On Victim Shaming: We Will Not Be Silent

Stop talking about it

Updated Below

I want to make something completely clear: Jessica did not ask me to write my previous post. In fact, she didn’t even know the post was coming until it was done. Going a step further, her abuser would label me as an enemy. I took it upon myself to post what I did in solidarity with her because I refuse to pretend this is a “private/family matter” that shouldn’t see the light of day. She took a big risk letting the world know what he did and how he behaved toward her. She knows what he’s capable of but still took that leap. I wrote my post to support her– so she wasn’t leaping alone and so our little twitter community couldn’t say “This is just a private spat between two people”.

Fuck that.

Abusers count on their victims remaining silent and their actions remaining hidden. When we have evidence that abuse occurred– and verbal/emotional abuse is as bad as physical abuse– we as good people should not be silent. Abusers should not be able to hide behind the cliche that this is a private matter. We’ve come too far to go back to that. We’re stronger than that. We no longer accept that.

But many people in the Left’s twittersphere have decided that discussing an instance of abuse, online and in public, is distasteful. They don’t want to see that. They want to discuss the “issues” and continue tweeting Obama to his presidency. They don’t like seeing this played out and their favorite twitter icon shown in a bad light. It makes them uncomfortable and sad. They’re conflicted so they tell the victim to just stop talking about it.

Update 1:
This is an example of what this post is about:

and then:

End update

Here’s a clue for those of you whining that it’s too ugly for your blushing eyes to handle: Abuse is an “issue”. It’s an ongoing battle that many women, children and men endure. Most of the time that abuse is kept “in house” and the abuser gets to say things like “There’s never been one woman come forward”. It is an issue that spans the political spectrum and effects millions of people. If this particular abuser were anyone else, you’d be chirping how awful he was and that he should seek psychiatric help. Instead you validate his claim that he’s being bullied unfairly. How dare anyone come forward and show his abhorrent behavior to the world! How dare anyone blog it or tweet it!

*Note: No one is alleging physical abuse. But if you’re intelligent then you know that emotional abuse is just as painful as physical abuse.

In many ways, emotional abuse is more psychologically harmful than physical abuse. There are a couple of reasons for this. Even in the most violent families, the incidents tend to be cyclical. Early in the abuse cycle, a violent outburst is followed by a honeymoon period of remorse, attention, affection, and generosity, but not genuine compassion. (The honeymoon stage eventually ends, as the victim begins to say, “Never mind the damn flowers, just stop hitting me!”) Emotional abuse, on the other hand, tends to happen every day. The effects are more harmful because they’re so frequent.
The other factor that makes emotional abuse so devastating is the greater likelihood that victims will blame themselves. If someone hits you, it’s easier to see that he or she is the problem, but if the abuse is subtle – saying or implying that you’re ugly, a bad parent, stupid, incompetent, not worth attention, or that no one could love you – you are more likely to think it’s your problem. Emotional abuse seems more personal than physical abuse, more about you as a person, more about your spirit. It makes love hurt.

Let’s look at some facts:

Verbal, Emotional, and Psychological Tactics1

  1. Using degrading language, insults, criticism, or name calling;
  2. Screaming;
  3. Harassing;
  4. Refusing to talk;
  5. Engaging in manipulative behaviors to make the victim believe he or she is “crazy” or imagining things;
  6. Humiliating the victim privately or in the presence of other people;
  7. Blaming the victim for the abusive behavior;
  8. Controlling where the victim goes, who he or she talks to, and what he or she does;
  9. Denying the abuse and physical attacks.

I’ll tackle these one at a time.
1. Using degrading language, insults, criticism, or name calling;

We know for a fact he does this. Listen to the audio. “You intolerant cunt”

2. Harassing;

She’s made clear that he’s contacted her friends and continued to try to call her even when she ended their relationship. In fact, if you look at Jessica’s posts in response to his you will see that this wasn’t the only voice mail he’s left her. He actually “apologized”2 for the wrong one. I have no idea how many of those he left her in his fits of anger, but I see the pattern.

3. Refusing to talk;

I guess this one doesn’t apply from the evidence we have.

4. Engaging in manipulative behaviors to make the victim believe he or she is “crazy” or imagining things;

In his latest note to Jessica he says this:

We even spoke of you getting counseling for your relentless brow beating of me whenever we had seemingly minor disputes. None of that made it into your blog narratives.

On Twitter someone said she was childish, he agreed. He’s setting the “narrative” that she’s emotionally unstable. He ignores the fact that he’s the one with the anger problem for which he should seek help.

5. Humiliating the victim privately or in the presence of other people;

Currently he’s doing damage control and so is very much trying to get her to shut up or at least get the rest of us to shut up. As we’ve heard on the voice mail (which, I will remind you, was not the only such one he left for her) he used very humiliating language.

6. Blaming the victim for the abusive behavior;

There is ample evidence of this, both in the voice mail and his response to her making the voice mail public.

From the voice mail:

You did that on purpose…stop driving me to this level of anger and pretending that you’re not aware that you do it. You know that you’re aware that you do it.

