Part V: Sick Community Syndrome Conclusion
Why do Abuse Victims Stay in a Sick Community?
We often find it too easy to put ourselves in the place of the victims and imagine caving in at the first signs of abuse, rather than examining the situation and how it came about, that is, what we have done to enable the situation and to empower the abusers.
A Sick Community Must First Confront The Problem Before You Can Expect Healing To Occur.
But breaking the vicious cycle of abuse is not simply a matter of crying victim, pointing fingers, and complaining. Restoring health to the community and eliminating abusers and their abuse is a process, just like any healing program. As in any disease situation, you must first confront the problem before you can expect healing to occur.
For most people who may never have been in the situation, it may be very difficult to understand how a community becomes a sick-community, how abusers become abusers, how victims of the abuse became victims, and why the entire situation of sick-community, abusers and abuse, and victims seem to coexist and to continue. But there are many complex reasons for such regrettably common situations. Not the least are the powerful cultural, societal, emotional and psychological forces, and the economic and financial factors that keep the victim tied to the abusers and to the sick community. The specific reasons for these situations vary from one community, from one abuser, from one victim to the next, and they usually involve a number of unique factors.
Knowing these factors does not justify the situation nor does it exonerate the community as a whole, the abusers, or the victims from their responsibilities to correct the situation and to restore health to the community.
Some psychological/emotional reasons for staying in a sick community:
- The victim’s belief that the abuser will change because of their remorse and promises to stop abusing
- The victim’s fear of the abuser who threatens expressly or implicitly to retaliate if the victim reports the abuse anyone
- The lack of community support for the victim
- The lack of community opposition to the abuse
- The communal guilt and shame over the failure of the community
- The victim’s attachment to the sick-community
- the victim’s fear of making major life changes
- The victim’s feeling of responsibility for the abuse
- The victim’s feeling of helplessness, hopelessness and isolation
- The victim’s belief that they may be the only one who can help the community with its problems
Some situational reasons for staying in a sick community:
- The victim’s financial and economic dependence on the abuser or the sick community
- The victim’s fear of physical or psychological harm to themselves or their children
- The victim’s concern that their children may suffer psychological, emotional, or social damage due to the loss of established relationships, even if the community is abusive
- The victim’s lack of social or job skills
- The victim’s fear of social isolation because the abusive community is the victim’s only support system
- A lack of information regarding human and civil rights
- The victim’s belief that law enforcement is indifferent to or complicit in the abuse
- Distrust of the courts and administration of justice
- Distrust of the political environment and government
- Misinformation, disinformation, misinformation received through print and other media
- Family and historical ties to an area or community
- Local corruption obstructs and intimidates basic freedoms