October is Domestic Violence Awareness as a 25 year survivor, I feel a need to talk about some of the misconceptions.
The relationship starts with the aggressor placing the future victim on a pedestal and then proceeds to make them better.
Victims are weak minded people. I have a friend that lost her life to domestic violence. She is the best example that I know to dispute this myth. My friend was an NCO in the United States Army. She was one of my mentors teaching me how to advance my military career. It was a time when women had to be better than everyone else to advance she was neither physically nor mentally weak.
She went to a public place to get her husband to sign divorce papers, he shot her, leaving their two children parentless.
This brings another myth: aggressors only abuse in private, while this is generally true; my friend was shot in a public place, knowingly in front of a video camera. After he shot her, he looked directly at the camera and waited for the police to arrive.
Another misconception: aggressors grew up in abusive situations. While there are documented case studies demonstrating this, it is not always true. My friend’s husband was thought to be well-balanced, had a dream childhood. He had two educated parents. He was very well-educated, PhD level educated.
My own experience also contradicts this myth. My ex-husband was educated and grew up in a “Leave-it-to-Beaver” household. His family was well-to-do. For some reason it shocks people to learn that he tried to run me over with a car.
By the way, I am considered to be a strong woman as well as being educated.
There are two thoughts I want to leave with you. One is the aggressor generally isolates their victims by keeping them away from friends and family. Often making them feel as if they are dependant on them. For a time, you are weak-minded but that is not what is generally thought of many survivors or victims.
Domestic violence does not start with physical abuse. It starts with verbal abuse disguised as trying to help.
Statements like you would look better if…
This chicken is great but it would taste better if…
The house looks great but it would be better if …
Nothing is ever perfect and the victim wanting to have the praise that was present when they first started the relationship, strives to do things better. That is how they get you into that weak-minded state. When the first hit occurs, you are shocked and find it easy to believe that it was a mistake. Agree to counseling, expecting change.
By the time they are trying to run you over with a car; that is when you know it is get out of you will be another dead statistic. And yes, for the vicitm to become a survivor, they have to realize the aggressor will never change. It generally takes a big shock or a really caring person to approach them personally. Not condeming or asking the question why don’t you just leave. The compassionate person shows them How they can leave. My friend had another NCO tell them about an Army program that would help them leave. Not only did he tell her, he took her there.
When we advised her to meet him in a public place, we never dreamed he would shot her.