My thoughts regarding privacy vs abuse
There’s a lot of people who are against “airing dirty laundry”. These people think its best to keep personal issues within the bounds of the people directly involved.
This is a great theory-if you don’t dig too deep.
But, as soon you as you dig under the surface-it becomes glaringly obvious that this is a disgusting holdover from the controlling patriarchal society we are trying to evolve out of.
This precept of privacy is precisely what creates the dream environment for abusive behavior. People who are abusers, thrive in this environment. They can do whatever they want to another person and get away with it-because society is promoting that the abused should “not air dirty laundry”, they should “respect the privacy of everyone involved” and deal with any issues within the confines of the relationship…. Right-so they should stop the abuse by discussing it with their abuser?
Give me a break.
We’ve come a long way in recognizing that this is NOT a functional paradigm for abused persons. Yet-even as we promote support for women and children who are being abused by their spouse; we still hold to the same premise that created the paradigm that allows abuse in the first place! Talk about fucking ridiculous!
The truth is-abuse happens between adults who are the same sex as well AND it happens between adults who aren’t couples also!
Bullying, harassment, stalking are recognized as abuse legally. We DEMAND that people fight to stop these behaviors against minorities. But, we aren’t stopping the environment that allows it to continue!
When someone speaks out to a group and says, “someone I love/care for (or someone I don’t even personally know) is being bullied/harassed/stalked/sexually abused/emotionally abused/physically assaulted (or any other example of abuse)” we have a moral OBLIGATION to
stop the abuse
EVEN if we have doubts as to the claim, we still have the same obligations.
We have absolutely NO RIGHT to ignore the complaint. We have absolutely NO RIGHT to fling out accusations that they are “airing dirty laundry” or “breaking privacy”. OF COURSE THEY ARE. That would be because THE ONLY WAY TO STOP ABUSE IS TO ADDRESS IT PUBLICLY. The only way to stop abuse is to AIR IT PUBLICLY. The only way to stop abuse is to BREAK THE PRIVACY of the abuser. They are doing THE RIGHT THING by stepping up.
Even if it is determined later that they were misinformed as to whether or not it was abuse-BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY!
Losing privacy is a small thing compared to losing a life. We should all be willing to lose a measure of our privacy in the interest of ensuring that abuse is stopped.
Cries for help should always be taken seriously and the accusations held within those cries should be addressed systematically. Not ignored. The person crying out for help, whether for them self or someone else should be comforted, listened to, protected and their accusations should be investigated. Unlike my local Polyamorous groups-the person making the cry for help should NEVER be treated as an outcast or demeaned for their willingness to speak out against abuse. NEVER.
When we disregard claims of abuse-we show all of society that we ACCEPT abuse. Furthermore, we increase the probability of harm for abused people, we decrease the likelihood that ANY PERSON being abused will feel safe in speaking out. When we disregard these claims in social organizations, we send a message out to the world that our social group is a SAFE ZONE for ANYONE WHO WANTS TO ABUSE OTHERS.
Total, 100% agreement. In my mind if someone is being abusive they've lost their right to privacy.
Really, privacy can only exist with trust. I can maintain my privacy with my relationships because MC and TGIB each trust me to tell them what they need to know. If you break someone's trust by abusing them, your cries of "but my privacy!" are meaningless.
Right now, there is NO conscious effort to make the environment that we live in even remotely tolerant of public condemnation of abusers. We're not even close to talking about this subject as a mature society. And even those who want to air abuse, if they are 3rd parties, do not because they know they are subjecting the victims to being victimized twice. It's a win-win for the criminals.
It stems from viewing people as property, a cultural rule that still persists that if you are treated like an object, it's because you are an object in the eyes of the perp.
I'll go one step farther, as I do, and say that citizens of western countries view women and children in an objectified manner. What are beauty pagents? What stereotypes exist to maintain the illusion that women must be pursued sexually by men? How many places in the world deal in child slavery (which allows westerners to ignore the culture of abuse because its better then a culture of slavery).
These ideas march on into our modern day lives like Neanderthals roaming around in modern cities. It's completely incongruous that they exist in a society so advanced in other ways.
And it's not just silence that perpetrates it, it's OPEN falsehoods about women and rape made by politicians and broadcast widely.
ALL these patriarchal ideas we've inherited from our history have to be purged before there is any real change in the perception of airing dirty laundry.
So if you're silent, if you don't condemn those who insinuate that it's the victims fault, then yes you are perpetrating a continued crime. Even going on Twitter or FB goes a long way compared to most. Everyone should feel pressure to say something publicly.
Like a word-association game, the first thing i thought of when i saw the title of this thread is the way Western Capitalist societies have this "confidientiality" about salaries and compensation. It's obvious to me that this is just obe more way of being able to pay some people less money for doing the same work and get away with it while sounding noble about "protecting privacy".
What is the context for this post? Or are you just venting?
When another person is being denied control of their own bodies, emotions, future... it is easily arguable that there should be some consideration made for them.
Boring Guy-I happen to agree with you on that example as well.
