Meredith Vieira released a segment from her talk show today in which she discusses #WhyIStayed and her own prior abusive relationship. She explained that in her situation, the abuse became gradually more frequent, transformed from threats into physical violence, and made her feel as if she was at fault for it. Most importantly, she dispels some of the myths and stereotypes about women who stay in abusive relationships:
“I’m a smart woman. A lot of people say, ‘Well, who would stay in that situation?’ Somebody who maybe doesn’t have the wherewithal to get out, the means to get out – I had that. I had a job at the time. And I kept in this relationship… I think part of it was fear – I was scared of him, and scared if I tried to leave something worse could happen to me. Part of it was guilt, because every time we’d have a fight, he would then start crying, and say ‘I promise I won’t do it again,’ and I’d feel like maybe I contributed, somehow, to this.”
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“It’s the reason why so many people stay. That whole hashtag #WhyIStayed that happened last week, you saw how many of those responses were about feeling trapped financially … I think people just aren’t as aware of financial abuse. If a woman isn’t even aware of the dynamics of financial abuse — what it looks like, what it is — she may not even know that that’s part of the tools being used to control her and manipulate her and keep her trapped. When there is more information around it, people can begin to identify it and then get the help they need.”
In an interview with the Huffington Post, the amazing Kerry Washington kept the recent public conversations about domestic abuse in the spotlight by addressing the financial side of the situation. Financial abuse is talked about far less than physical violence, but it occurs in 98 percent of violent relationships, and can leave victims feeling just as trapped as a fist. Abusers can try to get their victims fired, accrue mountains of debt in the victim’s name, or hoard the couple’s finances leaving a victim with no cash of her own. Even after escaping the relationship, a victim can be left with a destroyed credit score or a wiped out savings account that could take years to recover from and leave them with little means to build a new foundation on their own. Kerry is the spokeswoman for The Allstate Foundation’s “Purple Purse” campaign, which aims to raise awareness of abuse and provide options to victims look for a way out. She specially designed a limited-edition purse for the initiative in hopes that it will serve as a symbol of a woman’s financial power. As if there weren’t already enough reasons to love her, she also recorded a kick-ass PSA for the organization, after the jump! [HuffPost] [Image via AKM-GSI] Keep reading »
While the direct blame for abuse rests solely on the abusers, we live in a culture that supports and perpetuates the cycle of violence. It is on all of us to listen, support and validate the voices of those who come forward. Victims shouldn’t feel censored or have their stories dismissed just because there isn’t a direct line solution to their complicated realities. We cannot get to #WhyILeft without confronting the reasons #WhyIStayed.
At first glance, Charlotte Alter’s piece on Time.com, “Instead of Asking Women Why They Stay, We Should Ask Men Why They Hit,” sounds sensible. In 140 characters, it even seemed empowering — almost spectacularly right on the money.
Why are we asking Janay Rice and other victims of intimate partner violence to explain themselves?? Abuse survivors shouldn’t need to justify their circumstances and choices in a hashtag. Shouldn’t we be as shocked and appalled at that conversation as Alter seems to be?
Actually, no. It turns out, she has missed the point entirely. Keep reading »
“I think it’s all about the choices you make. With me, I deal with a lot of anger issues from my past – not knowing how to express myself verbally and at the same time not knowing how to cope with my emotions and deal with them and understand what they are. So I think help is great. I still talk to my therapist twice a week, and it helps me to…if I’m frustrated and I’m dealing with something, to vent and say what I’m going through so I can hear from an actual clinical person, ‘this is how you should react,’ or ‘it’s good to feel this way’ because feelings, emotions, and energy are supposed to come and go. It’s not supposed to stay there, you’re not supposed to keep it inside, because it’ll bottle up and you’ll become a monster. For me, dealing with my anger issues and understanding myself and the life I’ve been through, where I’m headed and where I want to be has helped me focus on what’s really important and not F up. For anybody who’s going through that situation or anybody who’s dealing with it — it’s all about the choices. Every situation is different but it’s all about the choices you make and how you control your anger. To Ray, or anybody else — because I’m not better than the next man — I can just say I’ve been down that road. I deal with situations and I’ve made my mistakes too, but it’s all about how you push forward and how you control yourself.”
Wow. This is the first time that Chris Brown has publicly spoken about self-control struggles and abusive behavior and I actually feel that he has shown growth. Brown spoke yesterday with MTV News’ Sway about Ray Rice, the former Baltimore Ravens player who was terminated from the team this week after TMZ released a gruesome video of Rice punching his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer Rice in the head, knocking her unconscious, and then dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator. There’s been many reactions this week from domestic violence victims, including the hashtags #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft. But Chris Brown is in a unique position to explain the serious underlying psychological issues that lead abusers to harm others. I’m actually glad he weighed in here. (Not that I think Ray Rice, who recently announced he would give up hard liquor and became a born-again Christian, is willing to listen.) [MTV]
Pressure is mounting every single day against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell over his handling of Ray Rice, the former Baltimore Ravens player who assaulted his now-wife. The NFL has insisted it had never seen the brutal video in which Rice punches his then-fiancée Janay Palmer in the head, knocking her unconscious, until TMZ released it on Monday. But on Wednesday, the Associated Press confirmed that a law enforcement official said that the NFL was sent the video in April and someone there acknowledged that it had been received and viewed.
Goodell has been sharply criticized for how he punished Rice, who received only a two-game suspension by the league (before he was dropped by the Ravens this week). Only in late August did the NFL update its personal conduct policy: now players will be suspended for six games for a first offense and banned by the league for a year for a second offense. Keep reading »
“[S]ome might even say, watching that video, Ray Rice is the bigger victim of domestic violence here. .. [S]ome might say I’m defending Ray Rice here. Maybe I am, but if you watch the video, the video actually makes him look better than he did before. She repeatedly attacked him. He’s a victim — flat-out fact — of domestic violence. Only after she’s hit him several times and spit on him does he finally hit back. And she happens because of that blow to knock herself out on the [elevator's] railing. That was an unintended consequence, I’m sure.”
This is A.J. Delgado, a female columnist for the conservative National Review, speaking as a guest yesterday on Sean Hannity’s radio show. Not even Rice’s defense lawyers could have come up with this, uh, creative theory that Janay Palmer Rice actually knocked herself out when she failed to properly absorb her then-fiance’s punch to her head. Really, if Janay hadn’t been so foolish to smack her head into the elevator railing, maybe she wouldn’t have been out cold! It’s so, so sad when a clumsy woman makes it look like her man is abusing her. [Raw Story]