Social Issues

Domestic violence: The topic we skip over at dinner time

Domestic violence, who experiences it these days?  Oh no.  Not my family, not my friends, and especially not me.  I mean, only poor people in the ghetto beat each other up.  They don’t have class like me.  I’m too good to be affected by domestic violence.  I have a job.  I have a house.  I have a car.  I wear nice clothes.  I eat good food.  I may not be rich, but I’m neither poor.  And only poor people experience domestic violence.  Right?

WRONG!

Domestic violence affects all of us, whether it be directly or indirectly.  We are so ignorant about the fact that domestic violence does not discriminate.  It can happen to anyone, any race, any age, any sexual orientation.

Additionally, we tend to believe that if he does not hit us, then he’s not abusive.  (Note: I know that women can abuse too, but statistics show that men abuse more than women.  And it’s so much easier for me if I just type “he” instead of “he/she”).  There are many forms of abuse: physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, etc.  He doesn’t have to hit you to be abusive.  If he calls you names, puts you down, and degrades you, then you are being abused.  If he is possessive and controlling, and constantly uses jealousy to justify his controlling behavior, then he is being abusive.  Yes, my all-time favorite line, “I’m jealous only because I love you.  If I didn’t care for you anymore, I wouldn’t get jealous.”  Suuure.

And I hate it when people blame the woman for the abuse or say that she deserved it.  I see this a lot in Hmong relationships and marriages.  “She deserves it for bitching too much at her husband.”  “She’s not a good wife to begin with.  A husband would never beat up a wife if she was doing her job.”  Or, my all time favorite—I heard it from a woman—“He gets along with everyone we know.  We have never seen the bad side of him.  If she brings out the bad in him, then it’s her damn fault for doing so!”

And they blame her so much that she, in turn, starts to believe that she was the cause of his abuse.  “I shouldn’t have pushed him to his limit.”

Seriously?  How are you going to blame the victim of the crime for the crime?  It’s like telling a rape victim that she got raped because she was wearing that low-cut blouse and miniskirt.  Come on, people!  We all know that rape is about power and control, not about sex.

An abuser has control of his actions.  No matter what, he knows what he’s doing.  And during the moment that he raises his hands to slap you or push you against the wall, he knows what he’s doing.  He just doesn’t give a shit about it!  And please, don’t make excuses for the abuser.  “Cut him some slack, he was drunk.”  Erm, yeah.  Then he shouldn’t be drinking in the first place.

Oh, yes, and I get so amused when people say, “Well, he must not be as bad as she claims him to be because she’s still with him.”

A woman stays with her abuser for many reasons.  He’s the only one working and she relies on his income to support her and her children.  And the reason why she’s not working is because he doesn’t allow her to.  He has isolated her so much that she has no one to turn to when she really does contemplate leaving.  She is staying for the children.  He threatens to hurt her, her children, her family and/or friends, or threatens to hurt himself.  Or she stays with her abuser simply just because she loves him and believes that he will one day return to being the man she fell in love with.

A woman may leave her abuser and return, leave him again and return, over and over again.  It may take a woman more than one try until she succeeds in leaving her abuser for good.

And the children, you shall never forget the children who experience and/or witness domestic violence.  You may not think that it does not affect them much, but children are like sponges.  They absorb everything in their surrounding, may it be positive or negative.  And the sad part about children in domestic violent homes is that they will most likely continue the cycle of domestic abuse.  Because they know nothing but verbal, emotional, and physical abuse, they will in turn do it to their children.

Domestic violence is an important issue.  It affects everyone around us.  October was domestic violence awareness month.  October has come and gone, but we should all be aware of domestic violence every single day.

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