This post was originally published in 2012, but is being revised and reposted because not much has changed in the world of victim-blaming since then. My thoughts are with Janay Rice and her daughter Rayven, both of whom are in even graver danger today than they were a few months ago. If I were the praying kind, my knees would be worn out for them.
I love my feminist sisters and brothers, but they aren’t perfect. Feminists can be power trippers, backstabbers, and my-shit-don’t-stinkers as much as any other segment of the human population.
That said, there are certain ground rules that are accepted when one claims membership in The Feminist Club. They are so mind-numbingly obvious that I feel idiotic even replicating them, but here they are:
Feminists who’ve had abortions are not called “baby-killers.”
Feminists of color are not called racist slurs.
Feminists who are rape survivors are not called “sluts.”
Feminists who are LGBTQ are not called any homophobic/transphobic insults.
We gird ourselves daily against this disapprobation from the general population, so we should understand that when we are in a feminist space, we will be safe from this kind of garbage. It follows, then, that this is also a Feminist Club Ground Rule:
Feminists in abusive relationships are not called “weak,” and/or shamed publicly for what they are going through.
…why the glaring blind spot in regard to domestic violence victims? Why are women denied even the validation of the dangerous dynamics of her dilemma? Why do so many people still hold a view, as cloaked as it may be in paternal tones, that is more in sync with the perpetrator’s stance than with the victim’s?
I also spent a portion of my life believing in Santa Claus.
I think I wouldn’t…..but I don’t know for sure. If I were Penelope’s friend, though, I’d let her know that she had my support whenever and wherever she needed it. If she showed interest, I’d help her create a detailed and thorough safety plan. Penelope isn’t keeping her abuse a secret, obviously, but other women might want to, so I would be absolutely certain that I didn’t expose my friend’s situation without her permission. After all, the consequences of breaking the silence would be borne by my friend, not me.
F YOU NEED HELP: The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)