Domestic abuse is a growing cancer of our society, affecting a range of victims extending from women, men and even children. Even though those trapped in an abusive relationship are receiving more help and support, it still seems as if people fall into such relationships due to an understandable unawareness of classic abusive or otherwise damaging behaviour and the stigma that the only abuse is a punch or a kick. Even worse, victim blaming is still a common thread with (a disgusting breed of) people blaming the victims for their own abuse because they haven’t taken the care in understanding the situation in which victims have found themselves in through no fault of their own.
Education is the key to preventing all kinds of matters facing our society today, and domestic violence is no exception.
Most abusive behaviours or signs of an abuser aren’t as apparent as physical or sexual assault. Such behaviours ranging from intense jealousy, controlling behaviour, isolation of the victim, unrealistic expectations of the victim, threats of violence, hypersensitivity and never takes responsibility for emotions/actions (is always someone else’s fault). This is just a short, vague list of the many behaviours of an abuser and with the increase of advertisements displaying such behaviour, people and even victims are more aware of the dangers and effects of such conduct.
Non-victim ignorance is also harmful, in most cases, just as harmful as the abuse itself. Victim blaming can also disregard the courage the victim turned survivor has summoned to remove themselves from the situation. Survivors can also help educate potential victims on the signs of an abuser can help prevent any further damage. This victim-blaming shows not only a complete lack of compassion but a lack of understanding as the reason most victims tend to overlook signs of abuse is due to constant brainwashing. This brainwashing is caused by isolation, occasional kind and romantic gestures and of course, placing the blame of the abuse on the victim. This causes the victim to create excuses for their abuser since they are under the belief that their abuser’s behaviour is their fault and no one else other than the abuser could love them because of this.
There is also the issue of such abusive behaviour and tolerance spreading. It’s no secret that children in abusive households are at risk of becoming either an abuser themselves or a victim once again later in life. They don’t know any better because there is usually no contrast to tell them that what their abuser is doing to them is wrong. CHILDREN WILL FOLLOW YOUR EXAMPLE, NOT YOUR ADVICE. They will learn how to treat others from you, so treat other people (and yourself) with respect, and hopefully, we will begin to dent the cycle of abuse in families.
From my own mild experience with domestic abuse, education was a much-needed wakeup call that helped get my now loving family and myself out of the toxic home environment. Helping victims turn into strong survivors should be a top priority in preventing domestic abuse, with education and encouragement as a primary tool.