When people are legitimate victims of domestic violence, why do they keep quiet?

The following is based on my friend’s Facebook status update that was posted on August 27, 2017. Her words are published under my name to protect her professional identity.


violence anniversary (3 year cake)As Facebook loves to remind me, this is the third anniversary of the day my husband pushed me down the basement stairs, disabling me for life. In the past, I’ve used this anniversary to celebrate how far I’ve come and to thank friends for their help.

This year, I’d like to use it to clear my conscience. I want to apologize to my friends, ask your forgiveness, and help you understand why I lied to you all in August 2014. My first post and pictures from hospital shocked many of you. There were more than 100 comments as you all poured out your concern, love, and offers of help. I felt so bad fobbing you all off with a feeble, Um … I fell” story. So why did I do it?


Protective instincts 

My first thought as I lay at the bottom of the stairs holding my head was, ‘Oh my God, there’s no way he can handle the consequences of what he’s just done!’ My immediate instinct was to protect him. After 17 years of protecting someone from the stress of bills, lawyers, mortgages, bank statements, kids, and their mother, it is no surprise that the habit was so ingrained. I knew he’d never be able to take being put in a squad car, taken downtown overnight, and appearing in court the next day. So I lied to protect my husband.

My second thought was for my youngest son. He was, and is, a stellar young man. He is a man of great character, loved by all, and excelling in school and life. He was at a water park that day with his church youth group. I knew that if he came home and found his mum in hospital and his dad in jail, it could throw him off the rails completely, both educationally and emotionally. I’ve seen it happen. So I lied to protect my son.

My third thought was for my in-laws. A very strict, religious couple, they frowned upon divorce and sin. Yet, when I married their son, they accepted me and my three kids without question. They treated all of my children equally and exactly the same as their other, blood-related grandchildren. I knew what a huge shock it would be to them. So I lied to protect those good people.


3 flowers for violence anniversaryA conversation about domestic abuse

In my defense, I didn’t keep the lies going for long and started telling family, friends, and pastors within a week. Many of the people close to me said they’d didn’t believe that I fell.

It took me a few months longer to go to the police because by then I was protecting myself. I knew I could lose my spousal support and my benefits if I reported him. I dreaded the possibility of losing family and friends because they blamed me or disagreed with me for speaking up. The first still may happen, the second already has.

So friends, please accept my apology. I hate liars and it did not sit well with me to be one, especially when you were all shocked and worried for me.

My hope is that if you ever hear someone say, ‘Why did she stay? Why didn’t she tell anyone?’ you’ll be able to tell them that there are many valid reasons why.


The author of this blog post prefers not to have this article linked to her professionally. She does, however, want readers to know she has joined the Board of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime  (CRCVC). 


The views expressed here don’t necessarily reflect the views members of the Zonta eClub of Canada1  or Zonta International. 

Posted in Blog, domestic violence and tagged , .

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