Aubrie Mindock

Professional skier, author of "When I Saw Heaven" and "Back Up On Skis," Olympic hopeful

Victim Blaming

It was Eric who came to my home with a gun. It was him who had blood on his mind that night. Eric was the one who pulled the trigger, no one else. I did not choose to end Eric's life. He made that decision all on his own. It was Eric who committed suicide on my doorstep. 

It was not my fault that Eric was the way he was. I never asked for Eric to cuss me out and run after me that night after the football game. I never asked Eric to get trashed, ever. Eric got drunk on his own. He ran after me and cussed me out all on his own. Eric's actions are his responsibility. He was the one who decided to be abusive, not me. 

I did not break up with Eric because of his looks or his weight. I did not leave him because of not being attracted to him physically. It wasn't Eric's physical appearance that scared me away from him. Not at all was it in anyway his looks that made me run. 

I ran because Eric was dangerous. He was scary, abusive and a threat and that is the sole reason I ran. He drank way too much, did not know when to put the bottle down and was extremely nasty, controlling and scary when he drank. I ran to save my life. 

Today I am free from a violent, dangerous and deadly man but I am not free from society's judgements. I have had people verbally assault me over Eric's suicide. I've been blamed, criticized and called every name you can possibly call a person all because Eric is dead. I have also been threatened by those who knew both me and Eric. 

When someone takes their life people have questions. We want answers as to why. Often, we want to point fingers and play the blame game. However, we never want to point fingers where the pointing belongs, on the one who did the final act. All of the blame goes on the one who committed suicide. It is their fault they took their life. Sure, there are reasons why he or she decided to end their life but the ones who knew and loved the suicidal person are never to blame. 

I did not ask Eric to hurt himself. I never wanted Eric to die. I did not ask Eric to come to my home with a gun in an attempted murder/suicide. I asked for none of it. I was completely caught off guard and helpless that September night. There was nothing I could do to stop the violence from happening. If I could have stopped it, had I known, I would have tried to save Eric. There was literally nothing I could do to prevent Eric from bringing the gun to my home and shooting himself. I was powerless. 

Society needs to stop victim blaming. We need to stop blaming the survivors of suicide. It is never okay to tell a loved one or a friend or anyone who lost someone they knew to suicide that they should have done more. Never, should a survivor or one left behind be asked,"Why didn't you know? Weren't there signs?" 

The ones left behind, no matter what the relationship to the suicidal person was, are hurting. It does not matter how the suicide happened or what the relationship between the suicidal person and the survivors involved were. When someone kills himself or herself it hurts. It is extremely painful, no matter the circumstances. Blaming those left behind will make their pain way worse. 

The pain is already unimaginable so blaming them and telling them they should have done something different will hurt the survivors and loved ones to the core. I cannot describe the pain one feels after a suicide. All I can say is never put the blame on the family, friends, or whoever knew the suicidal person. It is not their fault that the person is dead. 

Upon Eric's death I was told that had I not left Eric or broken up with him then he would still be alive today. People have literally said to me that I should have tried harder to love him and that it is my fault that he killed himself because I was too scared to love the man. 

I will tell you that love is not control. If someone is threatening you, telling you how to live your life, hindering you, threatening your family, stealing your ID and your wallet so you cannot leave the home, stealing your car so you have no means of transportation, then that is abuse. No one has the right to cuss you out, run at you or put their hands on you. You do not deserve to live your life in fear.

Even if you are not in a domestic violence relationship and you are dating a man or a woman who you do not feel a connection with, you have every right to leave. Breaking up with someone you are dating is not illegal or wrong. People break up every single day. Break ups are a part of life. Relationships end and it is normal.

What is not normal however, is to commit suicide over love. It is never normal for anyone to bring a gun to their ex's home. Violence is never, ever normal or okay and if someone runs from an abusive relationship or a deadly relationship then it is never okay to judge the victim. Playing the blame game will not solve any problems. Blaming the victim will only make the problem worse. 

There are many women (and men) who leave their abusers, get to safety but go back when they are blamed for their abusers actions. Blaming the victim often leads to the victim blaming herself or himself and leads to the victim going back into the line of fire. Often times the victim goes back for the last time and they are killed. 

As a society we need to put the blame where it belongs, the abuser. The blame never, ever should be put on the victim. No one asks to be abused, stalked, harassed or murdered. No one asks for people to hurt them. It is crucial for the safety of the victim and his or her family to be taken seriously and for 100% of the blame to be put on the abuser. 

If you lost someone to suicide I am so sorry and I feel your pain. Of course my loss is different. I lost a stalker, someone who tried to kill me. I lost an abusive Ex boyfriend but that does not make the pain any easier. It is still a loss. 

If you lost a child, a father, mother, sister or brother or best friend to suicide I am so sorry. I know that it is a very difficult time for you and I want you to know that you are not at fault for the loss of your loved one or friend. It is not your fault and there is nothing that you could have done to save the life. 

If you are a survivor of suicide I hope that you will one day find peace and be able to cope with what has happened. You are not alone and once again, it was not your fault. You are not to blame, ever, no matter what you said or did before the suicide. Be strong and courageous and carry on. It is not easy to move on after trauma but it is doable.