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5 Backward Ways Our Society Responds to Domestic Violence

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4. Turned Away from Shelters

Women’s shelters are for victims of domestic violence, right? Well, in theory, yes, but there are some shocking exceptions to the rule. Some discriminate against transgender women, refusing them access to domestic violence services. Others bar boys above a certain age and/or pets, which makes it difficult for women to safely evacuate their homes without leaving loved ones behind. A woman with a 17-year-old son, for example, might not be able to get him to safety when she leaves for a shelter, so she may make the dangerous and crushing decision to stay after getting the courage to leave, because she doesn’t want to abandon her son in an abusive situation.

Some shelters are working to change this, opening their doors to pets, for example, lifting discriminatory bans on trans women, and working with partner organizations to provide shelter to teens and help families stay together.

5. Victim Blaming

Victims of domestic violence may find themselves in the odd position of being told that was is happening to them is their fault; they should have been more or less assertive, shouldn’t have been involved in abusive relationships in the first place, should have listened to advice, should have gotten out sooner… This attitude pervades society, profiling victims as those at fault instead of targeting the people who commit domestic violence.

Similar attitudes can be seen in response to rape and sexual assault, where the first reaction is often to ask what the victim did, rather than looking to the attacker.

Victim blaming is what lies at the root of all of our backwards social attitudes about domestic violence, and sadly, it can’t be nipped in the bud with legislation or wiped away with ordinances. It requires outreach, education and a fundamental change in how we talk about domestic violence as a society.

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124 comments

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11:02AM PDT on Mar 9, 2015

outrageous

4:23AM PST on Feb 23, 2015

we need to think more with our heart...

2:35AM PST on Feb 23, 2015

Is this evidence of civilisation?

10:15PM PST on Nov 25, 2013

Yep, we have a messed up system, when it comes to violence against women.

10:15PM PST on Nov 25, 2013

Yep, we have a messed up system, when it comes to violence against women.

10:15PM PST on Nov 25, 2013

Yep, we have a messed up system, when it comes to violence against women.

7:50AM PDT on Oct 9, 2013

Domestic Violence is becoming an epidemic in our society. We have to help make other victims survivors. My two daughters and I were in a very violent, abusive relationship for ten years. We are using our horrible past to help other victims of abuse. My oldest daughter and I have done presentations for law enforcement agencies, courts, domestic violence advocates and other organizations. My youngest daughter, whom is now 13, wrote her first book on child abuse last year. "Diary of Abuse Through A Child's Eyes." I wrote, "Diary of Abuse No Justice." Our website is http://diaryofabuse.weebly.com Please check us out.

2:34PM PDT on Aug 1, 2013

I didn't realize how real victim blaming was until I was the victim, and the police did nothing to help me

8:32AM PDT on Jul 9, 2013

ty

11:33AM PDT on Jun 21, 2013

Because as a species we're idiots, Kayleigh H.

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