I have touched on my work with domestic violence (DV) victims once before, but I believe my wealth of knowledge on this matter has since developed upon returning to the UK and practicing as a DV advocate in courts in England and Wales. My work has opened my eyes to skewed statistics, victim psychology and the role of the third party. This may prompt a #WhyIStayed or #WhyILeft debate, but I feel its important to openly discuss such issues on modern platforms such as blogs, to create an open environment where the victim no longer feels stigmatised for undergoing distress, but rather, empowered to make the right decision for themselves.
Shirt : ZARA (Mens) | Jeans : Dorothy Perkins | Heels : Topshop
Now, I'm sure you've all familiarised yourselves with the Ray Rice assault case. If you haven't, a brief summary is Mr Rice was caught dragging his then-fiancee (now wife...but we'll get there in a minute) from the elevator, after battering her to the point where she could no longer autonomously command the use of her God-given legs. What caused much uproar were the events that followed i.e. Janay choosing to stay and MARRY the man who physically assaulted her. As a result, Mr Rice evaded criminal charges and instead, was suspended by the NFL for two games (which has now been increased to an indefinite suspension, following the public outrage).
NGOs brainstorming means/services for DV prevention & assistance
Exhibit at the 'End Sexual Violence in Conflict'
Working with victims, it has become evident to me that there are many factors at play in one's decision to seek help or remain in a tumultuous relationship. The age-old Oprah-infused adage of "if a man hits you once, he will hit you again" is worth considering. But this is not the blanket answer to everyone's circumstance. As a Christian, I understand that vengeance is the Lord's, and it is not my place to judge but merely assist. However, that does not mean we must stand by and condone the actions of an abuser, or desensitise the reality of many victims who are lost on what resolution to seek. Courts and injunctions aren't for everybody, but neither is the decision to raise a home with someone who has defiled you physically, mentally, emotionally or sexually.
A few weeks ago, a well-known Youtuber shared her plight with DV, and with that came questions and accusations. What we need to understand is that we are merely observers. Women should be empowered to be party to relationships based on dignity, respect and love. I have come to understand that most abusers manipulate the victim to justify their actions; i.e. "I only hit you to teach you a lesson" or "Its because you did X, that pushed me to do Y". Fear and blame culture is one of the many reasons why victims choose to stay, and shaking our heads at them further stigmatises their rationale and capacity to make a well-informed decision. In so doing, we are stripping the victim of the confidence to seek the help they deserve, or voicing their concerns. Janay Rice has been called everything from a gold-digger to a bad mother, and yet, the abuser (Ray Rice) is walking scotch-free from the moral jury as just being an angry man...ofcourse, that makes perfect sense *sigh*
"It takes an average of seven times for a victim to leave an abusive relationship" National Domestic Abuse Hotline