I am a huge fan of Catherine Deveny’s work and she and other Australian feminists have helped me enormously personally. I can’t begin to think about the kind of abuse and threats she deals with every day. But…
Today in her answer to the misogynists and abuser-supporters, she echoed an idea that many Australian believe is true, but which causes a lot of extra misery and re-victimisation of women survivors and resisters:
“Most don’t even consider it violence as they are chosen as partners by bullies and creeps precisely because these women are naive, vulnerable, easy to manipulate and have been convinced abuse is their fault.”
This is completely wrong, and validates the idea (deeply embedded in the Australian psyche) that there is a class of woman who is so stupid as to not know they are being abused and who got into a relationship with an abuser because they are “naive, vulnerable and easy to manipulate”. I realise she used the words, ‘chosen by bullies and creeps’, but she still managed to make it their fault.
Research has looked over and over again at the victims of domestic violence to find out what they did as a group to cause them to become victims. They keep coming up with not much, except perhaps greater amounts of empathy. What research HAS been able to come up with is a clear picture of attitudes, behaviours and other factors that increase the likelihood of a man becoming an abuser. In other words, as a group, the abusers are much more homogenous than the victims. But because patriarchy isn’t that interested in taking this up in mainstream media, we’re stuck in a kind of grey area of victim blame.
More later – for the misogynists. Have sources for the above, from people in universities, guys… Can’t feed children and rant at the same time, although am trying hard. Once again, thank you in general, Catherine.