Believe The Rest

Less than 10%...

of domestic violence is against cishet white women by male abusers

Do you support...

the other other 90% of victims?

Disabled People Experience at least 3x more domestic violence

More than 90% of people with developmental disabilities will experience sexual abuse in their lives; 49% will experience this abuse at least ten times. Our society also does not tend to believe or support disabled people because we treat them as though their words are unreliable even when their disability doesn't affect their brain in any way. Disabled people are also subjected to higher rates of other violence as well due to their dehumanization and the perception that they need a more violent communication in order to understand. In general, domestic violence occurs at a rate more than 3x the rate of non-disabled people. Why don't these stories get much air? citation

Black people experience at least 3x more domestic violence

But, when they go to report it, the victim is less likely to be believed and is likely to be charged with a crime. Especially for black men with white women abusers, the system is more likely to punish them for being a victim than help them. Many black victims are sent to jail. Even when they aren't, the very real fear keeps most from being able to safely seek help from the racist systems. citation

It's even worse for Native People

From issues around jurisdiction, lack of compassion by the broader public, poverty, abuse-tourism (where people visit reservation with the intention of committing acts of domestic violence), human trafficking and more severe abuse, Native people experience a situation that provides nearly no options. The federal government refuses to prosecute cases where a person comes to a reservation and commits an act of violence and then leaves. Because most native people were killed in the largest genocide in human history, they don't have the numbers of other communities to gather attention and remain largely forgotten. citation

The LGBTQIA+ Community is often completely erased

In addition to hate crimes, higher poverty rates, permitted discrimination, people commit more acts of domestic violence against this community. Often police, courts, shelters and domestic violence agencies either refuse or are inadequately trained to help victims in this community. Many members of this community can't stay with family because they were disowned for their identity. With a lack of shelters that include this community, they often end up homeless while trying to protect themselves from an abuser, so many have no choice but to stay or return to abusive households. Depending on the identity, the rate of violence is different, but all of these communities experience much higher rates of violence than others. citation

Overweight or other people who are not "pretty"

Our society cares more when a person in considered attractive under society's definition. We also tend to not believe sexual assault victims when they aren't "attractive" because people think, why would anyone want to assault this person? That belief represents a fundamental misunderstanding of sexual violence. And to the former, a person who is "pretty" is not more important. This pretty privilege inequity is real though. Many people want to earn favors from "desirable" people (whether that is wealth, attractiveness, whatever) and so they support them more quickly because they have more to gain. There's no compelling evidence that attractive people are targeted as a higher rate, yet in the stories promoted, most are about "pretty" victims. I guess if you're going to be a victim, let's hope you're pretty.

Non-female victims get no support

In terms of gender, non-binary and trans people experience the highest rates of violence, but are not supported as much as cis women. Because of silencing of male victims, we don't know the exact rates, but studies have confirmed that no less than 37% of domestic violence is against males. Unfortunately for them, they have been taught from a young age that they can't be victims and if they do report it, they are more likely to be ignored or labeled the problem, particularly if they are abused by a woman. It is more likely that a male abuser reporting abuse against a woman will be jailed than the abuser. When women do abuse, it is not taken seriously. We see cases where women sexually assault multiple 4-5 year olds and get 30 days in jail or where a female teacher assaults boys and it's made a joke. The double standard sends a clear message to male victims: you don't matter. Even though men may experience a slightly lower rate of violence, when they do, they can expect no support, no shelters, and a system more interested in excusing a woman than protecting a male victim from violence.

People with Mental Health Diagnosis

In an ironic and awful twist, many victims of violence develop PTSD, CPTSD or other mental health issues as a result of experiencing violence. Some of the people are diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, Addiction or other disorders that would resolve themselves with proper trauma counseling. For example, trauma from domestic violence often causes Dissociation, which in an extreme form can appear to a mental health professional (who doesn't perform the appropriate trauma screening) as Schizoaffective Disorder. Then, an abuser who may very well have caused the Dissociation is able to discredit the victim and say the victim is simply imagining things, is crazy, etc. This will allow them to maintain control, prevent the victim from escaping and lead to compounding additional stresses for the victim.

