These days there are two kinds of women who are victims. One is the woman who has been sexually molested. The other are women who have been in a battering situation. Both type of woman has been violated. The violation is physical and emotional and mental.
The first time a man hits a woman, she is in shock. She can’t believe this person she loves would have raised his hand and hit her. Hit her so hard her lip bled and her jaw cracked. The pain is excruciating. He is screaming at her and calling her stupid and ugly. Her mind freezes. This is a nightmare. She must be dreaming. She must. This can’t really be happening.
When a woman is a victim or rape or molestation, the man and society often try to tell her it is her own fault. She shouldn’t have been where she was, her skirt was too short, she is a tease. Violence goes with the unwanted sex. Rape is often happening at the same time as she is tied up, he talks trash to her. Rape often includes inanimate objects which can cause severe injuries that will require surgery or leave permanent injuries.
There is no perk to being victimized. None. Some women are stronger than others, they can walk away the first time they are battered. For some, the emotional abuse wrecks their self-confidence and his words begin to play over and over in her head. With time that voice is louder than the voices of the people around her.
A woman who has been raped, she knows what kinds of things that may be said about her. She was asking for it. She really wanted it. In truth, rape has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with power and control. The rapist needs that power and control to perform. Often a rapist will threaten to come back and kill her if she tells anyone. He often has a gun or a knife in his hand. So, many young women hesitate to report the rape.Some can take a month or two to find the courage and conquer the shame before they can report it.
Both types of victims feel shame, guilt and fear. Battered women live with the abuser and fear more abuse. Often, when they leave, it is in the middle of the night and they flee for their lives and the lives of their children. Many have no job skills, or access to credit. This is why battered women’s shelters are so important. It is important that shelter locations remain secret to protect the women and children who are staying there and also to protect the staff. Taxi drivers know where they are.
There is nothing to be gained by being a victim. Helping a woman to listen to her own voice and not the voice of her rapist of batterer is important but it often takes quite a while. There is no status in being raped or beaten. Society needs to remember that these women are someone’s daughters, sisters, cousins, mother and friends.
So please don’t judge. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Take in consideration that she is vulnerable and frightened. Scorn from people in her life will only increase her fear and vulnerability.