June 16, 2014

WTF Moment: Please stop blaming victims of domestic violence.

This past Saturday, a murder-suicide rocked our capital's downtown. Since we are, once again, in the top 10 for the Violence Policy Center's list of states with the most women killed by men, the unsurprising fact was that it was a young woman who was murdered by a young man who then killed himself.

It's a goddamn tragedy.

And yet, it still generates a comment like this:


Yes, because bright girls don't make mistakes and your partner would never hide scary aspects of his personality from you.

For reference, this story is about 23 year old Aja Robinson. You can read the details at the link.

I wish I could say this was the only example...or even that it was the worst, but it wasn't. Plenty of folks are willing to lay some of the blame on Aja.

If only she'd been more aware:


If only women wouldn't put up with violence:


And the worst, in my opinion--lots of women put up with violence:


Yes, that last one was written by a man. How did you know? There was actually a pretty even split, though--the first and last are by men, the middle two by women. These were not the only examples, either.

People, let me lay this out for you as clearly as I can.

Women wind up in violent situations for many, many reasons. They stay in them for many, many reasons. I could speculate, and if I did, it would probably land on a mixture of emotional and financial in this case. But the truth is, none of us know.

For god's sake, please consider the following responses should you find yourself needing to comment on this or a similar story:

  • I am so sorry for your loss.
  • What a loss. Such a tragedy.
  • This is awful. So sorry.
  • Gone too soon.
  • A life cut far too short.
  • How sad.
  • How awful.
  • How terrible.
  • How horrible.
  • How terrifying.
  • This is why we need to fight violence against women.
  • Our state has been too long in the top ten states for women killed by men.
  • What a shame.
  • Praying and/or thinking of her family.
  • What a senseless act of violence.
  • I can't imagine what her family is going through.
  • So cruel and senseless.
  • So cruel and awful.
  • So cruel and terrifying.
  • Just awful all around.
  • So awful I can't even wrap my mind around it.
  • This epidemic of violence has to end.
  • What a beautiful young woman. So sad.
And that's just a short list of appropriate responses. Feel free to ad lib.

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