A woman told me years ago that she understands the dynamics of domestic violence. She understands that there are many different types of abuse: verbal, mental, physical, etc. But she also understands that sometimes women provoke a man to abuse them. (???) I quote her when I write this, “If she brings out the worse in him, then it’s her own damn fault!”
“There are two sides to every story,” she concluded. “And no one should believe her words without hearing his too. She cannot ruin the reputation of a nice man.” I have heard it one too many times—usually from the same people—that whenever they bring it up, I just either leave the discussion (because it will piss me off) or keep my mouth shut (because they’ll never get it).
Domestic violence is never the fault of the victim. NEVER. Period.
Let’s have a few examples:
Kate’s work meeting ran late. She got home at 6pm instead of 5pm as she usually does. She started dinner, but did not finish by the time her husband got home from work at 6:30pm. Regardless of her reason, her husband didn’t want to hear any of it. He expected dinner to be ready by the time he came home every day. He verbally abused her for the next couple of hours.
Alexandra was excited about her friend’s birthday party. Her boyfriend showed up and told her that there’s been a change of plans. He was going to his cousin’s to hang out instead.
“Well, you don’t have to go with me to Mary’s if you don’t want to,” Alexandra said.
“If I’m not going, then you’re not going.”
“I’m going! She’s my best friend; I can’t just not go.”
“You’re not going!”
“Why can’t I do anything with my friends, but you’re always drinking with your buddies?!”
“Because you’re a slut and I know what you’ll do when I’m not there!”
“I’m not a slut and I’m going. I don’t care what you say.”
“You’re really not going to listen to me?”
Alexandra’s boyfriend grabbed her and slapped her a couple of times.
“If you don’t listen to me next time, it’s going to be worse,” he said as he left.
Olivia refused to get an abortion after her boyfriend told her he didn’t want to keep the baby. Her boyfriend kicked her in the stomach every time the subject was brought up until she had a miscarriage.
What do the stories illustrate to you? Was it the victims’ faults that they brought the abuse onto themselves? Or do you hold the abuser accountable for the abuse?
Just for the sake of argument, let’s try to look at the abusers’ sides of the stories. Kate’s husband did not get to have dinner right when he got home from work. Kate was an incompetent wife. What’s so hard about having dinner ready for a hard-working husband, right?
Alexandra’s boyfriend did not want her to attend her friend’s birthday party. She shouldn’t have argued with him. He just wanted to be respected and listened to. Alexandra knew what her boyfriend was capable of. If she had only listened to him, he wouldn’t have slapped her.
Olivia should’ve never gotten pregnant. And besides, she should’ve gotten an abortion. That would’ve prevented her from being kicked. Poor guy, he didn’t want to be stuck with the responsibilities of a child.
Sadly, this is how society views abuse. If the victim had or hadn’t done this or that, she wouldn’t have been abused. She could’ve prevented it, but she didn’t, so it’s her fault. If only she had given in to his demands, if only she had no personal boundaries, no personal rights, if only she hadn’t pushed him to his limit….
Many people request that we please stop and look at the situation from both sides of the stories before helping an abused victim. But do we really need to know the reason behind an abuser’s actions? No, because no matter what the reasons are, it still gives them no right to abuse. An abusive person will use whatever means possible to gain and maintain power and control. By saying that there are two sides to an abusive relationship does not make the abuser accountable and blames the victim for creating the problem.
It really irritates me when people ask that I please look at an abuser’s perspective before jumping to conclusions. I cannot fathom how someone can abuse the person they claim to love. A non-abusive person would approach any conflict with non-violent resolutions. A non-abusive person would not become aggressive if dinner wasn’t ready on time, if their partner wanted to hang out with friends, or if she had gotten pregnant. Why should we give abusers the benefit of the doubt that he had good reasoning behind his actions? He has no right to treat her that way. End of story. (I understand that domestic violence is a learned behavior and the abuser most likely grew up in an abusive environment, but that still does not make it okay for him to abuse).
Note: I know that women can abuse men. However, statistics show that men are more violent and abusive than women. That is why the language in this blog post is gender-specific to men as the abusers.