The Mystery of the Misunderstood Survivor
FAQ #3: Why don't domestic violence survivors leave? or Why didn't the rape survivor fight/scream for help?
Leaving, calling the police, fighting back are all things that any survivor has considered. And may have tried. Or didn't. The question of "why didn't they..." is an understandable one; we want people to get out of bad situations but we are not trained how to respond. So we victim-blame or re-traumatize with an interrogation. What is important to remember is that we don't have the right to ask anything of a survivor in the first place. It doesn't matter what the survivor did or did not do. Instead of assuming dimness of a survivor or othering her, we need to put ourselves in her shoes.
That's easier said than done.
But what if we could understand a survivor's motives? Would we be more sympathetic? Would we be more inclined to help or at least, to not judge?
Let's find out.
Thanks for reading.
* Don't worry if you aren't sure if your experience qualifies, there are definitions in the very beginning of the survey to help.