Tuesday, September 9, 2014

#WhyIstayed Trends on Twitter

For the last two or three hours, I've been watching this twitter trend grow as more come forward with their stories.

Both men and women are talking about domestic violence and the various forms of abuse under the hashtag #whyIstayed.  Please read it.  It's as eye opening of a read as the #yesallwomen hashtag that trended awhile back was.

It doesn't end there though.  Articles are showing up that are highlighting exactly how dangerous this is and the sickening societal conscience towards it.

Over on UT San Diego, there's an article that highlights and dives into this notion of how it's only condemned when it's visually in front of us.  It dives into the sports figures as examples, but then also brings up the mainstream media examples like Chris Brown and Rihanna.  It continues on to point out the alarming statistics.  In sadder news, it's so prevalent and media outlets themselves turn such a blind eye, there's even editorials over on Hollywood Life (link not added because I personally refuse to support this outlet in any form whatsoever) pertaining to Chris Brown and Rihanna that are saying they should rekindle their romance.  Stop and think about that for a second.  A tabloid that impressionable people read outright listed reasons and told a domestic abuse survivor to go back to her abuser.  Not a single peep was made about that disgusting editorial across any other news outlet or gossip site.  Only a select few comments on the editorial itself even condemned it.  That's frightening.

This is a very prevalent topic.  Abusers are praised and their crimes are dismissed while the victim is shamed.  The allegations against actor Michael Fassbender were swept under the rug and ignored even though they were never refuted.  The woman he struck only stated she did not want to hinder his career by making these public knowledge.  She never stated they never happened.  Her reasons mirrored much of what many survivors of domestic abuse go through.  They want to rationalize the abuse, claim themselves the reason it happened or want to protect the person that abused them.  They live in shame for what was perpetrated against them.  R. Kelly himself has allegation after allegation thrown at him repeatedly, but they all magically disappear so the abuse continues unhindered and unchallenged.  Even when challenged, the media and societal conscious forgets within a couple of years or less.  Acts of this nature should never be forgotten.

It's even in the pop industry where sexual, emotional, and verbal abuse runs rampant not only in music but in lives that are ruined.  For one, these actions continue on to all those he is with.  The majority of his laundry list of abuse goes unnoticed due to payoffs and blackmail.  Going so far as to blackmail the mother of his own child into keeping silent that he has a kid because being a teen dad would ruin his career.  Essentially disowning and abandoning the child(unless he's supporting the kid in private, though that seems unlikely with the reports having stated she sought no money and how his team blackmailed her into silence with legal action due to their age difference at the time she got pregnant).  Essentially a multi-millionaire deadbeat dad that can take no responsibility for his own actions.  It's carried on into harming others that were once beloved by the media and now have fallen into a cycle of abuse few want to see, instead rationalizing it or claiming she deserves it(no one does!).  Even those she cared about weren't spared from his mockery, and the people that they care about too.  Hidden behind indirect attacks and other kinds of mockery so that no one else would see it except his intended targets to trigger them into reactions.  Dancers of his that were impregnated from his refusal to use condoms his management team blackmailed into tears and verbally assaulted until they agree to abortions.  Lives are tortured and ruined on a regular basis in the media world solely to protect the abusers and shame the victims.  Even when the abuse is apparent in the music by repeatedly calling women derogatory words or other such inflammatory actions and theatrics, it's dismissed with ease called "creative expression" or blamed on "boys will be boys" among other such dismissive attitudes that hinder maturity and real growth from happening.  Some music even going so far as to demean a woman for her first time by calling her a "whore" indirectly by suggesting she lied about that because she was over enthusiastic to experience a natural beautiful part of life.  Yet impressionable mentalities eat this up as okay behavior when it's not.  The signs are all there, but fall on deaf ears that refuse to see it or are blinded by greed like money or popularity determines any form of actual value whatsoever. (News flash: it doesn't.)  Instead they opt to make excuses for it and fall into condoning the behavior.  Even such violent acts as assault with a deadly weapon are dismissed as the fault of the one attacked.  Hidden behind claims of wanting privacy, but then inviting the very thing complained about to private property or making a scene in public places solely for the attention it gives after going on such verbal tirades that show the hypocrisy in plain view.  The cognitive dissonance is so apparent my only reaction is they must be paying shills to support the behavior so that others will too.  People really can't be that gullible can they?  Male ego is a fragile thing, but it should be shattered for the safety of others in the long term.  Using others to try and salvage such pride is wrong.  It further exacerbates the problem because it is still using others as objects.  Instead, owning up to the mistakes and working to make them right would be the path to betterment as opposed to flagrant displays of "look-at-me as I use religion or others to say I'm a good person that's been corrupted by negative energy!" while still doing the knowingly bad and disrespectful acts even after the fact.  A slap on the wrist, and a month later people forget until the next big shiny antic comes up.  No wonder it never changes and he never learns.  People condone it with their looking away and rationalizing such behaviors.

