This week has brought many articles about Chrissie Hynde’s statements blaming herself for the rape that occurred when she was 21. “If she was dressed differently…” “If she had not put herself in that position, she would never have been raped.” All of the articles that I have read have been very critical of her statements… and at first blush, I would be as well.
However, if you understand victimization… the “making sense of the situation” is key. Victims of violence need to sometimes believe that they can have some control over the situation to feel empowered… blaming themselves can be, in a warped way, a means to gain control…. but reality is that she did not and cannot control another person’s actions if that person is intent on harm.
Thus, blaming herself is actually a grasp for personal empowerment.
What remains important, is for one to be able to communicate and relate their experience in a clear way. DVSD was approached by a survivor who wanted to start a program to help women do just that… tell their stories. Step by step. By understanding and processing experiences, one can put into words their feelings of loss, fear, success and, ultimately, their need to be empowered.
DVSD was founded because survivors of domestic violence voiced a desire to ask questions of offenders of violence that they knew could never be asked of their own perpetrator. The Words Unspoken project is, once again, listening to the desires of a survivor who knew that she had a story to tell and created a 4 part workshop to help others talk publicly about their experiences. DV thrives in silence. There are so many Words Unspoken…. with proper support, that will change.
Empowerment. It comes in many different forms.