Shifting blame trivializes the act: Why lack of sympathy is equivalent to a lack of knowledge

Faith Karwacki

Perspectives Editor


“I have no sympathy for someone who is in an abusive relationship. They should have known better.”

This is one of the most common statements I have heard people say in regards to someone who has survived abuse or is a victim of domestic violence.

Statements like that are as violent as the act itself because it shifts the focus from the abuser to the victim, blaming them for the situation.

Those who are ignorant of how abusive relationships work are quick to assume that someone in a  violent relationship is perfectly aware of what is going on, yet chooses to remain silent.

Abuse is not so black and white.

It is a strongly vague and manipulative power structure set by the abuser who continually whittles down the sanity of their victim through insecurity and loneliness, causing the victim to question the validity of their own thought process.

An abuser does not always begin an abusive relationship with physical violence.

It usually starts with slightly degrading comments.

Comments that can easily be shrugged off as “harmless”.

These comments gradually become more violent to the mind of the victim, but the victim continues to shrug them off because that change has been so imperceptible.

The physical violence begins much in the same way.

An overly aggressive grasp of someone’s hand works its way up the arm, to the shoulders, and around the neck.

The abuser’s power lies in control.

There are people in every education and socioeconomic status that have endured the horrors of domestic violence.

A doctor is as susceptible as an entry-level worker.

An adult who was raised by loving parents is as subject as an adult who had inattentive parents.

Intelligence and education have nothing to do with it.

So instead of asking why the victim stayed in the relationship, begin asking why the abuser behaved that way.

Ask why being a victim of domestic violence is considered by some insurance companies to be a pre-existing condition when one in four women are a victim of domestic violence and two out of five victims of domestic violence are men.

Ask yourself if you can choose to remain without sympathy for a staggering amount of victims, some of whom you share common interests with.

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