May 5, 2021

Victim Blaming Post #2: Reactive Abuse or Mutual Abuse

Reactive Abuse

"Reactive Abuse" or "Mutual Abuse" isnt a real thing. Someone always has more power and control. The reason victims do things is completely different than why perpetrators do things. By saying the victim and the perpetrator are BOTH abusers, it's not only inaccurate, it's incredibly victim blaming and not helpful for the victim OR the perpetrator. Plus, we already have a correct name for this situation, it's called self defense. Why would we ever call something abuse when it isn't abuse? 

Think of it this way, if someone broke into your house and held you down and tried to kill you with a knife, and in your terrified state you managed to break free enough to grab a bat from under your bed and hit the attacker in the head, and that blow to the head lead to the attacker dying....... would we call YOU a murderer? 

No. We call that self defense. But WHY don't we call it murder? I mean, you killed someone, it has so many "similarities" to murder because someone dies in the end, right? And I'm sure you were feeling angry, right!?!? Isn't it the same thing? NOPE. They are completely two different things because one was in a position of power and one was not, and the INTENT behind them are completely different. The attacker was intentionally trying to murder you, whereas you were just wanting to protect your life. We can not, and should not, ever compare the two. (Yes, I know someone can unintentionally kill a person and it's called 3rd degree manslaughter, but that's due to negligence, accident, etc and isn't relevant in this analogy. Just wanted to clarify for all the people who have a technical brain like me.) 

Furthermore, how do you think it would make you feel for someone (law, peers, family, therapists) to say that what you did was "Reactive Murder" or "Mutual murder"? How do you think those words would affect the way people view you, or how you even view yourself? Not to mention how it could put a victim in more danger BY their abuser, ie "Well, see? You are abusive too". 

It's easy to assume words don't have that much of an impact, but they do. Even switching a few words around has a huge impact on how people blame a victim, without realizing it. For example, they once did a study where they had participants read "Lisa was approached by Dan at a party. Dan gave Lisa a drink spiked with Rohypnol. Later that night, Lisa was assaulted by Dan.” and participants had to basically rate the level of which they felt it was Lisa's fault. The researchers then switched the perpetrator to be the subject in the sentence, making it "Dan approached Lisa.. " instead of "Lisa was approached by Dan..", and they discovered people were less likely to subconsciously blame the victim when the perpetrator was the subject. WORDS MATTER. 

So why, oh why, does society still compare the two situations when it comes to abuse? There is always someone with more control, and THAT is the abuser. Victims deserve better than to be compared with their abusers. 

Reactive abuse

This better explains the power differential :

This article talks about the study I mentioned:

2nd photo thanks to End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin:

Other Articles :

Victim Blaming Post #1 Codependency

Victim Blaming Post #2: Reactive Abuse or Mutual Abuse

Victim Blaming Post #3 The Drama Triangle (Karpman Triangle)

Victim Blaming Post #4 Stockholm Syndrome

Victim Blaming Post #5 "Learned Helplessness"

Victim Blaming Post #6 Trauma Bonded

Victim Blaming Post #7 : Prodependency

Victim Blaming Post #8: Ignoring Red Flags