The State needs to stop blaming victims of domestic violence

‘How to have a stress free Xmas including sharing the workload’

‘Keep calm at Christmas’

‘Video – Anger Management’

I didn’t need to read too much of this piece before I decided to blog about it. I have since read the rest. Take a look at those statements above. They’re from an advice piece from the NHS regarding domestic violence during the holidays. What do they suggest to you? Who is the NHS speaking to? Perpetrators or victims?

“The family is stuck in the house, the kids are overexcited there’s the tree to decorate, presents to buy and wrap, and food to cook.

It’s no wonder the festive feeling can fizzle out.”

Domestic violence charities experience a surge in women seeking advice during all of the holidays. Unfortunately this is sadly true of Christmas day, not because everyone’s overly emotional and booze makes us say and do things we might otherwise not but because we are forced to be together with people we might otherwise avoid. It isn’t enough to have the dinner on the table at the right time, now the king of the castle can breathe down your neck as he picks apart your way of mashing the spuds.

“If you’ve had any family rows this year, resolve them.”

So if the perpetrator has hurt you in recent months and you want to do anything for a violence free Christmas, apologise to the perpetrator and say that you will be better, cos domestic abuse is a two way street right and if you tell someone you want them to stop hitting you or calling you names, they’re just going to listen to you. If you don’t get the result you’re after, you’re obviously not trying hard enough.

“Plan the day and share out the jobs that need to be done.” Oh right, it’s all about communicating how you want the perpetrator to do their fair share and then everything will be alright? They’ve not cooked a single tea this year on account of it being women’s work but I’m sure they’ll happily muck in for a Turkey dinner feeding 20.

“Discuss your plans with others, including any children who will be there, so you can listen to their ideas and wishes for the day.”

I’m sorry but what do the children have to do with anything? Is this in case they become overexcited and provoke them into a violent frenzy? I know, why not coach them before the big day on the things they can and can’t do? Have them treading round on eggshells to ensure he doesn’t blow a gasket.

“Have a timetable for Christmas day so that you don’t sit around for hours doing nothing all day. Try to make sure you won’t be spending a lot of time with a difficult person or someone you don’t get along with.”

So that’s why he’s been violent in the past, the devil makes work for idle hands. If there was only an activity he was concentrating on at the time, he wouldn’t have attempted to thrash, strangle, throw you to the ground. The difficult person; who are they speaking to here? Domestic abusers are not just difficult people, they are controlling and Christmas provides the perfect opportunity to micro manage their victims. The whole article is one victim blaming statement after the next as though victims a) have the power to prevent what is happening with them with some careful planning and b) perpetrators of abuse are just individuals reacting to not having their needs met.

“Don’t drink too much”

I’ve never drank too much and beaten someone up. Also, watching contact sports does not bring out a violent streak in me either. These scenarios we are often given to explain away patriarchal violence perpetrated on self-identifying women and non-binary folks when the answer is a little more obvious. Abusive men abuse, abusive men also like to make excuses for their behaviour. A patriarchal society maintains this kind of behaviour by allowing these sorts of ideas to exist by perpetuating them in public health advice, for example. The struggle goes on.

“Children can get overexcited”

Again, what is your problem with the children? They are loud, they are routinely overexcited, it’s bloody Christmas so this will amplify these emotions but does a child ever deserve to get beaten for being a child? Or does the child deserve to be blamed for the actions of an abusive person? Nobody makes a perpetrator do anything. They do because they want to assert their dominance and they bloody well can. You can’t make an abuser stop, you can’t change them. The onus is on the victim to keep the perpetrator happy so what the NHS have in fact done with this piece is victimised those already vulnerable even further.

When our sisters who are dreading this coming festive period ring women’s services to leave their abusive situations, we won’t ask why because to do so is asking for justification of an abuser’s actions. There is no justification, ever. There is only patriarchy and power and control.

Note: Anyone with an ounce of an education around power and control dynamics and perp rehabilitation would know that anger management is something you absolutely do not advise because of the opportunity it provides for honing power and control. They just get better at it.

*The piece has been amended now


  1. “I’ve never drank too much and beaten someone up. Also, watching contact sports does not bring out a violent streak in me either.” Nor have I.

    We need to focus on stopping, counseling, and convicting the violent perps, not teaching victims to somehow “diffuse” domestic abuse.


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