You ask Why
Why do girls, born of beauty and grace, born with opinions and the will to say no, born with the ability to stand up for themselves, become victims of domestic violence? Why do we allow such a thing to happen to us?
Because our world is toxic to women. For this entry the video I’m linking to isn’t mine. It’s not the words that I have written and my voice reading poetry at my kitchen table. It is a video called #DearDaddy that I came across on facebook. A video that brought me to tears because of the painful and simple truth behind it.
I have known a remarkable number of women who are, or were, victims of domestic violence. Sometimes verbally, sometimes financially, sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally. Quite often, all of the above. I worked in a domestic violence shelter for several years in my early twenties. Before that I volunteered at a crisis hotline throughout college. I have met so many women that are ashamed that they had become such a statistic. And so many other women and children who knew nothing else and thought it was normal.
Truth be told, it is normal, but that doesn’t make it ok. It starts so young. It starts with Tom Sawyer tugging on and dipping Becky Thatcher’s braids in ink because he likes her. It starts with schoolyard shenanigans and well-meaning adults telling the little girls with skinned knees that the little boy only pushed her down on the playground because he likes her. It starts with advertisements on our screens, magazines, and billboards that treat women as objects or suggests that their life is not important or suggests, sometimes with subtlety, sometimes not, that it is ok to spike a woman’s drink. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3314032/Rape-culture-finest-Bloomingdale-s-slammed-creepy-horrific-holiday-ad-encouraging-customers-spike-friend-s-drink-not-looking.html
). It starts with images of women who look dead being used to hawk everything from clothing to cars (http://www.stopfemaledeathinadvertising.com/
). We are objects. We are owned. We are chattel. At least that is what we are being sold and told.
Add to this “Boys will boys;” which teaches boys that only their masculinity matters. That they have to be strong and tough and violent. That disrespecting girls and women with language and jokes is just par for the course and necessary for socialization.
This feeds and feeds on itself. The girl in #DearDaddy is well educated and raised to be strong and independent. The abuse creeps into her “perfect” relationship. Like the frog that doesn’t know the water it’s in is being boiled until it’s too late. Many of the women I have met grew up in violent homes. That’s the way it is. That’s the way it is. That’s the way it---
NO NO NO! STOP THIS! I’ve seen women I love beaten by men I love. It’s hard to wrap your brain around. But these are people that were in my life all along. Some of them helped raise me. They didn’t know any better and 40 years ago victimization was something to hide. We didn’t have the language of SURVIVOR. The language of hashtags and public campaigns against domestic violence. We often believed that she deserved it or asked for it. That he couldn’t help it.
She doesn’t deserve to be abused. He can help it.
You ask why? Culture. Habit. Low self-esteem. Embarrassment. Having nowhere else to go. Thinking, or knowing, that your father made the same jokes so maybe this is just the way it is. Feeling trapped. Thinking maybe I did ask for it with my skirt so short and my breasts so big. Toxic masculinity that doesn’t allow for men to be kind and gentle.
I’m going to stop here. I’m going to ask that you watch #DearDaddy. That you really listen to the message. I’m going to ask that you share it all across social media and ask your friends and family to listen to it also. Why? Because we, as a global society, allow it. And that has to stop. Help me stop it. Don't allow it to come out of your mouth and don't laugh at others who do. #DearDaddy, I'm going to ask you a favor.