Has anyone ever made you, a victim of abuse, feel like you were to blame? Or that you did something to make the abuse happen? Or ask questions that make you feel like you’re being abused all over again?
This is victim blaming, victim shaming, and revictimization. And it sucks.
You can hear this coming from your abuser, his family, your family, your friends; it can come from police officers, lawyers, and judges. It starts as soon as you start to tell your story and expose the abuser.
Think about when you learn about someone being raped, what are the questions people ask?
- What was she wearing?
- Was she drinking?
- Did she go to his house (or in his car) willingly?
Or, questions asked when either yourself or another woman comes forward to say that she has been abused.
- Why didn’t she say no?
- Why didn't she leave sooner?
- Why didn’t she call the police?
Our society has been conditioned to blame the victim and to look for reasons why the victim provoked the abuse, instead of focusing on the actions of the abuser.
If we, as a society, don’t look for reasons why the abuse happened, then the world is too scary.
If we focus on the abusers' actions, we have to acknowledge that this kind of evil exists.
We have to admit that someone might just abuse a person because they’re an asshole. They want to hurt people and they don’t care.
I encourage you to step back and recognize this flaw in society. Then it will sting a little less when the judge blames you for your abuse, when your dad says you never should have married him, or when your friends say you shouldn’t have stayed so long.
As if the trauma of abuse wasn’t enough, we experience a secondary assault (or trauma) when we are blamed, shamed, or revictimized by anyone.
I went to court to ask for a protective order against the ex. This was a massive step for me because it scared me to death to try this. I had left with my daughter, I took her out of school, I was driving a different car, I was staying with different friends so we weren’t in one place too long. I was scared out of my mind!
All the information was presented in court, including threatening texts, pictures with guns in them, testifying that I was fearful for my life and my kid's life.
The judge admitted she was very concerned about his mental health, that he seemed unstable. But she looked at me and said,
“You didn't show me that you were scared enough.”
I was traumatized and victimized all over again.
I know I'm not alone in these experiences. And neither are you.
In Part 2, I’ll go deeper into this topic to help you recognize when someone is blaming, shaming, or revictimizing you. I want you not only to be aware of it, but have an action plan in place to counter it.
I want to empower you so you don’t let anyone take you down the road of explaining why you let the abuse happen.
In the meantime, if you'd like some support from other moms who are in the trenches with you, join us in our Facebook group, Hopeful + Healed Moms.
God made you for this!
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