Thursday, March 13, 2014
An abusive man is not unable to resolve conflicts nonabusively; he is unwilling to do so. The skill deficits of abusers have been the subject of a number of research studies, and the results lead to the following conclusion: Abusers have normal abilities in conflict resolution, communication, and assertiveness when they choose to use them. They typically get through tense situations at work without threatening anyone; they manage their stress without exploding when they spend Thanksgiving with their parents; they share openly with their siblings regarding their sadness over a grandparent’s death. But they don’t want to handle these kinds of issues nonabusively when it involves their partners. You can equip an abuser with the most innovative, New Age skills for expressing his deep emotions, listening actively, and using win-win bargaining, and then he will go home and continue abusing. Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men (via seebster)
Wednesday, March 5, 2014

When [an abusive man] tells me that he became abusive because he lost control of himself, I ask him why he didn’t do something even worse. For example, I might say, “You called her a fucking whore, you grabbed the phone out of her hand and whipped it across the room, and then you gave her a shove and she fell down. There she was at your feet where it would have been easy to kick her in the head. Now, you have just finished telling me that you were ‘totally out of control’ at that time, but you didn’t kick her. What stopped you?” And the client can always give me a reason. Here are some common explanations:

"I wouldn’t want to cause her a serious injury."
“I realized one of the children was watching.”
“I was afraid someone would call the police.”
“I could kill her if I did that.”
“The fight was getting loud, and I was afraid the neighbors would hear.”

And the most frequent response of all:

"Jesus, I wouldn’t do that. I would never do something like that to her.”

The response that I almost never heard — I remember hearing it twice in the fifteen years — was: “I don’t know.”

These ready answers strip the cover off of my clients’ loss of control excuse. While a man is on an abusive rampage, verbally or physically, his mind maintains awareness of a number of questions: “Am I doing something that other people could find out about, so it could make me look bad? Am I doing anything that could get me in legal trouble? Could I get hurt myself? Am I doing anything that I myself consider too cruel, gross, or violent?”

A critical insight seeped into me from working with my first few dozen clients: An abuser almost never does anything that he himself considers morally unacceptable. He may hide what he does because he thinks other people would disagree with it, but he feels justified inside. I can’t remember a client ever having said to me: “There’s no way I can defend what I did. It was just totally wrong.” He invariably has a reason that he considers good enough. In short, an abuser’s core problem is that he has a distorted sense of right and wrong.

I sometimes ask my clients the following question: “How many of you have ever felt angry enough at youer mother to get the urge to call her a bitch?” Typically half or more of the group members raise their hands. Then I ask, “How many of you have ever acted on that urge?” All the hands fly down, and the men cast appalled gazes on me, as if I had just asked whether they sell drugs outside elementary schools. So then I ask, “Well, why haven’t you?” The same answer shoots out from the men each time I do this exercise: “But you can’t treat your mother like that, no matter how angry you are! You just don’t do that!”

The unspoken remainder of this statement, which we can fill in for my clients, is: “But you can treat your wife or girlfriend like that, as long as you have a good enough reason. That’s different.” In other words, the abuser’s problem lies above all in his belief that controlling or abusing his female partner is justifiable….

Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men (via seebster)
Friday, October 25, 2013 Sunday, July 14, 2013 Thursday, October 25, 2012

Anonymous asked: Good morning. Do you happen to know of how to find places that will help women who are being abused, other than a shelter? I've had enough and I want to leave I'm just not sure how and I know I can't do it on my own.

TRIGGER WARNING: Talk of abuse

Here’s a link to RAINN’s Get Help section - they have both phone and online help lines in addition to a counseling center locator. I’m sure someone over there will be able to walk you through this process.

You’re very brave.

Thursday, July 26, 2012



I want to shit on a kitten every time somebody says something about how they’re sad about Joe Paterno’s legacy being tainted.

Are you kidding me. Ok so he “may have been” (was) involved in covering up the molestation of Black boys, children, and I’m seeing people expressing displeasure about this soiling his good name. People who haven’t said a word about the victims beyond an obligatory ‘well that’s just awful’.

Well fuck Joe Paterno, fuck his legacy, and fuck you if you’re more concerned about the legacy of a dead man who even “may have” allowed the molestation of children than you are about the children who were molested and are still alive and have to live in the shadow of Joe Fucking Paterno’s legacy.

How about you take down his statue and replace it with, oh I dunno, an actual apology or something that might work as a reminder that tremendous evil was done, washed out, and forgotten.

But, we’ll find, a famous dead white man’s legacy is more important.

And students don’t riot over child molestation.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Reason #111: What Jerry Sandusky tells us



[trigger warning: child sexual abuse, rape culture, victim blaming]

Though Friday night’s verdict prompted cheers outside the courtroom, inside, the mother of Victim 6 did not claim victory.

“Nobody wins. We’ve all lost,” she said before hugging her son.


I have a lot of feelings about this case. I don’t know how to properly articulate some of them.

This case is one of, if not the most, infamous case of child sexual abuse and child rape in my lifetime. It’s a story that is too horrible to believe. But this kind of thing happens every day— maybe not on the same scale, but with horrifying frequency in our world.

