Question: What’s broken with her that she would stay? Doesn’t she need help?
What victims hear when you say that: If people find out that he hit me, they’re going to think I’m a weird, fucked up, broken person. They will judge me. They won’t want to be around me. My kids will become pariahs. I may have trouble getting a job if people find out. My parents will wonder how they failed. I’ll be outcast and possibly poor. Better hide the abuse rather than let people decide that I’m some kind of basketcase.
What to ask instead: What’s broken with him that he thinks hitting is okay? Why didn’t he get help before he gave in to the urge to hit? Why does he think it’s okay to hit people if he doesn’t get his way? How did our culture thwart so many men that they think that there’s something manly about hitting women?
Question: Why does she still love him?
What victims hear when you say that: If you aren’t a robot who can turn off your feelings at the drop of a hat, there’s something seriously wrong with you. Your confusion and vulnerability makes you unacceptably weak. Better hide the abuse so people don’t start to think you’re feeble-minded.
What to ask instead: Why does he hit someone he claims to love?
With this helpful guide, you too can stop contributing to an environment where victims linger in abusive relationships, afraid to ask for help because they know that they’ll be treated like freaks and pariahs. With practice, you too can start blaming the people who are to blame when domestic violence occurs: The people who make the choice to belittle, beat, stalk, rape, and intimidate. As long as you keep to the program, eventually you too can stop being a contributor to the problem of domestic violence, and start creating a supportive environment that actually makes it possible for victims to leave.
What are you waiting for? There’s no reason to not drop the victim-blaming today and start blaming abusers for abusing. The only people who you’ll hurt are men who like to hit women. And why should we help them cultivate the environment of shame and fear that keeps their victims with them?
This post originally appeared on RawStory and was republished with permission.