We're hearing a lot about domestic violence lately, but that wouldn't happen to anyone you know … right?
You'd be surprised. Batterers range from highly-educated professionals to the unemployed; from the wealthy to the poor … and within all races. So says Patti Seger, Executive Director, Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence . After the fact, people say they never would have suspected that someone they knew could have been victimized, or that a friend could have been the abuser.
"A victim of domestic violence could be literally your mother, your sister, your friend, your neighbor, your aunt, your cousin, your daughter; and the typical abuser could be your brother, your father, your cousin, your neighbor, your coworker."
Seger says the reality is that some batterers have a very different public front than how they act at home.
"Victims universally speak about the fact that to the external world their partner – their abusive partner – the person who they're terrified of, intimidated by and harmed by in their home privately often has an extraordinarily charming and delightful public front."
It's that fake, but charming, public personality that contributes to the madness for the victim, because, Seger says, nobody believes that person is a victim of domestic violence. It's a huge risk for the victim to come forward.
"When a victim comes forward, that victim's really taking a risk by identifying a person who the rest of the community may believe is a fine upstanding wonderful human being."
Seger says many victims face rejection from family and friends, because they simply don't believe such a charming fellow can be abusive. Because of this, those victims become very isolated and have very limited options.
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