Why Domestic Violence and Rape Allies should Listen More and Talk LESS!
It’s Domestic Violence Awareness month and I really wanna talk about how to treat victims, survivors, and about triggers overall.
The other day, I shared Damon’s VSB post on nate parker and mentioned that I would not be supporting The Birth of a Nation, which released yesterday. There were various responses that came from that, including being questioned on my stance in a way that, I felt was condescending and triggering. I know that nate’s case is rape and not DV but they go hand in hand for me so I talk about them together most of the time.
Anyway….I had gotten so triggered that I basically stopped commenting on the post and whatever comments I did make were moreso to the fact of how amazed I am with apologists and I refused to answer questions because I was triggered, which means that I had become bothered with flashbacks and the whole nine.
Note: I am both a survivor of domestic violence and rape and I talk about these things often in an effort to help to teach allies of the disparities and myths with regards to victimhood on the part of the psyche of a victim in both scenarios and to help current victims and survivors in education efforts on resources to help them leave, gain viable support, and to understand signs that can help them in future relationships.
When a survivor says she is being triggered, here is how you should respond:
1. Be empathetic. Apologize for triggering them and ask them how you could better word your language in a way that does not come off harmful and condescending.
2. DO NOT argue with them and say “I did not trigger you” or “I did not come off condescending to you” or anything related to that. How do you tell someone how you affected THEM?! How does that even work?
3. If you are being accused of being abusive in your language to a survivor, do NOT start mentioning all of the training you’ve done on the part of victims or whatever else. Because base point: No one cares. Your training is moot, null, and void if a VICTIM or SURVIVOR is TELLING you “AYE! YOU ARE HURTING ME!”
4. STOP acting as though you know what it’s like if you have never been a victim before. Many of us know other rape survivors or current DV victims but knowing these people does not mean a THING. It does not mean that you actually know what its like for them/us. It’s really like me knowing tons of recovering alcoholics and then when talking to someone who just finished AA and if I offend them, instead of apologizing and showing empathy, I say, “well I know so many alcoholics myself, so I get it”. No. I don’t get it. I wont get it.
There is a psychology within victims that needs to be understood. Understanding and showing empathy doesn’t mean that you KNOW it though. You just understand.
And furthermore………pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasePLEASE stop saying that because one person may be a survivor of rape and/or domestic violence that they have a bias in relation to other cases. We are survivors but if there is one thing that is for certain –though it is POSSIBLE to be biased, it is not automatic….It does not mean that we will ALWAYS be biased in every single case. That’s just poppycock.
HOWEVER. What is true though?
What IS absolutely true of survivors when we read such cases as derrick rose, bill cosby, or nate parker? We can UNDERSTAND things a bit more clearer than someone who literally has no intimate relation to this type of relationship, rape, or abuse.
I am more than a survivor though. I am a person that went to counseling and mentored other victims of DV here in IL and volunteered in safe houses in Everett, WA. So what this means is………I ABSOLUTELY KNOW what to look for. I know the psychosis of a survivor AND a victim. I know how easy it is to say you’d leave but then the actual work of leaving is way more mental and carries a bunch of different factors that include the abuser as well, I understand inebriated rape (because it happened to me) and I understand losing trust and blaming yourself because truth be told I shouldn’t have drank that much in the first place (but I still shouldn’t have been raped – that is not and never will be my fault). I understand not remembering ANYTHING AT ALL but then learning of what happened and feeling total shame, guilt, and experiencing the very real issues of not being able to trust that person that I have always trusted for so long, ever again. I understand how many victims keep quiet because they are in fear of being blamed for one reason or another or just because they don’t want to relive that shit because it is painful as hell.
And I get it because it was me.
People that have never endured any of this yet speak so much about it absolutely annoy me. Every time. All in all, what I want allies to do more than ANYTHING is………….Listen More. Talk Less.
That is all.