Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Domestic Violence and why victim blaming is ridiculous

This post goes out to two of the strongest women I know - my best friend "sister" Emma and her mother Rhonda.  For years they have been fighting against the terror and the stigma of domestic violence, trying to raise awareness and provide hope with their annual Butterfly Ball (held in honour of Emma's late aunt Noelene)

For anyone not aware, click here to read about Joe Hildebrands comments on Studio 10 this morning.  What disturbs me is the comments on the story, the two themes that really stick out are:

"Why do women get into these relationships?"
"Why do women stay? Surely if they want to protect their children they'll leave!"

The answer to the second one is so simple I can't believe that the nongs asking it don't see it - they're staying because they're afraid that if they leave, the abuser will take revenge using the children.  Luke Batty is only one example.  What about poor Darcey Freeman, whose father threw her off the Westgate Bridge?  Or poor Jai, Tyler and Bailey, whose father drove them into a dam and drowned them?  If the abused (male or female) try to leave, they risk their children being hurt or killed in retaliation.  It's the perfect way to keep the abused under the abusers control.

So how do women get into these situations in the first place?  I'm sure we've all heard of the boiling frog, you put a frog into boiling water it will jump right out, but put it in cool water then let the water slowly heat and the frog will boil to death?  An extremely simplistic way of looking at it really.

Abusers probably don't set out to abuse.  The unfortunately reality is they have dreams too, and the only way they see their dream coming true is by controlling another human being.  They equate "control" with "love" which is just not true at all.  I'm not trying to excuse or pardon them, but I'm trying to show how easy it is to fall into abusive habits - anyone can abuse.  Someone can appear friendly and kind, but as you get to know them they slowly start to try and control you.  Abuse is one form of control and it's easy to do - I should know, I am guilty of abusive behaviours myself.

I am an extremely jealous person, and I pine for those I get attached to when I'm not with them.  100% my problem to deal with, but in my last relationship I didn't.  I took it out on my ex by making accusations and trying to make him miserable while he was away because I felt miserable, and I felt that he didn't love me if he was able to have fun and be happy away from me.  I had no right to try and bring him down, it was me trying to control him through abuse and I'm ashamed of how I behaved. 

"Oh, we all make mistakes."  Yes, we do.  And we're willing to forgive others for their mistakes.  But abusers learn how to make little mistakes that on the surface are forgivable, but slowly erode the confidence and esteem of the victim, and then escalate to keep the abused under control.

Everyone is capable of being abused, and everyone is capable of being an abuser, and many people can be both at the same time.  The way to fix this is not to blame the victim for getting into the mess in the first place, or not being strong enough to escape the situation, but to educate, educate, educate! Model behaviours that you believe to make good, strong relationships, try to weed out any behaviours you know you are guilty of (and all of us have them!), and if you see someone in a bad situation, be there for them - you could save the lives of innocent children.

Domestic violence affects all of us.

1 comment:

  1. Your upset about people asking questions?
    Isn't that them showing the enthusiasm to understand you have been after?

    Why do women expect men to be psychic and/or immediately understand every concept the stubble upon?

    Little sexist maybe