This is the rawest, realest thing I’ve ever posted here but if I don’t get these words out once and for all I might explode. A lot of this has been simmering to the point of boiling over lately. I’ve found myself snapping at friends. I found myself brooding over vengeance fantasies. And last night I found myself screaming at the computer screen when I saw what women had written in reaction to Chris Brown being at the Grammys.
Can somebody please explain to me how we have come to the place where we not only turn our heads at physical violence towards women but we somehow manage to collectively ‘forget’ that it ever happened if the perpetrator is talented, charming, charismatic or ‘a really great guy when he’s not drunk’.
Yes, the big blind eye turned towards Chris Brown has had me seething for a while. The only place I’ve found antidote are in Jenny Johnson’s relentless tweets at the stupid animal.
He makes me vomit in my mouth. Not a little bit either, a lot.
The facts of what he did to his girlfriend at the time are disgusting. In case you missed them, he punched her repeatedly. He bit her in the face. He told her he was going to kill her.
Is that what you want, girls? You want a man to terrify you and hit you so relentlessly that your arms are injured from protecting your face? Maybe you think you’re being funny? Maybe you’re confusing S&M fantasies with real abuse.
S&M is about consent. About people giving and receiving pleasure through pain with the knowledge that any time it becomes uncomfortable or no longer pleasurable they can say stop. There is a great and intimate power in that kind of trust.
There is no power in being hurt against your will. The only things worse than the person inflicting the abuse are the people who choose to look the other way.
I’m unfortunately no stranger to domestic violence. I hid under many childhood beds when I was a child as my mother was slapped, punched, dragged from the room by her hair, raped and verbally abused.
It was terrifying and I did not understand why someone didn’t make it stop. Why she would forgive him. Why everyone forgot about it.
Then I grew up and found my own men. Men that would shove me hard enough so that my whole body bounced off the wall.
Sorry. They would say. But I didn’t actually hit you.
And so my friends and I would find a way to rationalise it. To make it seem like a bad dream that happened to someone else. That was inflicted by someone else. A bogeyman version of the person I loved.
Last year that all changed when a man I was in love with gave me a black eye. I did not report it to the police. I covered my bruised face up with layers of make-up and told very few people about it. I even turned up to work where we were both employed with garish foundation highlighting my pathetic attempt to cover my shame.
Because I was ashamed. I felt like I had somehow deserved it and the majority of my friends and co-workers perpetuated this. I left my job that day with my employer’s encouragement while the man who hit me stayed on. Our managers that knew about it were told to say nothing to our co-workers. Friends made appropriately horrified noises and then amended that I shouldn’t have been in such a conflicted relationship in the first place.
Yes, friends of mine said this to my face.
Why was this? Perhaps because he said that he hit me by accident. Some people seemed to focus on the fact that he had struck me with the palm of his hand instead of his fist. Perhaps because I forgave him.
These people are no longer in my life. And I’m not sorry for that. But what I am sorry for is that my shell-shocked acquiesce allowed another instance of domestic violence against a woman become whitewashed. I’m sorry that Hollywood and the media continue to do the same thing.
I want these girls who say they want to be hit by Chris Brown to think about their own accountability by perpetuating such garbage.
I want people to remember that it’s never okay. I want people to heal and become stronger than their attackers. I want them never ever think that they have to suffer anyone else’s violence ever.
I want them to forgive and not let that bitter taste eat them up. I want them to bloom.
But don’t forget, okay?