Now that the sun is finally out, it’s time to break those winter ruts and head outside with a good read. But before you reach for the latest Twilight book we at FVPC would like to challenge you to read a book that will not only entertain you but will educate you about the realities behind domestic violence as well. We recommend “Not to People Like Us” by Susan Weitzman. After years of research into violence among upper class women, Weitzman published “Not to People Like Us” in order to break the myth that domestic violence is a problem pertaining only to the lower socio-economic classes.
In her book, Weitzman discusses the characteristics of what she labels “upscale violence” as well as the problems particular to that specific area of abuse. Weitzman acknowledges the statistically small number of upscale violence cases but points to various explanations for that phenomenon rather than dismissing its importance. For example, one reason for the low number may be that women in higher socio-economic classes may have the resources to seek help from private therapists or may already know what resources are available to them. If that was the case they would not necessarily feel driven to seek help from a domestic violence agency such as the Family Violence Prevention Center and would go unreported and potentially unnoticed. We should not let the relatively low number of reports on domestic violence in wealthier families fool us into thinking that it doesn’t happen. It has been our experience at FVPC that domestic violence does not discriminate on any grounds, including wealth.
Another interesting contention of Weitzman’s is also regarding domestic violence victims: that wealth may actually work against a victim instead of aiding in his/her removal from the situation. Weitzman uses the example of domestic violence agencies failing to affirm the needs and/or concerns of wealthy victims. Some domestic violence agency workers are simply unprepared to handle such cases and cannot understand some of their special needs. For some victims, the potential loss of money and status may be enough to cause them to question whether they should leave their abusers. This is not something that should be written off as trivial for it can be considered abuse manifested through financial control and the threat of social isolation.
Here at FVPC we believe a core component of raising community awareness lies in breaking down the myths about domestic violence. The myth that domestic abuse can only happen to poor people is one such myth. Consider reading “Not to People Like Us” to gain a greater understanding of upscale violence and to learn yet another way that domestic violence affects everyone in our community. And as always, we are here to listen to your concerns and experiences as well as to help you in any way possible. Our doors and phone lines are open to you regardless of your socioeconomic status. Please call us at 919-929-7122.