Thursday, May 13, 2010

Domestic violence is bad because...

I don't usually pay much attention to all those Facebook chain statuses. You know, the ones that try to guilt you into reposting them by implying that not doing so makes you mean and selfish and heartless. I skim read them, feel a moment of irritation, and then move on. But this one stopped me in my tracks. It just felt so wrong.

"While you SCREAM at your woman, there's a man wishing he could talk softly in her ear...While you HUMILIATE, OFFEND and INSULT her there's a man flirting with her and reminding her how wonderful she is. While you HURT your woman, there's a man wishing he could make love to her. While you make your women CRY there's a man stealing smiles from her. Post this on your wall if you're against Domestic Violence...."


The way it frames domestic violence as bad because there might be another man who will take your woman away by being nice to her strikes me as a positively dangerous idea to be encouraging in the mind of an abusive partner. And it feels to me as though it turns the woman into an object to be won by a man rather than a human being with rights and autonomy.

Tell me, does anyone see anything good about that quote? Presumably the people who are posting as their status on Facebook do...

24 comments:

Kt said...

Oh thank you! So glad I'm not the only one. In addition to your points above, it also plays to those pathological jealousies that fuel some insecure and power-hungry perpetrators of domestic violence. Dangerous. Not to mention silly in the extreme.

Di said...

I don't think I've seen that one on Facebook yet. The most recent one I'd noticed was the Nurses one.

But definitely agree with your points on it.

Deborah said...

Good points, Mim.

I think it could also be read as saying that inside the man who is perpetrating violence, is a man who just wants to be sweet and gentle and loving, but somehow he can't. With that reading in mind, I get a nasty little twinge of victim blaming from it - it's all her fault he can't be nice.

mimbles said...

@Deborah If it had ended with an appeal for perpetrators to seek help to become that nice man and had used that "a man wishing" construct all the way through it might kind of make sense. But yes, far more likely to fit perfectly into the victim blaming mindset of the abuser.

Kazzy said...

I am sure the intent is to let the abuser know what he might be losing. I don't know. So many of those chains are so weird.

Mary (MPJ) said...

Yes! I just saw that one today and it bugged me so much for all the reasons you and others have articulated here.

Leslie said...

I haven't seen that one yet.. but I never do the facebook trend quotes.
Good points ~ you should make your post your status.

Happy Thursday

Lisa66 said...

Mim, you've articulated my feelings exactly. This one made me shudder. It really does portray women as possessions and seems to say that violence is bad because it may lead to "your woman being stolen." Very disturbing.

Penny said...

euuw. puke worthy.
I've given up on that stuff. Seems pointless. I mean, is posting a status really going to find a cure for cancer, prove you love your son/daughter/mum/dog/pet rock?

Dianne said...

It seems designed to shame the abuser. But not every abuser is going to feel shame. Many will feel jealousy, and jealousy is a bad message to be promoting.

cat said...

I've seen it and it had me a bit puzzled too.

Lissy said...

Thank you for this post that status has been driving me nuts every time I see it!

blue milk said...

Good lord, way to miss the point about domestic violence.

Great post Mim, by the way.

Ruth Branson said...

My first thought when I read it was: surely this can't be intended for an abuser - it would just play right into the issues that causes him to be an abuser in the first place.
THanks for addressing!

Ruth

Anonymous said...

Hey there,

My sister and I have been discussing this and she completely agrees with what has been said here. I have to admit when I read this post, it irked me but I didn't really explore the feeling even though I do know some of the dynamics of DV.

My thought was that maybe the objectifying of the woman in this paragraph might have been intentional to accentuate the point that this is essentially the problem.

Any thoughts on that?

mimbles said...

I think it's a bit of a stretch to read it that way and that if that is the intention then there's been a huge failure to communicate effectively. If it's meant to be addressed to perpetrators then it's simply going to confirm their world view rather than challenge it.

Unknown Mami said...

I don't like it. Domestic violence is wrong whether or not someone else is coveting your woman, not to mention she's not "your" woman, she is her own woman that deserves to be treated with respect.

Anonymous said...

I saw this yesterday on Facebook and wondered exactly "what" it meant. I think the intent was good, but it just doesn't look right, as most of you say. And, again, as already mentioned, "stealing smiles" from an abused women can have life threatenting consequences for her, tragically. But that's the way it is.

dakini said...

It is very strange. Is it perhaps designed to make women experiencing dv know that they CAN do better if they feel they are only in the relationship because noone else would want them? If so, yeah, I can kind of see where it is coming from, but surely, empowering women so they don't feel they HAVE to be in a relationship, particularly one involving a violent perpetrator would be, you know, better.

Alison said...

Whole hearted agreeing at my end. I saw this one a winced more than usual for this kind of chain-junk. I wondered what exactly they were trying to make us feel guilty about: Women as possessions; Mistreating your possessions; Stealing from other men; why haven't you left and found that better man, girl? But seriously, if this is meant to change an abuser's POV I doubt he'd/she'd would say anything more than "no there isn't, no one would take the stupid cow", because they're controlling a-holes.

Unknown Mami said...

I linked to you today.

Kirby3131 said...

I'm here from Unknown Mami - I never thought of those status updates as chains but that's exactly what they are (thank you!) and I don't ever repost them, either. I didn't like that one either and was a little ticked off at the way it sounded but couldn't put my finger on it. Thanks for talking about it - I have a much greater appreciation on why I didn't like the way it sounded.

Kristin - The Goat

Mrs4444 said...

I agree. I never do anything because someone tells me I should, but even so, I would NEVER repost that.

Boganette said...

Totally agree. It's framing women as possessions. And essentially saying that the only reason to stop violence against your possession is so that someone else doesn't take that possession. Ughh.

And a small gripe - I wish people would donate to their local refuge instead of using chain status updates to show they "care". You'd actually be doing something if you donated, or volunteered your time.