Wow I can just hear some people yelling at me for daring to say that.
But it's true.
Let me tell you a story.
When I was eleven I was playing 'soft toys' with a friend who was I think eight. One of the toys we were using belonged to my little brother. It was this stuffed jaguar our dad won at the show the year before and my little brother was just in love with it. Still is for that matter. He called it Cheetah.
My little brother was four years old. There's a seven year age gap between us. His mother is my stepmother who has always treated myself and my older brother like shit. I guess I was jealous of my baby bro. He was treated better than I was, got everything he asked for, and wasn't smacked nearly as often as I was, even though he was naughtier than myself.
That day, he walked into our shared room, and zeroed in on Cheetah. Instantly he wanted his toy. Because I was playing with it. I told him no. I told him to go away. I told him to leave me alone. He wouldn't.
I still don't know what happened. What came over me. But the next thing I can remember is leaning over my four year old little brother, on his bed, his little hands protecting his head and tears streaming down his cheeks. It took me a moment after he ran off to realise that I'd been hitting him.
When I was eleven years old. I beat the shit out of my four year old brother. Over a toy.
The realisation was like an explosion in my mind. I began to cry, to sob. I had scared myself. I didn't know what had happened, how I got onto the bed, or how I'd lost control so badly that I had beat my little brother. The only person in the world that means it when he says he loves me. I can only sort of remember what happened after. My stepmother appeared, demanding to know what happened. I could only sit there and stare at her. I wondered how badly she would hurt me this time. I knew that this time I deserved it.
I'm not sure if my friend remembers that day. I know my little brother doesn't. He's eleven now. I doubt he would ever lay a hand on our little sister like I did to him.
The point of this story is to let you know something. I, myself, can be considered abusive. It's been seven years since that day. I still frighten myself sometimes. I struggle to allow myself to become angry in the fears that I will explode again like I did that day. It has happened again. Last year I lost it, if my friend had been any closer to me, it wouldn't have been my script I'd thrown, but my fist. And that scares the fuck out of me.
My grandparents have begun talking to me about needing to keep an eye out when it comes to relationships. They're worried I'll end up in a bad situation with a partner who is manipulating me, or putting their hands on me. They're worried I'll get hurt.
I don't have the heart to tell them they should be worrying about my partner. Not me.
I have a feeling that saying how the abuser isn't at fault is going to whip people up into a frenzy demanding to know if I then blame the victim.
The answer to that is no. Of course I don't blame the victim.
If somebody ever justifies hitting you or abusing you in anyway by saying that you drove them to that, then it is very much their own fault. The victim is never to blame. I have not once blamed my little brother for my loss of control. I did blame my friend for a while but I had to accept that it wasn't her fault at all. But neither was it mine.
Losing control was not my fault. But neither was it theirs.
So if the victim isn't to blame. And in some cases the abuser themself isn't to blame. Who is?
That is a question I cannot answer. Because there is no answer that applies to everybody.
For myself, I was raised with abuse. The day I hit my brother my stepmother dragged me down the hall by my hair and proceeded to beat me. My father simply raised his paper higher so he couldn't see. She would hit me for other reasons too. Most I never knew. Once was simply because I witnessed her attacking my older brother just as I stepped out of the bathroom after a shower. I couldn't get away with whatever it was my brother had done to trigger her. I don't know if that's the reason my body switches to attack when I get pissed off enough. But it's the best explanation I can give.
For my stepmother herself, I have no idea. She has a good relationship with her parents. Has never let on to anything disturbing happen in her life. Considering she never hit my father to my knowledge, and only myself and my older brother, I am led to believe that in her case, becoming an abuser was her own fault. Yes I could be biased, having been her victim, but that's what I believe.
A friend of mine has a father who became abusive after he suffered brain damage in a car crash. I can only blame him to the extent that he chose to get in that car drunk.
I don't have any other real life examples. But you can see what I mean I hope.
You can't blame any victim of abuse. Even if they stay with their attacker. I was always piss scared of the thought of leaving my stepmother. She never left any bruises, but the emotional scaring was enough to keep me there. I can't explain it fully. Some explanations are that a victim may be afraid their attacker will coem after them. I think I was afraid of change. My stepmother was the only real constant in my life, even with her almost bipolar mood shifts.
But sometimes you can't blame the abuser either.
If somebody is charged with domestic violence, yes, punish them. I won't ask for any punishment to be lessened. Put them behind bars for however long. Whatever. But get them help too. Make sure they are made to attend weekly therapy sessions, to help mend what it is that has them turning violent.
I am seeing a councellor myself, for separate reasons perhaps, but I am still finding the benefits of it in quite a number of areas in my life.
What I want to say, in summary, is this.
Sometimes, just sometimes, while you are tending to the victim, spare a glance to the abuser. Get them just as much help as you would get the victim. Because while the victim only aims to recover, the abuser needs to get better. You want to stop them from doing this to anyone else, not allow them to harbour whatever they may be feeling in a prison cell. Only to release it again once they're free.
That's all. Have a good day everyone, and stay safe.