The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that a shocking twenty people are abused by intimate partners every twenty minutes. Domestic violence is more common than the average person suspects, but it’s easy to see why it seems so rare — very few victims are willing to speak out. This unfortunate silence is exacerbated by society’s view of domestic violence as a taboo subject. Sadly, the fewer people speak out, the less seriously others will take this issue, making it that much more difficult for victims to find the support they so desperately need.
Those who have not faced domestic violence often fail to understand why victims keep quiet. The following are just a few of the many reason victims struggle to speak out:
Fear of Retaliation
Victims of domestic violence — both female and male — feel as though their situation will only get worse if they seek help. These relationships typically involve controlling, domineering partners who have made it quite clear that they’ll push back if the victim speaks out. Fearful of retaliation, victims often come to believe that it’s better to keep the abuse a secret.
Abusive spouses can be shockingly manipulative. Some actually lead victims to think that they are to blame for their suffering. Victims who blame themselves are not likely to seek help.
Lack of Support From Family and Friends
Friends and family members who are aware of domestic violence incidents often hesitate to report them to the police, as they don’t want to feel like they are meddling in the affairs of others. In other cases, friends and family members might actually blame the victim for the ongoing relationship problems.
Stereotypes and Public Shame
Males are frequently the victims of abuse, but because they’ve been conditioned to think of abuse as a problem that only strikes women, they’re hesitant to make their problems known. They fear that, if others find out, they will be subject to public humiliation.
The worst thing you can do after suffering domestic violence is keep quiet. The sooner you speak out, the sooner you can achieve justice — and relief from your current mistreatment. Talk to Jason Brown with the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. today to learn more.