Marcus-there's a whole thread regarding the lead-in to the details that spawned my post-which is a vent in that it was triggered by my frustration in watching our local poly group crucify someone for standing up and requesting help in stopping the emotional abuse of a partner by a fellow (not dating partner) member of the group.
The leaders of the group and the loud-mouths of the group called him out for saying anything because personal problems should be kept personal. Even though the post did not speak ill of the person who was doing the abuse-only noted the xyz verifiable actions=harassment and stalking (by the laws in our area) and that the behavior was causing serious emotional and mental health issues for-me specifically.
Anyway-the problem of the abuse has been resolved (thank you to legal avenues and my personal knowledge and willingness to use them).
However-it galls me to think that we allow abusers to get away with abuse by refusing to acknowledge that abusive behavior negates the right to privacy-therefore negating the right to throw the privacy card out there when someone speaks out against abuse.
It's prevalent-I've seen it in numerous situations (when I wasn't the victim of abuse) and it frustrates me that people who I believe have good intentions-don't take the time to consider how their "problems of the family stay in the family" attitudes play into huge abuse issues for many.
My particular situation was relatively easily resolved due to my extensive knowledge of my legal rights and having a good support network.
However, many people who are in abusive situations lack that knowledge and network. If they actually get up the courage to speak out against their abuser, or against their friend/loved ones abuser-they NEED to be heard, acknowledged and supported. Not attacked for speaking out.
Obviously-there are some who will take advantage. But really, checking into allegations of abuse doesn't mean you have to condemn someone who turns out innocent. Ignoring allegations of abuse can easily result in more damage and destruction than anyone could reasonable call acceptable in order to retain privacy.
But this paragraph sums up what I have been frusteratedly trying to explain to the group here-to no avail.
A couple things to consider.
The avenues for dealing with abuse are extremely limited in this society. If I have a close friend who is being abused by her boyfriend, there isn't much I can do about it personally. If I want to go over to their house and smash his face in, I can do that but I risk going to jail for assault even if I'm doing it to stop abuse and it has a high likelihood of actually stopping that abuse. I can report it to the police but they're not going to do much of anything without my friend's say-so. I can try to talk to the abuser but that individual has already shown problems with rational thinking, a rational discussion is unlikely to go very far and threats are more likely to escalate to a physical confrontation. I can tell other people but if my friend denies it out of fear of punishment, I'm basically crying wolf as far as other people are concerned. So there is really not much, if anything, I can do to help that situation directly. I can be supportive of my friend, offer her sanctuary, encourage her to leave, and as important as all that is, it still depends almost entirely on the target of the abuse saying something. This sets up the accusation "Well why didn't you report it sooner?" That puts the target in a situation where if they stay, they get abused. If they try and leave and maybe get help, they're going to be blamed for not getting help sooner and looked at as weak, soft, etc etc.
This leads into another point; abuse is almost always couched as a very male-centric crime. Its MEN that are abusers and never the targets. We don't see it as a hostile interaction between humans, we see it as something that a male does to a female. Even in my own prior example which I basically just pulled out of thin air, I assigned the role of abuser to be male and the role of target to be female. Granted we still live in a very patriarchal society in which most systems of power are controlled at some point by males and anytime you have an imbalance of power, the one with the lesser degree of power is more likely to be abused. Even taking that into consideration, we tend to think of abuse in terms of physical or sexual violence which is almost exclusively a male-centered domain, at least in the popular imagination. We often tend not to think of verbal abuse as abuse, its just being an asshole.
A further point is about the abuser themselves. Abusers are often reacting to situations of stress when they hurt others; a husband is stressed about work, he comes home and dinner isn't ready so he hits his wife, a wife is stressed because her husband spends so much time at work and she misses him so she verbally insults him when she sees him. They lack coping mechanisms to deal with strong emotions so they lash out physically or verbally at others and they're repeating patterns they've experienced while their opinions about the world were being shaped; someone who witnessed or experienced abuse as a child is at a much higher likelihood to be an abuser when they grow up. With that in mind, we should be conscious of how we handle an abuser. The overwhelming majority of people who are abusers are not sadists, they're not sociopaths, they're not actively trying to destroy another human being. Most of the time they dont realize the damage they cause in other people and they're unaware that what they're doing is against human dignity. If you immediately just exile people who show abusive behavior, a lot of the time you make that behavior worse because you've just ostracized them without any of the tools necessary to deal with conflict, frustration, stress, and relationships that they need to make better choices about interacting with other people. There are definitely people who have just learned too well that hitting someone or verbally breaking them down is acceptable and wont ever really be able to grasp the impact of what they're doing. But for every one of those, there are probably ten to fifteen other abusers who can be shown how much they're truly hurting people and can be helped to change their behavior for the better with proper interpersonal skills.
Helo-not to be difficult-but none of your points contradicts mine. In fact-if anything they back my point up.
When someone DOES speak out against abuse they experience or witness-the community needs to react with support and investigation. Not by crucifying the complaintant.
As for the abuser, no one is saying they should be ostracized and ignored either. Only that they should be stopped. Not have their behavior encouraged by our unwillingness to step in when someone "airs their dirty laundry".
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