When a man hits a woman, the question we all want to ask is, “Why did she put her face in front of his fist?”
Well, I reject that. Whole-heartedly. I think that the strategy of asking women what’s so wrong with them that they were totally easy to hit like that has been tried and it has failed. I think it’s time to start asking the hard question. Stop asking why she was stupid enough to let him abuse her and start asking why he chose to abuse. It will be hard, actually blaming the people who are responsible instead of the victims, even though the victims are so frequently women and therefore just asking to be blamed for everything. But with some work, I think it can be done. So, I put together a little guide of urges you may have when confronted with domestic violence, why those urges are counter-productive to your supposed goal of reducing domestic violence, and what questions you can substitute instead.
Question: Why did she stay?
What victims hear when you ask that: Only a stupid person would let it get to the point of him hitting you. You can’t let anyone know this happened, or they’re going to ask why you stayed. Your pain is already great, and having people imply you’re stupid and you did this to yourself will just make it worse. So, you should conceal the abuse and pretend everything is okay. Otherwise, people are going to wonder how you could be so stupid.
What to ask instead: Why did he continue to hit her after he promised he would never do it again? What kind of man does that? Why does lying to someone he supposedly love come so easily to him? Why is hitting her more important to him than keeping his promises?