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Ajax ✨ Bell @AjaxBell
, 22 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
I'm seeing a few people say it's hard to know who the real victim is when both sides claim harassment. I want to try and frame it the way I learned to examine these situations. Buckle up or mute me.
Abuse, whether by intimate partners, friends, or narcissistic sociopaths on the internet is generally about power and control. I used to teach domestic violence trainings on this using the Power & Control Wheel (Duluth model )
(The Duluth model is a little out dated but an internet search will turn up P&C wheels for same sex and gender neutral circumstances, and variances that account for racism and other intersectional factors. It's tool that's been adapted well in some cases)
This tool helps both victims and bystanders understand the pattern of behaviors that keep people trapped in abusive relationships. Often on domestic abuse calls responders are faced with two people insisting the other hurt them, so how to know who is the real victim?
The Duluth model does a good job of super simplifying what responders and bystanders should look for, but generally it comes down to a power imbalance: a need to identify who has the real power and what kind of power it is.
So A might have the power to injure B, but B has this same power, plus controls A's finances/home ownership and has the power to injure A's children. If I'm first on scene and I can determine this basic info, I'm gonna assume A is the victim even if they hit B first.
Of course it's never this simple, and every situation has it's own factors, but usually if you look close enough, you suss out the power dynamic.
If B has financial gain to be increased, an army of credible followers, and claims accusations without proof or denies/ignores/buries them (example H Weinstein),
and A's accusations come with showing their own humiliation and embarrassment and they stand to only gain being discredited, bullied, and further humiliated (example Terry Crews), then where is the power?
Sure A could trying to discredit B, but overall how likely is that? And if so why? Is the 'why' credible? ("spurned lover/fan" sounds a lot like "bitches be crazy" is that credible?)
In our society victims come forward already knowing they will not be believed. Harassers and abusers use that against them. It makes it harder to see clearly what the power dynamic is certain situations. Especially if an accuser is unknown to you and the accused is your friend.
And victims can perpetuate abuse. A routinely abused spouse can retaliate or abuse others for their own sense of control. I have no doubt SH feels victimized and truly like people are coming after their livelihood. It's a real threat to them.
But SH, as an author, an exceptionally popular one, already holds massive power over readers and anonymous accusers. SH may have been been victimized in certain ways, but in recent events I couldn't determine what power the accusers had beyond having their suffering believed.
Many of us say "believe victims" and we mean it, but it can be really hard to live by it in your immediate life, especially when believing that victim may cause you or some one you care about hurt or loss.
But I stick by what I said yesterday, that people don't share humiliating, painful stories with strangers, opening themselves up to further humiliation and suffering unless they are desperate to be heard.
Are there exceptions, people using victim stories to scam others? Sure. SH did this, which made it very hard for some to see who the victims were, but SH always had all the power which made the decision for me to believe victims much easier.
When you're emotionally mired on something, like believing your friend is being attacked, it's hard to sit down and rationally determine who really has the power. This has been a hard situation for everyone.
I'm proud of the accusers who held their ground in the face of bullying and power bigger than theirs. I'm proud of the people who've admitted they were on the wrong side because they couldn't see clearly (and were themselves manipulated).
I've beaten my 'believe victims' stance and reasoning into the ground, I know (I have the power over it, heh) but there is so much hurt swirling around I hope many more people see the ways they were victimized, so everyone can blame the key abuser and heal and move on.
Enough blah blah blah from me. Everyone be kind to yourselves and others. Take the time you need to process and heal. If you need a safe person to talk to I'll be here for you in DMs as I can.
This was unfortunately ramblier and less cohesive than I intended, but I was once cruelly manipulated by a loved one in way similar to what SH's victims are describing and this has all felt much too close to my own pain.
In conclusion I hug you.
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