Penn State tells us a lot about rape culture. It tells us a lot about abuse culture. As I’ve said in the past, these things do not happen in a political and cultural vacuum; they happen because the moral and social fabric of an entire society is built in such a way that it can fail people— not just once, but over and over again. It takes a village. There were many times in my life when an adult armed with the right knowledge might have seen through what was happening to me. There were times, later on as a teenager, when I was very direct, but no one did anything. I wrote down that I wanted to kill myself and I showed it to a teacher. I asked for a social worker. I received multiple truancy letters. It takes a village.

So as I think about this case, and the people who suffered so much for years and years at the hands of Jerry Sandusky, I can only imagine how many times the world failed them. I cannot understand the agony of publicly revealing your story for prime time news pundits to pick apart. I cannot comprehend the frustration and pain involved in taking the witness stand and having your story criticized and attacked.

I read the grand jury report many months ago. It was terrifying. I had to stop halfway through because I felt myself getting physically ill. But I remember the testimony of the janitor who saw Sandusky abusing a boy— he said that the memory of that haunted and disturbed him more than the years he spent fighting in Vietnam. That is the gravity of what we are dealing with here.

But despite this desire to call Jerry Sandusky a monster, we have to remember that he is a person, and that people— people whom we think are “good”— can do monstrous things. Jerry Sandusky had many people testify to his “good character”. It takes a village. Joe Paterno let child rape happen, and instead of riots and outrage against him, he had riots in his name. It takes a village. And some of us still refuse to believe that even a priest, a “man of god”, can abuse a boy.

It takes a village.

Even now, I am starting to see the jokes about prison rape. It’s a sign of where we still are— we see rape as something that can sometimes be a punishment, instead of as one of the worst possible acts in human existence. We still believe that rape is something that can be doled out to those “deserving” of it, instead of as something that every single person in the world has the right to not have happen to them. We still believe that a person we don’t like deserves to have images of their rape and murder publicly broadcast, and that people who do good things can’t possibly be child rapists or child rapist enablers

This is the culture we are in— one that has variable beliefs on rape and sexual abuse, many of which contradict one another. It’s not okay to hurt little boys, but what if this case was about 45 counts of rape against women? What if some of those women were promiscuous or had other “deviant” sexuality? What if these boys were men when they were hurt? What if some of these boys, now adults, were convicted criminals? Gay? Transgender? Undocumented? Mentally disabled? Fat? What if they were some combination of all of these? The more “deviant” and “bad” we see a person, the more likely it is that their story is not taken seriously. That we cannot, with 100% certainty, say that Jerry Sandusky in another world would be convicted had his victims not been among one of the most believable, sympathetic groups in our culture— children— says a lot about where we are. And as we know, even little boys have trouble being believed.

In 90 days, Jerry Sandusky will be sentenced, probably with life in prison. But there are still other Jerry Sanduskys out there, and they have entire villages, entire cities of people behind them, actively ignoring abuse, or subtly covering it up. Some of these people— both the abusers and the abuse enablers— could be our neighbors, our cops, our teachers, or our siblings. There are still Joe Paternos out there, knowingly allowing rape and getting away with it. This is not an aberration in our culture— it is a pattern that is systematically ignored and even encouraged. 

The end of Jerry Sandusky is not the end of the many millions of other stories out there.

Perfect commentary on a horrific case. NPR has been triggering the fuck out of me lately with all of the Sandusky coverage. The knowing complicity of so many people combined with the institutional enabling is beyond disturbing. Those poor boys. In a sense, their lives ended with that abuse. What is left for them now? I hope there is a lot of emotional and professional support for them.

I hope that the attention this story received paves a way for more accountability. I hope people start paying more attention and have the courage to protect the abused. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

dear glee:



Once again, and much to my dismay, we have to talk about what happened last night. I have two big problems with what you did with Choke; I have a problem with your narrative, and I have a problem with how you presented it. And the thing is, Glee, the topic of abuse and assault is one that is very close to my heart, so in addition to having problems with what you’ve done, I am also furious in a way I rarely find myself after watching television. In fact, the last time I remember feeling this way is when I watched your horrific butchering of what could have been a very powerful lesbian storyline; something to keep in mind, no? Maybe you should change the name of your show to Rage, since god knows it would be more fitting vis a vis the emotion I so often find myself feeling when I turn you off. 

So, first and foremost: you know what, Glee, you’ve got a lot of fucking nerve to use the idea that domestic violence needs to be taken more seriously (which it does) to frame an episode of your show that uses abuse as a fucking plot device. That is just….god, that is really pushing the hypocrisy envelope, even for you guys. And you know what I get it, I really do, I get that you’ve decided that you’re the Great White Hope of television or whatever, I get that you’ve decided you’re the Heralds of Change. I bet you patted yourselves on the back when you finished this one; I bet you went home and felt real good about you. And that’s great, except that what you should have been feeling was ashamed of yourselves. 

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This is really important. I mean Glee does a lot of stupid shit (more and more lately, it seems) but they really, really fucked up with this. Like while watching this episode I was sitting there going “Really? Are you really doing this, Glee? Like…do you think this is even a remotely appropriate way to handle this topic?”

Ten bucks says they never ever bring it up on the show again, either. Just like how they’ve never brought up Santana’s outing, or Karkofsky’s attempted suicide, or anything else that isn’t fucking finchel or klaine.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 Monday, February 6, 2012