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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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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 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


11:33AM PDT on Jun 21, 2013

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

4:01PM PDT on Jun 20, 2013

oh yes, and the women's shelters - all the ones i spoke too said, sure you can come any time, but you can't bring your cat. Where do you morons think he will retaliate if he thinks i've left? He would instantly go after my cat.
So, how did I get him to leave my house, so I could get out alive? Told him that I was going to stab him in the throat with my big-ass kitchen knife while he was sleeping, this was right after I beat the shit out of him for threatening my cat, he thought I had gone psycho...i moved within days of that (been planning it for weeks)

3:57PM PDT on Jun 20, 2013

yes, victims have no protection legally. I was in an abusive relationship years ago, and when I spoke to an officer about having him removed, he said, "Honestly, we would take him in for a night, but he will be out on bail tomorrow"....yeah, that was comforting!! "Get a restraining order" was my other favourite one. So, is this magic piece of paper going to protect me when he finds out about the restraining order and then shows up to kill or beat me? No-siree, holding up that piece of paper did jack-squat. Thankfully, I was able to get away, with the help of my sister, and we moved most of my stuff in one night with my mini-van, well anything he hadn't taken and sold for drugs.

7:51PM PDT on Jun 18, 2013

None of these attitudes make any sense; why do people think this way?

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