In another area of the pop industry, it has been pointed out that some management teams that promote role model positive images are behind the scenes throwing girls and drugs at essentially what is their charges.   One notable artist outed these actions near his career swan song and it's frightening at how the misogyny and even recklessness was summarily ignored.  (The infamous Jonas brother letter. )  These are children having other children thrown at them to use as sexual toys while underage.  Drugs introduced into their lives because no one is genuinely looking out for their well-being.  These management teams that are supposed to be looking out for them are feeding into the baser needs to create spoiled attitudes and out of control youths.  We're not talking your typical high school rambunctiousness.  This is clear above and beyond what any impressionable youth should be given access to.  Humanity can't truly be that twisted can it?
(*Correction: The version of the letter I had read was altered from the original for headlines.  The point is still true, but I would like to also add and commend Joe Jonas for pointing out he had security show her the door.  There are other instances of these actions though in pop culture history where others have taken advantage of their status without care for the humane and right thing to do as he claims he did.*)

(All above information is readily available and verifiable through various media outlets.  Though much of it is also covered up by payoffs or blackmail.)

Headlines carry on about other perverse and demeaning actions, yet it's all swallowed as "so what" simply because it's not seen first hand or experienced by anyone other than the one abused.

This. Is. Wrong.

Victims are shamed and told to be quiet about it with claims the abuser is more important than they.

This. Is. Wrong.

Abuse is abuse.  Be it emotional, verbal, sexual, or physical.  This abuse runs rampant, and then we wonder why the victims of it are scared to be touched or become hesitant at odd moments.  Abuse isn't love.  Much like rape, it's claiming power over their victim.  Usually by any means they can.  Whether it's money thrown at them to buy them off, threats, or even belittling side commentary to make them feel bad, it's all abuse.  A common theme among abusers is "unconditional love" or other such excuses to hide it like invoking religion to dissuade you from thinking of their transgressions.  Neither of which is an excuse.  In fact, in the christian bible, Jesus himself preached about self-preservation and removing yourself from harm's way for your own safety.  For the Lord so loves you that God wants you to be safe and healthy to continue on your mission in life whatever that may be.  Unconditional love means the abuser wouldn't be abusing you if they truly loved you.  They'd respect you and look out for your safety.  They'd listen to your concerns and not repeat or do the actions that bothered you if they wanted to show you how much you mean to them.  Love isn't jealous.  It's kind, loyal, and supportive.  Someone that loved you would use protection and look out for your safety, not try and talk you into unsafe actions.  Even guide dogs who must follow orders look out for those they guide and know to disobey an order that would give who they are guiding harm.  Dogs and cats often show humanity what true love, compassion, and caring is while humanity rationalizes what it isn't or attempts to hide these actions by any means they can to dissuade you from seeing it.

The list of examples can go on for days, but it's time all of us, all of humanity, stopped perpetuating that it's okay and praising the abusers.  Listen to the victims.  Give them attention, not the abusers.  Stop shaming the victims.  Stop praising the perpetrators of the abuse.

Abuse isn't as simple as physical violence either.  It's in everyday word choices.  Actions that intentionally try to cause reactions to make others jealous, belittling and mocking those that are going through rough moments the abuser themselves have caused or are causing.  Threats tossed blindly at people to force them to stay.  The list goes on and on as you can see with the twitter hashtag if you take the time to read it, and I urge you to read it, it's highly enlightening.

It's a disturbing topic, but it's time for people to listen alongside the shaming & condemning of victims to stop.  It is not their fault they were abused.  This is a topic that may come back up again at a later date.  I hope more come forward with their stories though and don't let it stay hidden no matter who the perpetrator is.  Speak up.  Speak loudly.  Yell if you have to.  Abuse should never be tolerated.  An abuser does not abuse one person, it's repeated behavior and not isolated.  If you don't want to speak up for yourself, do it so that others won't have to experience what you've gone through.  Get loud so that kids involved won't be influenced by it and think this is what love is.  Get loud so that people listen even if they don't want to.  Don't let the status of the person involved make you stay silent and haunt you or further demean you and take away your self-worth.  You are beautiful.  You are human.  You deserve dignity and respect.  You deserve to be heard.  You deserve to be genuinely loved.  The one that's not humane is the one that could abuse another without caring.  There is never an excuse or reason for it other than their own ego to feel powerful over you.  It's an ego trip that should never be tolerated.

Stand up and be heard.  Someone will listen, and it could save lives.
One form of abuse often leads to other forms.  If they are quick to use verbal abuse, physical abuse isn't far behind.  If they are a sexual abuser, they will abuse you in other ways too.  Speak to protect yourself, and it could even save others too from having to go through what you experienced.  It will save lives.  Your own and more.  The toxic behavior of abusers is infectious if not stopped.  Abuse isn't love.  It doesn't show love.  It destroys love because it's exerting power over another.  Love is mutual, kind, supportive and listens.  Abusers do none of those things and will try to make you believe you are the one abusing them.  It's a common tactic among abusers as you'll see with the hashtag.  Love is considerate.  Abusers are not.  It's not easy, but hopefully in reading these tweets and starting to understand the problem, people will be more accepting when others try to talk of their issues.  Instead of asking 'why do you stay?' maybe more will ask 'how can I help?'

There's so much more to this topic than I am knowledgeable on.  I urge you to listen to the stories and read up on it.  Growing and maturing to be capable of handling these topics with fairness and equality is the only way to stomp it out.  Abuse harms everyone.  Anyone of any gender, creed, orientation, or nationality can become a victim of abuse or domestic violence of any sort.  This is an issue all of humanity of any walk of life can face.  Refuse to be silent about it.  Offer to help those that need it, not those that cause it.

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