The Elderly are ignored

Our culture often throws away the oldest generation, but violence in nursing homes is a real problem. Many people are biased to think that sexual violence doesn't happen against older people because they don't understand sexual violence and the motivators, but the rates are higher, not lower. Additionally, there is often considerable financial, emotional and other forms of abuse. People are far more interested in a story about a 20-something year old, "pretty" woman than an old person suffering. Because so many people don't want to be "burdened" by the oldest generation, we collectively treat this population as "out of sight, out of mind" and they have few people to turn to. In many cases, the abuse is occurring by their caretakers and the institution has every incentive to sweep it under the rug.

Victims of Women aren't supported

People have a bias that women are less aggressive. This bias is particularly strong with regards to cis white women who are often regarded as not only unable to hurt others, but also of utmost importance to protect even from minor pain. In many situations, a white woman's tears for being confronted for violence they have committed result in such a strong reaction that people will be angry at the victim who merely committed the "crime" of saying stop hurting me. There exists a history we like to forget that was most obvious during slavery where white women would sexually assault enslaved people and then claim they were the ones raped. Given the psychology, it is incredibly unlikely that many of these were cases where the white woman was the victim. How many black men who were victims of slavery and sexual assault died by lynching? This practice continues today with many white women threatening to call the police on their black partners as a method of control. While we often don't hear these stories because the victims are scared (and for good reason) of an abusive white woman, many black men have experiences where white woman say to them, "I'll accuse you of rape if you don't have sex with me", or do whatever else it is she happens to want from him.

Also, contrary to stereotypes, there is considerable research confirming that men and women are equally aggressive (though their preferred tools are different), but our culture's biases override this research and cause us to continue to allow women to abuse because we follow "believe women" not "believe survivors". Why is it that if men and women are equally prone to aggression that we almost never hear a story of an abusive woman and when we do, it isn't taken as seriously? When the disparity in rates of victimization is so much higher based on race, class, gender identity, disability status, age and countless other identities, why do we say "believe women" and not call it out for being exclusionary? It would be more accurate to say believe people of color, but of course, that too would be exclusionary, though it would at least be better and more accurate. "Believe women" erases all non-hetero people and any victims of women. A white woman of privilege can abuse for years and then simply claim to be the victim and people will start believing her and saying anyone who doesn't is simply not believing her because she isn't a "perfect victim". The same standard is rarely applied for any other identity group or her victim even by people talking about the importance of believing imperfect victims. Being caught abusing a person is less likely to hurt ones believably than being LGBTQIA+, disabled, non-white, male, young, old, overweight or pretty much anything else.

The undocumented community

Many predators have learned to target the undocumented community because they are able to make them afraid to report any violence out of fear of being deported. In fact, this fear is often justified because the legal rights and our society's interest in the welfare of undocumented human beings is minimal. With little to no systems of support, many of these victims choose what they believe to be the less awful option and just continue to endure the violence. Many of these victims come from countries that became unsafe as a result of the imperialistic actions of the US and yet, we are unwilling to accept responsibility for our violence when they arrive. It is hard to get accurate statistics, but most estimates show that more than half of the undocumented community experiences ongoing domestic violence.

Children are taught to be quiet

Do you ever wonder why so many people were abused as children and so rarely we actually hear these stories? In this case, it isn't so much as issue of care as an issue that we don't believe children. More importantly, we teach children that their feelings and beliefs are less reliable than that of adults. Some adults will tell their children that if anything happens, to let them know, but that is usually a mixed message because children are also told to listen to adults. This socialized power imbalance makes children vulnerable to abusive adults. All an abusive adult has to do is just tell them that they need to be quiet about it or that it is their fault, etc. For most children, since they've been told both implicitly and explicitly that adults are superior in judgement, they will find it difficult to speak up against an adult.

