“Domestic violence happens in low-income families, or people with substance abuse problems, or only to people who grew up in a violent family.”
The truth is our middle and upper income families may be suffering as well. Their secrets are better kept, and the shame and embarrassment is so great it silences victims from coming forward.
If the general belief is that this thing only happens to poor victims, minority people, substance abusers, how can a wealthier person admit this is happening in their own families, or those they know? The stakes are high and the risks are great for people with public profiles and economic resources.
“It couldn’t be that bad, if the couple stays together or the victims returns to the abusive partner. In short, you often hear, “Why does she stay with him?”
Why doesn’t the abused person act, report the abuse, leave the abusive situation? Fear, fear of the unknown, fear of retribution, all kinds of fear will immobilize an abused person.
Leaving is statistically the time of greatest danger. The threats abused persons have heard from abusers are enough to keep them uncertain. Will they be in worse danger? Will they be hurt again – or more. Will they lose their children? Will they be penniless, homeless, and dependent on the charity or good will of others?
Will they be SHAMED? The SHAME of admitting we are not the capable, talented people who we want people to think we are. The SHAME of not being happy in our own families and homes.
“Why do you only help women?”
We at the Domestic Violence Action Center do take male clients. We help anyone and everyone that have been assessed as the victim in an intimate partner relationship. Although there are certainly cases of men abused by women and men abused by other men, the overwhelming majority of cases are of women abused by the men.