Dec. 18th, 2015

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If talk of domestic violence and violence against children upsets you (and it should) then this post will probably upset you. Consider this your content warning.

So my friend Darlena wrote an awesome piece for Time on that Christmas card that pissed off half the internet. But here's my issue with it (the card, not her piece which was nice), which she touched on, but I have an expanded opinion with much more profanity because I don't write for Time so I can be a caustic bitch.

The backlash of "lighten up" and "it's just a joke" in regards to this image is problematic and not just because women shouldn't be silenced but also because abusers don't advertise. "He's a nice guy" and "his wife was totally on board with it" are also things that don't carry any weight on this issue and here's why; abusers don't advertise.

Sure every so often some jackass on a powertrip gets caught beating up his girlfriend on camera and becomes the posterjackass for battering men everywhere. Those guys though, they're the minority. Most abusers don't advertise. Mutual friends will call a woman who's been abused "dramatic" or even a liar because "he was always so nice, no way he every hurt her, she never had any broken bones or black eyes". Smart abusers don't leave overly visible marks, abusers don't need to leave marks at all to make you feel meaningless powerless and empty. Emotional abuse is abuse. One more for the cheap seats in the back; abusers don't advertise. It doesn't make it easy to continue your reign of control and manipulation if everyone knows you're doing it, abuse is often subtle, and more often than not a battered spouse will say "it wasn't that bad" or "I'm sure he didn't mean it" not because "victims" aren't smart, but because abusers are often extremely charismatic and manipulative, they will convinced you that you started it, they will convince your friends and family that you are ill, or dramatic, that they are the victims. Abusers don't advertise.

That image is not just doing a disservice to women, and feminism, and survivors of domestic violence, it's doing a disservice to child abuse victims. To the little girls who grow up tied up and raped by a parent, step parent, family member or friend, who cry out despite being ashamed and are silenced by the family that's supposed to protect them. It does a disservice to our societies most vulnerable. So no it's not "a joke" and I wont "lighten up", because it's not funny. It is not even remotely acceptable to encourage this on any level, making sport of other's personal tragedies is unacceptable.

We live in a world full of horrors, and full of beauty, and all of it needs to be talked about. Silence solves nothing.

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