People always say that survivors must speak about abuse and there are hundreds of campaigns that encourage survivors to speak. Rarely, do you ever hear anyone ask what happens to a survivor when they come out and share their story.
An insightful article on domesticshelters.org sheds light on the insults, humiliation and abuse that survivors of abuse often face when they speak out.
Some of the comments on social media can include;
- “This happened years ago and she’s just talking about it now? Sounds like someone needs attention.”
- “If it was so bad, why didn’t she leave? I would walk out the door the second a man hit me.”
- “She didn’t even report it to the police. She’s probably just making this up.”
According to this article, “victim-blaming is about self-preservation.” People do not necessarily know how to deal with news about domestic violence, because of the emotions involved due to the close nature of the relationship that the survivor has with the abuser. If they can believe that the survivor of abuse did something wrong, then they can hold onto the idea that they are in control and that they would never be abused. For this reason, they resort to blaming the survivors e.g. they stayed too long, they didn’t report it to the police, they angered the abuser because they are out of control.
It is important to not become defensive when people make ignorant comments about abuse. It is important to understand that it is difficult to empathise with someone when you haven’t personally experienced something. To find out how to respond appropriately and develop a mutual understanding, click here to read the full article on domesticshelters.org.