"I Just Work Here" presents: Proof Is In The Denial

If anyone's sitting there wondering why Javiera's continuing to deny anything happened, don't forget about the shame factor.

Most victims of domestic violence suffer from copious amounts of shame after being hurt or attacked. At face value, it's a backwards way of thinking of things: If someone hurts you, most of us think the first thing we'd do is get help. Unfortunately, it's almost never that simple. To begin with, our society still largely considers domestic violence a "private" matter. Oh sure, we've had plenty of sports stars have public domestic disputes, from Ray Rice to Hope Solo to Semyon Varlamov, and while there's been plenty of outrage over these incidents, there hasn't really been a shift in the way we think of domestic violence. We'll sit there and cry out, "Oh wow that's WRONG!" but when confronted with the question, "Well what would you do to stop it or help the victim?" most of us would probably sit there and go "Ummmmmmmmmmmmm....". There's a TON of people out there who are happy to say "Well she needs to leave him!" and inadvertently place the blame on the victim. Our society is at a point where it's happy to lay blame and say what's wrong but not yet at a point where we can say "This is what we need to do now."

Keeping that in mind, our society's stance on domestic violence plays a huge role in the guilt and shame the victims of it feel. We are unfortunately not yet at a point where the average victim of domestic violence, male or female, feels comfortable speaking out about the abuse they've suffered. We've acknowledged "It's wrong", but we haven't yet said "It's wrong AND it's okay for you to get help and we will step in and support you."

Now, if we as a society were to get to that point, would it alleviate some of the shame the victims feel? Maybe yes, maybe no. I personally think it would be a huge first step, but everyone reacts differently to these sorts of things, so I can't make a blanket statement about having found a solution to this aspect of the problem. There are just so many emotions involved in domestic violence (on both sides, mind you), that shame would likely play a part no matter what. It's really hard to admit the person you loved hurt you, not only because of the incredible betrayal, but because deep down you know you chose to be with them in the first place. And it is so, so hard to step back and say "Wait, whoa, I didn't CHOOSE to let him/her hit me." So much guilt, hurt, and shame is at play very few people are able to stop and realize they are in no way responsible for the hurt inflicted on them.