Look, I’m sure you make better choices than Rihanna. I’m sure you do! I’m sure you are totally right to shake your head gently and pityingly at that poor girl who just can’t seem to get her act together, because the flawless poise and wisdom with which you have handled every single minor crisis in your life ensures that were you ever to face the horrifying nightmare of the man you love beating you about the face, you’d keep calm and have a cupcake, or whatever that slogan you just pinned says
I’m sure you know all about being a survivor of intimate partner violence! I’m sure you have something to say to all those abuse survivors who leave seven times before they leave for good. I’m sure you know all about the cognitive dissonance, the humiliation, the emotional torture, the fear of reprisal, the Stockholm syndrome, the devastating blow that has been dealt your sense of your own dignity.
I’m sure you’d love to spend some time learning how to be part of the communal support network needed to help survivors move on, if you weren’t so busy pointing out that really, if women would make better decisions this wouldn’t be a problem.
“If you choose to go into a war zone, do you not carry some of the blame if you get hurt?”
Yes, returning to a loved one who has abused you is exactly like sashaying into a war zone. Anyway, that’s what I say to the homeless veterans I see. “You know, if there were fewer wars, and you made better life choices, you might still have your legs!
Either way, you’ve had both experiences, so you know all about it. I bet it’s very helpful to survivors of domestic violence everywhere to cluck like a disappointed but indulgent mother hen and and explain what you would do if you were ever in that entirely hypothetical situation.
You’re not exploiting a victim of brutal abuse for a thrilling little re-affirmation of your own superiority! You just have lots of special thoughts to share about how you can’t imagine why anyone would go back to his or her abuser!
But seriously, don’t.
Because I don’t care if you are a right wing talking head, or some liberal NPR intern who can’t understand why every woman isn’t as empowered and autonomous and generally on the ball as you–if you share them around me, you will regret it