Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Even Elevators

The national attention on domestic abuse has been intense over the past few days, following a high-profile example playing out with NFL player Ray Rice and his now wife, Janay Palmer, complete with elevator video evidence and subsequent press conferences.

All of the dialogue around this issue is very useful.  All of it. 

Co-hosts of Fox and Friends have been denounced for this particular piece of commentary:

After discussing the latest developments in the Ray Rice situation — in which the star ex-Baltimore Ravens running back assaulted his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator — Kilmeade joked, “I think the message is, take the stairs.”
Doocy countered, “The message is when you’re in an elevator, there’s a camera.”

This morning, on a local radio show, I listened to two men talk about how "the media changes everything."  That nothing is private anymore, there can't be anything that happens without someone documenting it with their phone, that "even elevators aren't safe."  They didn't mean safe for women, or human beings.  They meant safe from scrutiny.

At this moment, I am glad that we live in an age of information. 
That we live in a time and place where even elevators are not private, where moments that could typically be tucked away from public viewing are no longer tucked away from public viewing. I am glad that this particular type of "safety" is evaporating.  It forces us, all of us, to confront what happens behind some closed doors, and more importantly, what we believe about what happens behind closed doors.

One woman, Beverly Gooden, tweeted, "almost without thinking", why she stayed in an abusive relationship. 
“The overwhelming tone was, ‘Why did she stay?’” Gooden, a human resources manager from Charlotte, N.C., told The Washington Post. “I felt that people just don’t realize, asking ‘Why doesn’t she leave?’ is such a simple question for a very complex issue.”

Gooden's goal was simply to offer support:
"I want people to know they are not alone and that there are people who truly understand what they have gone through," said Gooden. "When the overwhelming public voice is of shame, you can get lost in the guilt. You can feel voiceless. I want people to know that they have a voice! That they have the power. That's so critical, that survivors feel empowered."
Gooden's message resonated. Within a few hours, thousands of Twitter users were sharing their stories. 
--From 19 #WhyIStayed Tweets That Everyone Needs To See

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