Victims are never responsible for the abuse; only the abuser can stop the behavior

Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - 6:45pm

I wanted this article to reflect the humorous side to me; I’m a pun master, I tell amazing jokes and I am witty as Hell. But these last few days have been sobering and hard. I am obtaining my sexual assault advocate training from the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and it is mentally exhausting. Instead of writing my piece on dogs filled with dad jokes and bad puns, I am writing on sexual violence, yet again.

This is a trigger warning: please read with caution if you are a rape survivor, a domestic abuse survivor or a trauma survivor. (And if you don’t need this trigger warning, don’t mock those who do because Hell has been brought upon them and they don’t need any comments from Satan’s minions.)

During the class, we covered an array of topics including IPSV, or Intimate Partner Sexual Violence. We heard a recount of a domestic violence situation in which male entitlement almost killed an entire family. You are never, under any circumstances, entitled to someone’s body. Never. I had to listen to the survivor explain that her husband would keep a cycle going: Honeymoon Phase, Tension Phase, Explosive Phase. He treated her like a queen, then become increasingly aggressive and agitated, and then violently assault her sexually and/or physically. I often hear, “Why didn’t she just leave? If I were her, I would have kicked his butt!” Unfortunately, you probably wouldn’t have. I’m not doubting your butt-kicking skills, but I know how powerful an abuser can be. They degrade you, they harm you and they make you seem like it is your fault they sent you to the hospital. Manipulation is the greatest tool of oppressors. A survivor is more likely to be murdered within the first 48 hours of leaving their abusive partner than at any other time. They can’t simply “leave,” not when they have nothing to leave with or to go to. Instead of asking, “Why didn’t they just leave?” Start asking, “Why do they keep abusing their partner? How can I help?”

By asking why they don’t leave, we perpetuate the idea that somehow they are at fault for their abusers transgressions. Make no mistake: the only person that can stop a rape, a sexual assault, or a murder is the person trying to commit the crime. To place blame on anyone else other than them does a great disservice to the survivors. As much as I wish I could be Deadpool and sweep in with some snarky comment as I blast some nerd butt’s head off, I can’t. Violence doesn’t stop more violence. “It is important to relay to the victim that ‘No one deserves to be abused’, and that he/she is not alone. Do not tell the victim what to do or place any negative blame on his/her actions. Let the victim know that they are not responsible for the abuse, and that only the abuser can stop the behavior (Utah Domestic Violence Coalition, 2016).”

It is NEVER your fault that someone abuses you. Please speak out and stand up to abuse.

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