Justifications for Abuse

This week, I’ve had various chances to observe people behaving badly and other people trying to justify it. From that football player who knocked his fiancee out in an elevator to a website devoted to destroying another website (we talked about this before, but I’m not mentioning names, because I just don’t have it in me this week to argue with those assholes again) to… well, the whole fucking world.

And one thing occurs to me as I watch people argue “Well she did…”

Yes. Folks, sometimes breakfast is burned. Sometimes the kids are noisy and he’s not making any effort to keep them quiet. Sometimes the moderation is heavy-handed. Sometimes your fiancee is a drunken asshole. Yes. A million times yes. The “sins” they’ve committed that are supposed to justify the shit they get are often true. They often have done the things you accuse them of doing.

When someone is abused, though, and you start from a premise of “Well, let’s see if they really did the thing their abuser said they did. Let’s get the whole context.” then you’re starting from a premise where it’s okay in some circumstances to abuse a person. Some people can get punched by loved ones; we’re now trying to decide if you’re one of those people. Some people can get whole sites devoted to trying to destroy them and frighten their loved ones; we’re now trying to decide if you’re one of those people. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I wish we would reject the premise that there is some x that makes y okay.

3 thoughts on “Justifications for Abuse

  1. “… you’re starting from a premise where it’s okay in some circumstances to abuse a person.”

    Excellently phrased and not just relevant for abuse either. That justification of “Well, but it’s okay because they did {thing}, otherwise this horribleness never would have happened to them” is frighteningly pervasive and so judgmental. Which goes back to your earlier piece about judges and power, especially since justifying abuse based on circumstances actually grants power and legitimacy to the abuser as well as turning them into a judge of allowable circumstances for said abuse.

  2. Wise, well-thought and much appreciated words, ma’am. Why this crime is not treated the same as other crimes, where the immediate response of investigators and others is “Okay, what happened?” and then using interviews with offender, victim(s) and witness(es) to accompany basic observational skills to determine what happened, will always be beyond my understanding.

    The only crimes that aren’t treated that way, it seems, are crimes against women as well as people of color and gay and trans people. In other words, if you’re not a straight white guy, you must have done something to provoke your attacker — apparently, in a frightening number of cases, only by being a woman, person of color, or gay or trans person.

    I was in a courtroom during an aggravated assault case. The judge asked the assailant why he hit the other guy, and the assailant answered. The judge then said, in a very disgusted tone, “Son, no matter what he said about your momma, you had no right to hit him.”

    I was in the same building later, watching a different judge hear a domestic assault case. The man said he beat his wife because she “wouldn’t shut up.” That judge looked at her and asked why she stayed.

    Why did the first guy have no right to hit someone who insulted his mother, yet the second guy was justified in hitting his wife?

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