Why the Family Keeps Silent
The interdependence of members of a family is profound. Changing the cycle of abuse
means a disruption of a pattern of behavior the family is accustomed to, and carries
some real costs. It takes courage to make the change. Once you understand some of
the factors that contribute to the family keeping silent about abuse, you will be
stronger as an empathic ally and more able to make your contribution to an entire
family’s well being.
- Misunderstanding of Muslim Family Law The victim's family may misunderstand
the rights and responsibilities of various family members under Islamic law.
- Family pride The family may worry about harming their reputation.
One woman's divorce may harm the marriage prospects of her younger sisters.
- Divorce is Unacceptable Negative stigma attached to divorce plays
a huge role in downplaying domestic violence.
- Financial challenge The family's financial situation often determines
their reaction to domestic violence. They may keep quiet to avoid the cost of taking
care of a victim and her children.
- Love The family may have truly deep feelings for the abuser, regardless
of the abuse, and is unwilling to confront them.
- Promises, promises Abusers may promise that the behavior will never
- It's what they know They may believe abuse is normal; that it happens
in every family.
- They don't know what to do The family may not know what they should
do to help the victim.
- Fear Immigrants may be scared of the American social services
system and fear severe consequences for their loved ones.
- False Hopes The family may believe that the abuser can change over
time, or that the victim is strong enough to figure it out on her own.