Tag Archives: domestic violence

A Few Clarifications

There appears to be some confusion about the intent of my recent post, Victims Wanted, and I would like to try and clarify a few things.

First I would like to call your attention to the opening paragraph:

[…] in pondering the unrelenting claim by Feministe bloggers and readers that asking why victims and survivors of domestic violence stay is always victim-blaming, a few other why? questions occurred to me and I had to get them out of my head and on the page:

You see, Victims Wanted is really just a brainstorm that I wrote in a state of bewilderment over the unwillingness of certain feminists to even consider a perspective that doesn’t line up with most everyone else’s. But it seems the questions that were spinning around in my head that day have been mistaken for assertions and/or conclusions. So I would like to try and make a few clarifications:

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No Staying Power

You are all absolutely right. I don’t know what I’ve been thinking. I mean, how could I even consider the slightest possibility that there just might be other, additional ways to help victims cope with the aftermath of their abuse, and all that it entails? I am truly warped.

What kind of horrible monster must I be to publicly bare my soul about this for the very first time? To share the absolute horror of my own abuse, along with the progress I’ve made (and continue to make), hoping that it might, in some small way, help other victims and survivors who are out there wondering if things will ever get better. It’s so incredibly insensitive and unsympathetic for me to remember what that felt like and reach out in understanding to say that it can, in fact, get better, and that despite what anyone else says: it’s not you’re fault; that even when ignorant jerks do blame victims, those idiots’ words don’t have to be part of our reality. How dare I suggest the possibility that anyone would ever overcome that, much less that a dreadful human being such as myself could have anything at all to offer in the way of support along that road? I’ve been such a fool!

I am a horrible, uncaring, evil individual whose sole purpose in all of this was to cause a shit storm and ruthlessly inflict additional pain on wounded people.

If there is a hell, there is a very special place just for me right in its core.

[…] once you get the language wrong, there is no turning back. No explanation … is sufficient […]

You will say what I tell you to say and how I tell you to say it, and if you screw it up, you are no longer worthy of my attention, support, affection or whatever I may have been offering in exchange for your unquestioned compliance to my demands. And once you’ve said it wrong (screwed it up), you can never be fully redeemed. You cannot make amends. It is over for you. You are no longer one of us. You will spend the rest of your life groveling or begone.

Feminist Language


Victims Wanted

I’ll try not to ramble on too much here; I’m really pressed for time. But in pondering the unrelenting claim by Feministe bloggers and readers that asking why victims and survivors of domestic violence stay is always victim-blaming, a few other why? questions occurred to me and I had to get them out of my head and on the page:

Why do they so desperately need victims and survivors to be offended by this question?

I’ve said numerous times over the past week, that I am a survivor of three decades of abuse, and I am not always offended by the question. I don’t believe it’s always intended to blame me. Doesn’t my perspective count for anything? If so, why is everyone frothing at the mouth over it? And if not, why not? Because it doesn’t fit their agenda?

Why do they insist on imposing this doctrine on people? Because where there’s no victim there’s no cause? The more victims they have and the more ways they can invent for us to be re-victimized (and brainwashed into believing it) the more stuff they have to rally around and shout about?

Why is it so difficult for them to think outside the box? Why, as so-called advocates for the abused, can’t they just be happy that I’m OK; that I’ve moved beyond being a victim and encourage other people to do the same? Why do they insist on trying to steal my agency; on telling me what to think, how to feel and how I should express it?

Isn’t there enough actual abuse taking place in the world? Do they really need a Victims Wanted sign in the window?

Now I’m braced for the onslaught. Thinking for one’s self and asking uncomfortable questions which challenge people’s thinking, gets you into very deep, hot water with these people.

Now let the frothing begin.

By the way, here’s another genius who admits to not reading all the material, but yet has the nerve to assume that I have no experience with domestic violence. Par for the course. Like I’ve said before, if it doesn’t line up with their preconceived ideas, it can’t possibly exist.


Time Out

I need a break.

I’ve been reading and writing about domestic violence and the issues surrounding it, every day for nearly a week. It’s been quite an emotional drain. I’m shutting down my laptop for a while and taking a much needed rest. I will be away indefinitely; I have a lot of other stuff I need to be taking care of and I can’t say how long it will take.

Thanks to everyone who has commented here and for the links from various places in the blogosphere. I think it’s vital that we keep talking about it, even when we disagree. Please continue commenting and sharing your thoughts, but keep in mind that I do moderate all comments and will not be around to approve them for a while. I’ll catch up on all that after I’ve had time to clear my head, and take care of other business.

Keep the communication flowing!


Feminist Language

Feminists want to control your language; feminists want to tell you how to talk. – George Carlin

I used to proudly identify as a feminist. But that was back when I still believed that feminism was about women empowering themselves as a category of individuals, and women supporting women. In recent years, I have become somewhat disillusioned. In recent weeks, I’ve had my disillusionment validated in a variety of ways. The most recent, and perhaps final blow came when I read this post and subsequent comments at Feministe.

The discussion is about asking why victims of domestic violence stay – a question which many people seem to think of as victim-blaming/shaming. And to some people, intent, context and/or tone are completely irrelevant. If you say the words, you are blaming the victim and enabling abusers. End of story. Get your language right.

That’s not the worst of it: once you get the language wrong, there is no turning back. No explanation or apology is sufficient, and anyone who attempts to reach out to you in an attempt to create an atmosphere of safety and understanding is quickly bullied into silence with implicit threats of also being branded as an abuser-enabling victim-blamer. And who is willing to pay the eternal price for that?

Well, I guess I am. As a survivor of domestic violence myself, I’m here to say, without apology, that asking why victims of domestic violence stay is not an inherently harmful question. Context, tone and intent are completely relevant, and that doesn’t change just because feminists say so.

A few people have suggested rephrasing the question. I say let those people rephrase it. There’s nothing wrong with that, if it’s what they need to do for themselves. But if they can rephrase my question in a way that they find more appropriate or acceptable, without actually changing the question, then apparently they understood my intent to begin with.

So why all the semantics? As you probably guessed, I have a few thoughts on that as well.

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Coping After Domestic Abuse

I don’t usually talk about this, but I think it’s time.

I survived more than three decades of abuse at the hands of several different abusers.

Warning: The contents of this post may be disturbing and/or triggering to some readers.

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Remembering Jana Mackey

Jana Mackey

“Jana was strongly committed to social justice, and in her memory, we hope to inspire others to share her cause.”
– Gail Agrawal, Law School Dean

LJWorld.com

Jana Mackey, an advocate for victims of domestic violence, was murdered last week. Jana’s ex-boyfriend was arrested as a suspect in the murder and reportedly committed suicide while in police custody.

Mackey was a devoted advocate for women’s rights and worked in the Statehouse as a lobbyist, said Sylvie Rueff, who worked with her in the National Organization for Women, where Mackey was dedicated to reducing violence against women.

[…]

“Advocates are people who are on call 24/7 … they do the front-line work with victims; they’re the ones who have heart. It takes a heart, and it takes being honey on steel, and she had that … she had everything, and above all she had compassion for others,” Russell said.

LJWorld.com

Donations can be sent to:

    Jana Mackey Support for Public Advocacy Fund
    c/o Dean of Law
    Green Hall
    1535 W. 15th St.
    Lawrence, KS 66045

Thanks to Jill at Feministe for the links.