Monday, May 17, 2010

A Quick Note (UPDATED: Now It's Not So Short)

I'm watching the "very special domestic violence" episode of Army Wives right now. It's 37 minutes through and I'm pretty sure that this is going to focus and end on the usual cliches.

UPDATE: OK, like I thought, the whole focus of the show was on how a woman "should be big and brave enough to leave." Yeah, we've heard that message for decades; that's not the problem. The problem is what happens in the aftermath.

Where's the mention of the fact that when a woman leaves, she's at her most vulnerable? Not only because her abuser is at his most volatile due to anger and desperation, but because all the people and places she's been told are there for her really aren't.

Where's the look at what she'll go through in terms of dealing with police, lawyers, court -- even her family? It's not as easy as making the decision. You'll need plenty of strength and help navigating the systems involved. Getting protection isn't easy; getting papers enforced is about as realistic as catching a unicorn. Let alone getting any sort of justice.

Why avoid the facts that her life as she knows it, as she's planned it, as she's been living it, all changes? She, though the victim, will lose her home, her security, her rights, her freedom, her choices. And she will be judged, more harshly than her abuser.

Where's the look at the reality of help with healing? As a victim of domestic violence, she may not even have insurance to cover her immediate medical needs -- and if she has insurance, she may in fact lose it due to being a victim of domestic violence.

What about the longterm healing needs? Mental health insurance and treatment in this country are poor in general; with victim recovery, it's deplorable.

Multiply all this for every child she has.

Instead of focusing solely on the "you need to leave" part of the conversation, take a hard look at the continued victimization and see how & where everyone one in society has some work to do.

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