By Alan Sharpe, CFRE
One of the biggest misconceptions and tragedies is society’s willingness to blame the victim of domestic abuse.
Today, April 3rd, is the International Day Against Victim Blaming, which helps to raise awareness for survivors of domestic violence (and other types of abuse) who are in some way blamed for what happened to them. We must place responsibility for the crimes on the offender, and stop blaming the victim.
Blaming the victim hinders them from accessing safety resources and support. Blaming the victim deters them from coming forward and reporting the abuse to authorities, or accessing services such as shelters and counsellors. Blaming the victim reinforces the abuser’s claims against his victim: that the domestic abuse was the victim’s fault.
Victims of domestic abuse should never be blamed for anything that happens to them. They should never be blamed for staying. “Why doesn’t she just leave him?” you may ask.
There are lots of reasons why a woman stays. Here are just a few….
- She loves the partner, not the violence
- She made a commitment she feels she can’t break
- She has nowhere else to go
- She has no money, or fears the poverty that may result for her and her children if she leaves
- Relatives and in-laws want her to stay
- She believes her partner can’t get along without her – he may have threatened suicide if she leaves
- She wants her children to grow up with their father
- She doesn’t have the confidence to believe she can make it on her own
- She believes her partner will change
- She is afraid or ashamed
- She feels guilty and believes the abuse is her fault
- She believes she deserves the abuse
- She’s afraid for her own and her children’s lives
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