Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Blame Game

I have, along with many, seen the recently released video of a football player hitting his girlfriend, knocking her out and then dragging her out of the elevator.  I wince when I see it every time.  Yet our dialogue on this has been "should he be allowed after a X number of game suspension instead of the firing he got" "there are others who have done as bad if not worse" and many other statements about him.  Those about her have been anywhere from the insensitive "she seems out of control prior ..." to the usual "but she married him the next day".

I did not mention him by name on purpose, publicity is good even when it is negative and I am not here to give him any.  This is about her and all the other victims of domestic violence and violence against women.  There are men and boys who suffer from partner abuse but this blog is about women and girls only.  Not to marginalize the others but men have a powerful voice that is often heard women and women's issues somehow are getting lower and lower priority.  Women are an incredibly powerful force if they join together and yet we do not band together as much as we could.  

The woman who was punched married him the day after, many shake their heads and then to some degree either verbalize or think "Well it's for the money" or "Must not have been that bad" or "She provoked him" or "Well if he hits her again it's her fault".  I see and hear this a lot of with victims of sexual abuse.  From the gossip "what was she thinking getting drunk/high/lost wearing that" to the disgusting texts of people pics from the rape scene of the victim conscious or not or people recreating the pose of one victim as she lay after being drugged and raped.  We see women in parts of the world having their daughters taken hostage from schools and while I appreciate the "Bring Back the Girls" initial tweets -- those girls are no longer even a topic on any page to describe the horror they are living in... those mothers still do not have their daughters.  Their criminal captors throwing it in all of our faces that they are to blame "for seeking an education" so that they deserve to be taken, beaten, killed maybe, tortured, raped and sold as slaves.

Women are victimized and then victimized over and over again because somehow women do not stand up and scream in outrage, do not as one loud voice condemn the criminals but instead often fall into step and do not want to call attention to themselves, even if they feel safe to do so, by saying this is not ok ever!!  We are entitled to laws that protect us, that punish the criminals and never ask us how we were to blame for being victims of crimes against us - ever!!!!

It is very common for victims of abuse, at any economic level, to not leave their abusers.  This is such a complex issue so before you want a simple answer let me stop you  - there is none.  It is not uncommon for young people including girls to not always understand that a situation may not be as safe as their youth invincibility makes them think it is.  Do we blame these women because we want to feel as though we would be strong enough to leave, not be in that situation to be raped, not live in a country where girls are killed for trying to get an education??

We are powerful as women - throughout history and especially under the banner or religion women have been disempowered because men who are weak want to ensure that women fear that power and see it as something they are not entitled to or should aim for.  I was really disheartened seeing that football player have people line up to take pictures with him.  This is not just damaging to his wife and whatever thoughts she may have of leaving but to all women who see it and now are even more marginalized.    Leaving is often the most dangerous time, it is not a guarantee of safety.  Being raped, even if drugged, is not guaranteed to get you justice.  I can go on and on but instead I will end and ask that we all go on and on.  Go and talk to our sons and the men in our lives and tell them that all of this is not acceptable.  Go and write to our elected officials that women's bodies are their own and they are not the property of anyone, allowed to be abused in any way by anyone and most importantly that they have the ability to make choices for themselves because they are empowered.  Go and use your shopping might by not supporting organization that deny women these rights, don't give your hard earned money (still as hard earned and still not as much as a man's in many instances) to sponsored materials from men who do not respect women.  As for the wife of the football player I will hope she finds her way out or that maybe he will be that one in a million man who really only did it this time .. but until then I will use my might to be heard and not forget.  It is time for us to speak in one voice and BE HEARD on women's issues like these and all that matter to us.  

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