Have you seen this photo floating around on the interwebs?
My jaw dropped and my stomach churned when I saw it. I was in shock. Look at that dudes smirk. He thinks he’s so hilarious tying up his wife and daughters with Christmas lights. And the festive green duct tape? He thought of that all on his own. Look people, he’s had enough. The women in his life talk too much. They exist too much. They need to shut the fuck up and become immobilized so he can have some peace and quiet. Then there’s his little woman hater in training standing by proudly giving a thumbs up to misogyny. What in the fuck. Is this real life?
Well yes actually. Sadly this is real life for 1 in 3 women. This could be real life for this woman and her children in the photo. Who the hell really knows, but if this is how her husband treats them in public, I’m a little terrified of what goes on behind closed doors. And even more disturbing, if this man were truly abusive to his family we likely wouldn’t know about it and this woman would not get the help she needs. Want to know why?
Because assholes think this photo is funny. Because this photo was even taken in the first place. Because rigid gender roles, believe it or not, affect the way our children behave in relationships. And because we live in a culture rampant with inequality. When we make light of violence, it just breeds more acceptance of it. It tells the survivor they deserve it and it tells perpetrators their behavior is acceptable. Laughing at something like this gives the abuser more power and only dehumanizes the victim. I don’t even really know why I’m working so hard to tell you all the reasons this isn’t funny. How about you tell me all the reasons violence against women and children is funny? I’ll wait.
Back to that statistic. Did you read it? Did you understand it? I don’t think you did. Let me tell you again. 1 in 3 women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime. That is a significant number. Let me put it in perspective for you. Think of the women in your life you love. How many can you think of? My husband is surrounded by women he loves. A grandmother, a mother, a sister, his wife and now daughter. We all play significant roles in his life and at least one of us will be harmed by someone we love. Well that one was me. I am 1 in 3. I was emotionally, physically and sexually abused by an ex-boyfriend.
Now you personally know someone affected by this issue. A real person. Not just someone you heard about on the news. So stop the jokes. They aren’t funny and they only perpetuate a culture that views women as less than. Even more, this photo was taken as a fucking Christmas card. You know, the season of peace, love and joy? What would Jesus do if he got this gem in the mail on his birthday? Do you think he would approve? I think he might vomit in his mouth a little.
Our world is hurting something fierce these days people and my heart breaks when I think about the struggles we are facing as a human race. In fact this stupid ass photo is a blip of nothing compared to the immense and overwhelming depths of hurt and pain our world is and has endured. But the small stupid things add up and absolutely contribute to the larger issues. We will never have Peace on Earth if we stay silent, even about the small stuff. Silence is participation and I refuse to quiet my voice in the noise. I will keep fighting for Peace and live loud always. You should too.
If you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence, there is help available. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has advocates available 24/7 to listen. Call 1-800-799-7233 to get help.