Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Most Common Myth

Don't ask "Why does she stay?" Ask "Why does he do that?"
I have spent some time blogging about common myths about domestic violence.  Here’s the one that is the most frustrating for me to explain and dispel:

"Victims like the abuse, otherwise they would leave."

To me, it’s obvious that women do not like to be abused. They do not enjoy being beaten, called horrible names, and having no control over their lives. 

They do leave.  They do try to end the relationship. Women leave abusive relationships every day. But when they leave, they face many obstacles and challenges, like continued abuse and stalking by their partner.

Last year I shared with you the story of Katie Piper. She broke things off with her boyfriend. He stalked her for days, and then hired someone to attack her with acid. 

It happens a lot: women leave, and then they are stalked and killed.  We have already had more than one domestic violence homicide this year in KC where women were in the process of leaving their abusers. It’s scary to realize that we’re still in the first half of the year.

Rather than asking “Why does she stay?” let’s start focusing on the abuser and his motivations for staying in the relationship. Ask yourself why a man would want to stay in a relationship when he thinks:
  • She never does anything right. I'll have to teach her a lesson. 
  • She’s always cheating on me. I saw the way she looked at the cashier at the grocery store.
  • I just can’t trust her, so I’ll have to put a GPS on her car so I know where she is.
Changing which side of the relationship you’re looking at changes everything, doesn’t it?

Victims of domestic violence do not ask for the abuse. They do not deserve the abuse, and they certainly do not enjoy it. It is a vicious cycle and one that must be stopped. Two of the first steps to ending it are education and availability of services. We are working on addressing both of those issues.

1 comment:

  1. As a survivor of an abusive relationship I can't begin to say how hurtful those words are.