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Dana Perino Domestic Violence Victims Comment Drawing Backlash

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Dana Perino, a host on the Fox News show, The Five, is the target of some outrage after her comments about domestic violence victims. During a recent broadcast Perino reportedly stated that victims of domestic violence should “make better decisions,” according to the National Review.

Perino, a former White House press secretary under George W. Bush, made the comments on Wednesday while discussing the murder suicide involving NFL football player Jovan Belcher. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Belcher reportedly shot his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins before taking his own life. The couple left behind a 3-month-old baby girl, Zoey.

The co-hosts of The Five discussed whether or not women should carry guns for safety purposes, Perino reportedly stated:

“I think it [gun carrying] skirts the issue. Women are victims of violence all the time.”

When Greg Gutfeld, Perino’s enigmatic peer on The Five, stated that women should have guns, according to the Huffington Post. Perino then ttered the phrase that is now causing an uproar from some domestic violence workers and survivors. Perino responded to Gutfeld by saying, “Well, or make better decisions.”

The Fox News host typically appears to be a caring and intelligent woman. It is unlikely that her statement was intended to make light of domestic violence or the death of Kasandra Perkins. When a batterer, either male or female, harms their significant other they are committing a crime and should be punished.

It is possible that a strong woman like Perino has a difficult time understanding why some women choose to stay with a man who has either shown signs of a violence streak or has physically hurt them in the past. While serving as a member on a local domestic violence shelter board, I struggled with understanding why some women did not “make better decisions” myself.

Placing yourself or your children in harm’s way is not a wise decision. Summoning the courage to leave a batterer is only half of the battle for domestic violence victims. Last year in rural Ohio a domestic violence victim made national headlines after her body was found stuffed inside a septic tank behind a church. This young mother did everything right, she pulled herself and her children out of a dangerous situation and moved a half-hour away near her parents. She was abducted by her estranged spouse and his family when she left her work one evening. The man had violated a temporary restraining order prior to the kidnapping which led to her death, but was not sent to jail.

There are no simple solutions for domestic violence victims. Making better decisions is a sound starting place, but these women and their children need the weight of the legal system in their corner to secure their protection long-term. That said, Perino’s presumed frustration with women who go back into a violent situation time and again because they believe their abusive significant other has changed, only to be beaten again, is also understandable.

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3 Responses to “Dana Perino Domestic Violence Victims Comment Drawing Backlash”

  1. Jessica Dukes

    It is sad to see these myths perpetuated. But, by a woman, makes it even worse. I want to understand such a position. I can't. It takes an average of 5 times to leave and stay gone. And does this woman understand the brainwashing that goes with abuse? How can she sit there, acting so prim and proper, and pronounce judgements aboutthat which she has not experienced? Had she experienced being abused she would never say something so ignorant.

  2. Ali Wilkin

    1.) Victims of domestic violence are never *ever* responsible for domestic violence.
    2.) It is the *perpetrators* of domestic violence who should take responsibility of making 'better choices'.
    End of.

  3. Adam Zeeblebum

    This article is barely any better Dana Perino's initial remark. It’s just victim-blaming.

    > "It is possible that a strong woman like Perino…" – implying that women who do stay with their abusive partners are weak?

    > “…I struggled with understanding why some women did not “make better decisions” myself.” – You struggled with understanding that while you were ‘serving as a member on a local domestic violence shelter board’, and you actually tried to understand it from the point of view of those women making better decisions?

    > “Placing yourself or your children in harm’s way is not a wise decision.” – which again blames the victim of the abuse for not making the ‘right’ decision.

    > “This young mother did everything right, she pulled herself and her children out of a dangerous situation and moved a half-hour away near her parents.” – Yet again, blaming victims for not doing ‘the right thing’. If what happened to this young mother had happened to someone who hadn’t done ‘everything right’, would you have less sympathy, on the basis that she was partly to blame for the consequences?

    > “Perino’s presumed frustration…is also understandable” – It’s only understandable if you think it is acceptable that she presumed to make judgements about other people’s lives, from the standpoint of not having a clue what she was talking about.

    Journalism needs to be better than this, particularly around this sort of subject. Ladling blame onto the victim of the abuse supports and reinforces abuse culture, by allowing abusers to abdicate some of the responsibility for the consequences of their actions.