I want to begin this post by stating I get the whole “boys need to be raised to respect women” argument and agree with it 1,000 percent. Let’s get on that mission and decrease our rate of creating abusive, nasty men and bullies.
In the meantime though we have an epidemic of women tolerating abuse. Yes, I said tolerating. It’s happening and the “recovery industry” is doing nothing to empower her to leave immediately, forget about him, stand up for herself and her children, and get out of harm’s way.
The industry says asking her to take personal responsibility for the outcome is “victim-blaming”. Asking her to reflect on what she can control and what she can do to leave her abuser, is not healthy because you’re blaming her.
How? I don’t understand the rationale for the victim-blaming sentiment.
Let’s unpack victim-blaming:
Rape: women who accused someone of rape would have their character, clothes, and past sexual behaviour used against them at trial. In other words, the defense attorney would blame the victim. Pushing the idea she was to blame for being raped. The “she asked for it” defense. Women fought to eliminate victim-blaming from rape trials and that is a good thing.
Partner Abuse: her abuser cheats, hits, belittles, demeans, and beats her. In many cases, her children are watching and absorbing. His actions of abusing her are not her fault ever. Telling her she asked for it, what did you expect his dinner was late, how did you expect to react when you asked for the car, etc – that’s victim blaming! But asking her to leave him is not victim-blaming.
The abuse is the action but her reaction over time is her personal responsibility. How she reacts sets the tone for the relationship. She is teaching him how to treat her. She is teaching him that it’s okay to cheat, beat, blame, put-down, rape, and bully.
When we forego any sense of responsibility for decisions that have consequences and where there ARE options, you cannot cloak such decisions under the umbrella of “victim blaming.” That is enabling, and it’s not reality, and it does no one any favours. Victim blaming is real, but it’s not a blanket protection against bad decisions. Decisions have consequences and women lose custody, their life, etc
In all our relationships, we teach the other person how to treat us. If someone mistreats you and you don’t defend yourself or stand up for yourself or let them know their behaviour is unacceptable, then you have taught them it’s okay to mistreat you. It’s okay to do that.
Again, it is absolutely wrong for anyone to abuse another human. Abuse in any form is the action. And you’re never responsible for the way he treats you. But you are responsible for how you react to it. You can choose to allow those behaviours to continue, or you can choose to respect yourself enough to say, “No more.”
Asking her to leave to protect herself and her children is not victim blaming.
Mislabeling personal responsibility as victim-blaming is straight up dangerous. We’re leaving women and children in vulnerable situations, at risk, and fully engaged in carrying on and repeating the cycle of abuse.
The only way to get inspired action and movement to stop the cycle of abuse, is to ask the tough questions. To move her thoughts in a new powerful self-centred motion.
What would happen if we Empowered Her? If we were courageous enough to ask tough questions like:
- What would you say to your sister or best friend if they were being abused?
- How many more times are you going to make excuses for his behaviour?
- Your children are watching and listening, are you okay with them growing up to be abused or to be abusers?
- If you don’t change your mind, where will you be in 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 5 years from now?
When she is pointing fingers at others and shouting it’s not my fault, he started it, he shouldn’t have done that, she is fully a victim.
The moment she says I’m fully responsible for my life, my happiness, and my choices, she is a survivor ready to leave, and stay away.
Recovery, healing, and treatment should be empowering and that includes recognition of her role and responsibility to change the pattern of abuse and stop the cycle of abuse.
She may not have started it, but when empowered and encouraged, she will stop it.
If you’re ready to step into your courage and become Empowered Her, free from toxic love, book an entirely free and super clarifying VIP Call with me.