Trigger warning: References to domestic violence and rape.
When the victim of a crime doesn't fit all our social standards of "innocence," their perceived "flaws" become enough to justify their suffering.
They made a mistake, that's why they are the victim. The crime becomes the victim's fault, and it absolves the abuser of guilt.
The problem with the myth of a perfect victim is that it's just that — a myth. And as soon as we start looking to the victim for an explanation, we take our focus off the perpetrator.
When it comes to domestic violence, often people look to the person being abused and say "Well, she must have made him angry" or "Oh, he just has a temper. She knows that."
We need to get rid of the idea of a "perfect victim." When women who don't fit the description of a "perfect victim" come forward, they are less likely to be believed and less likely to receive the support they need.
These two posters from Women's Aid UK highlight the specific plight of disabled women who are abused by their partners.
Their abusers are aware of this and sometimes even use it to their advantage.
We have to put an end to this way of thinking. It's just not fair.
If you are in the United States, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE.
If you are in Australia, the National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line is available 24/7 at 1-800-RESPECT.
For a global list of hotlines, visit the International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies.
Click here to find a domestic violence shelter near you.