These past two weeks we touched on some sensitive topics. This past week we embarked
on domestic violence. Although a pretty quiet class one could tell many had much on their minds. Domestic violence is not a rare issue many people have come in contact with some form of domestic violence, whether it be experiencing it first hand or being the one to helplessly watch.
One of the readings we has assigned detailed the difference between what the legal system labels a good victim and a bad victim of domestic violence.
A good victim would be classified as one who believes in the legal system; the victim file charges and see them through. Typically this means the victim shows up to restraining order hearings and testifies in court against their abuser.
On the flip side, the bad victim is the one who starts a case against their abuser and then drops the case. The bad victim does not show up to the restraining order hearings. Legal officials find these victims to be a nuisance. This type of victim stays with their abuser, for whatever reasons.
First I would like to take a step back and just take in these types of victim that the legal system has labeled as bad or good. To me there is no such thing as a bad victim or a good one; there is only a victim.
I believe the legal system fails to take into account the reasoning behind why some of these “bad victims” fall into the category they have created.
Having experienced domestic violence from a bystander’s stance; the reasons the legal system has provided for why they belong into the categories they have created is ridiculous.
It is not like a victim of domestic violence can simply walk out of an abusive relationship. Much less go through the court system. It is hard. From my experience, a victim of domestic violence not only faces physical abuse but also comes in contact with emotional and psychological abuse. Words like “if you leave I will kill your family” or “nobody wants you, you’re a piece of shit” has the potential to make the victim fear seeking help. Only reason I know this is because my aunt was in this situation. For many years she had to endure this man not because she wanted to, but because she felt in her mind that she had to. Her abuser would act out but them dramatically change and promised never to hurt her again – but this never held any truth.
Sadly, there exists many victims of domestic violence. Although my personal story is hard to recount, giving only brief details, there are others that are worse. However, they are all victims. If the victim decides to go through the legal system and sees I though then great. On the other hand, if a victim does not go through legal system, or starts it but does not finish it, should not be labeled a bad victim. It is just ridiculous to label a victim of domestic violence as bad, even if it is only used in the legal system.
I present this short video to illustrate how leaving a domestic violent relationship can be more easily said than done.