Trafficking of Black Children

While this is a subset of the others on here, it deserves its own special note due to the shear scale at which it is happening. Black children routines go "missing" and are classified as run-aways so that no investigation is done. Many of them are being trafficked. More perversely, certain corrupt local police departments are involved in this operation because it is highly lucrative. There have been many instances where police reports were found to be falsified in the disappearance of black and brown children. Some municipalities have extremely high rates of "missing" children, but the public doesn't seem to care. The issue is so severe that the FBI put together a task force because there was an awareness that the local police were often part of these operations. When a white child goes missing, it often makes national news and considerable resources are expended, but our society seems perfectly willing to allow massive scale trafficking operations of children of color.

People in poverty or unhoused

Do you ever worry about walking around alone at night? Well, imagine if you had to sleep alone, outside, every night. Intuitively, you know that you'd be subjected to much higher rates of violence. Predators know that these people are especially vulnerable and unlikely to get any support from police. Assaulting a person who is unhoused is nearly a completely safe crime. Accordingly, the rates of violence against the unhoused are much higher and the support is much lower. While somewhat less severe, poverty also makes a person an easier target and accordingly attracts predators. When a person doesn't have money, they are less likely to be able to get the resources they need to escape violence. In many situations, it is literally impossible financially for a person to leave an abusive household because the people living there cannot afford to live apart. Yet, we don't seem to care about these stories nearly as much as person who is a millionaire and could have ten extra apartments just for fun. One will make the news for weeks. The other will be unlikely to even be reported. And, similar to how black people are treated, often if incidents are reported, police take violence against poor people less seriously and are more likely to simply put a person in jail, quite possibly the victim. For many, even jailing the abuser doesn't even improve the situation for the victim because of financial stresses and the need for child support. If you're willing to donate to the next rich, pretty white woman seeking justice, maybe ask yourself if you could truly save a person's life if you deployed that money to a victim living in poverty. And, maybe share the story of the unhoused person next time.

Bullying and Shaming are Abuse

Bullying is intentional harm designed to destroy a person's mental health. Contrary to what is often pushed, the brain takes much longer to heal than typical physical injuries, if it is even ever able to fully heal. Even in the cases of physical violence, if those were part of abuse, it is the psychological damage that will take the longest to heal. Hurtful words cause unpreventable damage; we evolved to have shame to protect us from being exiled; early humans needed to "punish themselves" until those around them felt they were sufficiently punished. That instinct is now part of how our brain works and no amount of positive thinking, mindfulness or other techniques prevent the damage that psychological abuse causes. Lots of research has confirmed this. When people suggest that a person needs to toughen up, etc, they are simply blaming the human being who is a victim of violence. The real problem is not the victim, but that bullying is an intentionally violent act that we minimize and excuse. Bullying has taken many lives and made many others live in psychological slavery. Until we start taking bullying at least as seriously as physical violence, we will continue to support an abusive, narcissistic, victim blaming culture. Ask yourself, would you rather have PTSD or a black eye?

And the Rest not named above...

There are so many other groups who are ignored that I haven't included here. It is not my intent to leave any out and would welcome any additions. Please feel free to email me with any additions, corrections, etc. This movement is not about prioritizing victims over other victims; it is about making sure that all victims are supported. My heart goes out to even the most privileged victim of domestic violence. It isn't an easy path.

That said, I want to make sure that we don't ignore any victims and pointing out the disparity in how we report, believe and support seemed the best way to do that. I am firmly opposed to any movement that attempts to shame victims for getting support. I believe that it is with our solidarity, sharing of stories and realization that there is plenty of room for all of our humanity that we will best build a better and safer world.

I want to hear from you all!

Whether it is your story, some feedback, support, criticism, or anything else, I want to hear from you. We will begin featuring stories that people want to tell soon and we will plan to launch an online campaign at that time as well. In the meantime, send me an email at to communicate or fill out the form below.