Nearly a year ago, Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson was arrested for domestic violence after he headbutted his new wife Evelyn Lozada. She hastily filed for divorce, just six weeks after their wedding. Ochocinco received only 12 months of probation and DV classes for the assault. He has been sentenced to 30 days in jail — but that seems to be more for slapping his lawyer on the butt rather than assaulting his wife. He was also kicked off the Miami Dolphins following the incident and VH1 canceled the couple’s reality show.
Today, TMZ published four photos of a bloodied Lozada, with a gash across her forehead, on its website.
The photos were posted only with the information that “TMZ has obtained photographic evidence” of Lozada’s injuries. Such an explanation doesn’t make clear whether Evelyn Lozada herself made the pictures available or whether TMZ just published the pics (which I assume were taken by police or hospital staff as evidence leading to Ochocinco’s arrest) for the traffic to their website. I’m assuming it was the latter, since the TMZ post explains, “We reached out to Evelyn’s rep who had no comment on the photos.”
That agency, or lack thereof, is important. She has a reasonable expectation that lurid images are kept private, the same way families of dead celebrities should have the reasonable expectation that their “deathbed”/”crime scene” photos should be kept private. (Rihanna has spoken out publicly about how, when images of her bruised face were made public without her permission, she felt horrible.) That someone may have profited off them is sickening. TMZ’s pics likely depict the worst night of Evelyn Lozada’s life; someone else making those images public was no doubt humiliating and violating all over again. Especially since, among some of her haters, there was a twisted joy in Lozada’s attack, it makes you wonder why anyone needs to see these bloodied-up images.
But at the same time, to be completely honest, there’s a part of me that is grateful when images of domestic abuse are made public so people have to see it. Abusers are so seldom held accountable for theirs abuse (it’s always someone else’s fault!) that it feels like, for lack of a better phrase, a silver lining. It’s a sad comment on our society that people are so apathetic about violence against women, that we seemingly need these incidents and images to provoke the conversation.
I would have appreciated it more if Lozada, Nigella Lawson (who was recently choked by her husband Charles Saatchi), or Rihanna were each personally behind showing their own abuse pictures. But I can’t say that I completely hate when there’s proof for the entire Internet to see that an abuser really is a fucking psycho. Abusers get away with too much already.
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