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Prosecuting The Victim

Today I had a conversation about the rape scene in “For Colored Girls” which led to a discussion about my experience with being attacked by a man. I was not raped but I was attacked. I have no problem talking about what happened or the fact that I took him back after the assault – that’s a different discussion- my issue is I became the person being questioned.

Why didn’t you hit him back?

Why didn’t you run?

Why didn’t you call the police?

Why didn’t you scream?

Why did you take him back?

And then they tell me what THEY would’ve done, when the truth is NO ONE knows what they would do until it happens.

For me, in that moment, I understood why women don’t fight back, scream, call the police, or do anything. When a person is filled with enough rage to attack you they become unstoppable! If you don’t have the same rage when fighting back you will certainly lose. In these cases, when attacked by someone you love, you wonder why and you become more concerned with consoling them than saving yourself.

Sounds crazy but it’s true.

You take him back because a) you get used to it b) you’re self- esteem is ruined c) it’s safer.

Allow me to explain:

A)   You’re used to it: This is the way its been & the attacker not being around is out of your routine which can throw you off completely. I’m not saying it makes sense, I’m just saying its routine- fight …make-up… everything is good for a few then it happens again. We all know how good make-up sex can be so don’t act like … nevermind… The apology phase is also usually the nicest your attacker will EVER be. Your wish is their command… it’s pure bliss and you get stuck in this pattern & continue to repeat it.


B)   You’re self- esteem is ruined: Yeah, we all heard the Kat Williams joke about self- esteem however, we all know or should know that what people think of us can affect how we feel about ourselves.  Think about the kid that kills himself because he’s sick of being bullied for being gay or tall or fat or skinny. If someone attacks you, repeatedly, they’re usually telling you that “you aint shit” or “you deserve this” if not with words WITH THEIR FISTS. After a while, you’ll start to wonder & maybe even believe you DO deserve to be berated, even physically injured. 


C)   It’s safer: It probably isn’t, in my case I was thousands of miles way from family & friends who could protect me or fight him. When I put him out, I became scared to leave the house or stay in it at the same time. He threatened to have “people” at my house, mess with my car, etc. It was frightening because I felt like I wouldn’t know where it was coming from if “it” came at all. That fear is paralyzing. So my thinking became if he was in my presence, I could see his jaw tense up, hear the change in his voice, and- in a weird way- prepare myself for the fight.

Again, I’m not saying that any of these are reasons to let someone beat on you (male or female), I’m just saying these are things that go through an attacked person’s head.

Back to the discussion:

So I’m being quizzed on my reaction to the violence & his reasons. REALLY?! I don’t have a clue as to why that crazy ass muhfukka snapped on me. You need to ask him, I did- he said he was drunk and blacked out – YEEEAAAAHHH RIGHT!!

I digress…

When a person tells you they are or were being abused launching into an interrogation is NOT what you do. THEY ARE THE VICTIM! Don’t prosecute them for being attacked, its like attacking them all over again. Offer or get them help, if it’s a person who has remained in an abusive situation, instead of asking why, offer to introduce them to a new mate, tell them about new apartments in town, a program that helps battered people, or call the police for them. 


An abused person feels bad enough without you questioning their actions. It just feels like another attack. Hug them, hold them, HELP them but don’t prosecute them. 


If you're reading this and you are in an abusive situation- GET OUT! Run... pack your shit & your kids & go ... WHERE EVER!
It won't get better & there is nothing YOU can do to change your abuser. Don't lose your life trying to fix theirs. 


  1. Really good post Cristal. Actually glad I read it because it gave me a better understanding/perspective of the thought process of women who have been victimized. And you're right, people's first reaction is to blame the victim. I AM GUILTY of doing so. I can only speak for myself but I guess it's almost like second nature to try to figure out what/how/who went wrong to cause someone to react the way they do. When in actuality it may not always be a cause/effect situation. Like you stated and its very true, no one truly knows how they'd react to a situation until they experience it first hand.

    In terms of abuse I've never experienced that and I'm thankful. I also feel blessed that I've always had positive male figures in my life.

    I'm glad you touched on this subject b/c I've learned from it & I'm taking away a new outlook on how I decide to react in the future. I'll listen, offer encouragement and even help if I can. What I won't do is pass judgement or point fingers at the victim, anymore. I'm woman enough to own up to when I'm wrong. I hope other's who read this can do the same.

    Great post, I'm inspired by your courageousness.

  2. Thanks for reading & understanding. I am humbled

  3. Wow very powerful! I am one of those women who say I would never stay in an abusive relationship, and I truly believe that. But as you said you never know what you're going to do until (God forbid) you're in one. I have been in mentally abusive relationships, which is equally hurtful, with family members and although I knew it wasn't wise or healthy I continued to be there for them through the mistreatment. Sometimes love is a weight that's hard to bear but even harder to drop so that's why I understand where you're coming from with staying. I think it takes us getting to the point of loving ourselves more than loving the other person and only then will we be able to walk away and not look back.

  4. Thanks Tee & For the record, I took him back but put his demonic ass out 5 weeks later. I believe in 2nd chances but I'm no dummy!! :-D

  5. Wow this is powerful!! It felt as if you were speaking about me. I stayed in a BAD situation for 6 long years and no one ever knew what I was going through but once everything came to light I was told how stupid I was for staying so long. And the comments you made about self esteem are so true here I am 2 years later still trying to find "ME" again!! Again thank you for this post.

  6. No problem Queen! I know EXACTLY what you're saying about finding yourself again. I looked in the mirror a month after I finally ended that relationship & realized the sparkle... the life... I used to have in my eyes was dulled & I was sooooo scared it wouldn't return- It did tho & yours will too. Thank you for your comment.

  7. That rape scene had me thinking. Ladies: just because he is "nice" does not mean he can come to our spot. That chick in the movie was so into herself and she didnt get to know the guy. She was constantly talking about herself and didn't pay attention to anything about him. Been there. "For Colored Girls" was a great movie, although I'd never heard about the book until the movie surfaced. You just never know what a person is struggling with. Bottom line: I've done so many things that I said I would never do. Life will make you eat your words.


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