people, most of us leave those relationship unscathe but angry (more specifically feeling like fools).

Now here's problem number two. These women faced with being responsible for not reacting to the early signs of their significant other's violent side felt victimized again when it was pointed out they had an possible "early out" so to speak. The fact appear to be, these women are still in denial about problem number one, and when someone try to examine the whole picture of abuse they feel threatened. It's as if they think by someone pointing out there's more than one dimension to this torture this is taking the "victim" from them. They're creating an illusion to be a victim once is to remain one for life, that's unfortunate and a big mistake that is sure to create more victims.

It's time women everywhere practiced taking a proactive approach to living, making continuous efforts to grow healthy self-esteems and to guard them like sacred treasures. They need to know the difference between that ceaseless chatter that goes on in their heads and the intuitive voice that is spiritually programmed to guide them.

They must not be afraid to act on that "little voice" when they receive feedback contrary to the information their eyes and ears are giving them. These small personal changes are the only surefire way inwhich humanity can irradicate "household wars" otherwise known as domestic violence. But as long as there is an endless supply of low esteemed folks (uninterested in improving themselves) domestic violence will remain a fact of life for many.

On a end note, I'm left with the feeling these women don't see the present ways of dealing with domestic violence through laws, running to shelters, blaming the man on one hand and justifying his abuse on the other (his daddy did that to his mother), is not working in their favor to stop this household abuse. So as I mentioned above the only true way to eliminate or at the very least stop creating new generations to be abused is to take a proactive approach to living.

Blaming the victim? No. Pointing out there's a bigger picture to domestic violence than what many dare to acknowledge to their deteriment, yes. Just something to think about, a woman with healthy esteem is a woman who walks away early when suspicions loom.


Regena English, the editor of The Leather Spinsters Newsletter (SM) the first of its kind dedicated entirely to the well-being of the happily unmarried careerwoman. Year 2002 marks the fifth year the Leather Spinsters site has been serving single women worldwide.