What did you do to him?

We are all blamed, most especially with the questions. Victim-blaming from some, misguided curiosity from others. Questions like what did she do to him?, what did she do to provoke him?, and what did she do to deserve it? cut to the core of a domestic violence victim. We are conditioned to believe everything is our fault and “what did you do to him?” only confirms it.

No one ever deserves it. No one has violence coming to them, save maybe the fool who begs his buddy to punch him to prove how strong he is. But he’s a fool. Victims of domestic violence are not fools, nor do they ask to be hit.

Asking the victim “what did you do to him?” isn’t going to help you feel better about her getting hit.

“What did you do to him?” makes the victim feel accused of asking for it, deserving it, provoking it, and is not likely to get you the whole story. It is the story you want, after all. “What happened?” is simple enough, not accusatory, and is more likely to get you the whole story.



  1. Do we ask Breast cancer patients what they did to cause the pain? Abusers are a disease in our society. I wish people could see that.

  2. I was amazed by the number of people that don’t ask. Anything. There I was with a black eye, swollen face, and bruises on my arm and people acted like I looked the same as I always did. Of course, I was so shamed that I wasn’t going to bring it up. Now I wish that I had…

    1. What is it about seeing bruises, about knowing it’s DV, and people freeze, clam up, and refuse to help?

speak loudly, donkeys are sleeping

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