I decided to write this little article after my sources reached the magical number three… and it got me thinking… if violence is such a hot topic, and the experts are numerous, why do we still experience it / see it / read about it?
Maybe because no one really wants it to stop, maybe because no one has told those people doing the abuse that violence is never the solution, or maybe sometimes it’s something as simple as revenue… violence, especially combined with sex sells!
So onward to the first source that got me thinking….
A book about a girl that was at some point in her life was abused (no worries, I will keep the spoilers to a minimum). What really amazed me was that she chose to say nothing, even when adults tried to help her… she chose to minimize the abuse in order to still fit in, to be liked, to be to some extent still accepted and I quote:
“That would be the most surprising lesson I’d learn at Bradley: You only scream when you’re finally safe.”
My second source is an article from someone I really like and it shook me when I read it… It’s titled simply Let’s Talk, but nothing is simple about, because rape (yes, sexual assault is too civilized for me too) is not something to be taken lightly! The Hook is a funny, charming guy, that brightens my every Monday, and all I want to do is give him a mega big hug if I ever find a way to reach Niagara Falls 🙂
And last, but not least, my third source is a Ted Talk I just discovered, even though it’s been out there since 2013. Jackson Katz talks about Violence against women—it’s a men’s issue, and it’s a great talk and it gave me a little hope that maybe one day what he teaches, what he preaches will be heard and applied and maybe the world will be a better place.
I especially resonated with a part of his speech that shows just how easy it is to remove the person doing the abuse, just by using a few sentences…
This comes from the work of the feminist linguist Julia Penelope.
It starts with a very basic English sentence: “John beat Mary.” That’s a good English sentence. John is the subject. Beat is the verb. Mary is the object. Good sentence. Now we’re going to move to the second sentence, which says the same thing in the passive voice. “Mary was beaten by John.” And now a whole lot has happened in one sentence. We’ve gone from “John beat Mary” to “Mary was beaten by John.”We’ve shifted our focus in one sentence from John to Mary, and you can see John is very close to the end of the sentence, well, close to dropping off the map of our psychic plain. The third sentence, John is dropped, and we have, “Mary was beaten,” and now it’s all about Mary. We’re not even thinking about John. It’s totally focused on Mary. Over the past generation, the term we’ve used synonymous with “beaten” is “battered,” so we have “Mary was battered.” And the final sentence in this sequence, flowing from the others, is, “Mary is a battered woman.” So now Mary’s very identity — Mary is a battered woman — is what was done to her by John in the first instance. But we’ve demonstrated that John has long ago left the conversation.
In conclusion, because I feel this could be a very long article and that is not the point, I just want to say that books and movies about violence will always exist, I’m sure about it, and I will probably always be aware that this phenomenon exists, but I am happy to know that campaigns and seminars and other activities try to take it out of the fictional realm and bring it in the real and palpable realm in order to educate people that it is not right!
So keep up the good work Jackson Katz, and all the many others fighting the good fight 🙂