From the “apology“:

It was loud, intense, and used words I deeply regret. I am so sorry for them, and I wish I could take them back, but I can’t. I was furious. No, that’s wrong. I was totally and completely hurt and angry at you for taking our private matters into a public venue like Twitter as you had. After repeatedly asking you to explain what had suddenly angered you, knowing my countless enemies are always trying to game us and destroy me, I got no responses at all.

From his response to his behavior being made public:

Again that doesn’t excuse my vitriolic anger, but since recordings only reveal my reactions and not what caused them, they naturally work for you among your friends, or anyone disposed to thinking that any form of yelling into a telephone answering machine is evidence of, or suggestive of some larger form of physical or extreme abuse in person. We both know that never happened.

7. Controlling where the victim goes, who he or she talks to, and what he or she does;

He’s infamous for his DMs telling people to unfollow or block certain people he doesn’t care for3. She has admitted that she’s done these things for him in her apology to the people she hurt. I have to other evidence to show he’s gone that far.

8. Controlling where the victim goes, who he or she talks to, and what he or she does;

I’ve personally seen no evidence of this one. So, I’ll assume until otherwise notified this one doesn’t apply to him.

9. Denying the abuse and physical attacks.

There is ample evidence of this particular tactic. Just look at his blog or his twitter timeline. He’s denying it as I type this. As far as quoting him, look above. His non-apology and his response show in great detail how he denies the emotional abuse. Note: We are not talking about physical abuse here. Jessica made clear that it was not physical.

We have seen that abuse has happened and that it is ongoing– in his responses to her on his blog and twitter, his underhanded threats to her4. Yet, there are still some who say that this should be handled privately, that this shouldn’t be brought out into the open or that public squabbling is unseemly. They are uncomfortable with being confronted with the fact that someone they respect is capable of such things. They are conflicted because they’re not sure how to act. They blame her for being emotional.

Why is it a good idea for Jessica to discuss this publicly? For one, she was able to name her abuse and her abuser. By doing that, she took back her power. Secondly, she was able to find allies to support her. She found that she did not have to face this alone.

Because it is harder to name emotional abuse as abuse, it can be harder to heal from as well. The first step is to name your experience as abuse. Trust how you feel. Many people can identify the abuse once they know what to look for because they change from being outgoing, self-confident, and care-free to feeling nervous, anxious, and fearful in the company of an emotionally abusive person

She needs to get her confidence back. If you’ve ever experienced this kind of abuse, you know that it drains your very soul. He was able to take her self away and make her his. By naming him and her experience, she was able to take her self away from him.

If you know that you’re currently being emotionally abused, you’ll need to find ways to protect yourself emotionally; to reduce or stop contact with the abusive person; to find allies; to talk about what is going on, and to look into options to keep yourself from being further abused5

She reached out in a way we’re all familiar with– to her allies in the virtual world. Her friends and people who can empathize with her situation. She is finding support and healing from the damage he did to her in a way of her choosing.

So, let me be very, very clear here to the people who are telling us– and specifically her– to stop talking about this. When you tell her to stop talking about it, you are telling her to shut up and you are attempting to shame her into silence. That makes you part of the problem. That makes you his enabler and that makes you supportive of the abuse.

Does that make you uncomfortable? Are you angry now? Good. You deserve to feel that way. Imagine what the victim of the abuse feels like when you tell her that her experience is not worthy of your tender little eyeballs. When she sees you validating the person who abused her. It’s precisely people like you and your reaction to this that more people don’t come forward. Go sit in your corner, cover your eyes and pretend the only ugly that happens in the world happens to people you don’t know. No one’s stopping you from hiding to protect your delicate sensibilities.

But we will not be silent. We will not ignore it. We will stand up and say that this is enough. Abuse is a real issue that affects real people and, guess what, Sherlock, those real people are probably people you know. So, you can sit down and shut up now. Hide away deep in the crevices of the internet where real life never seeps in and your only exposure to real ugly is in a link your friend posted. The rest of us, those strong enough to actually look at what happened to Jessica and others like her, will stand with the victim and see real life the way it actually happens. And we will be very, very angry about it.

Update 2:

Jessica has updated her own post to include more voice mails. You can read the transcripts and listen to recordings.

Don't be silent

  1. Courtesy of “The Basics of Domestic Violence“ []
  2. I use that term very loosely because his apology was anything but. []
  3. Myself being on that List, which is actually quite comical. []
  4. That he will write his own tell-all and that she’s lucky he’s above that. []
  5. Courtesy of “Emotional Abuse: The Most Common Form of Abuse” []

I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.

When Progressive Men Abuse Women

Updated below

someone you know needs help

I’m an abuse survivor. I don’t know if I’ve ever shared the stories of my experiences on my blog. I know I haven’t gone into detail about it. My experiences aren’t special. Many people go through abusive situations, either as children or adults. Those of us who have lived through it tend to empathize with other victims. We understand the pain of being berated for having the audacity to be who we are or because we have feelings or because we’re not exactly perfect. We know that, yes, cruel words from someone you love can cause deep, painful scars. We remember that strength and healing can come from knowing someone out there actually cares.

I lived with emotional abuse during my most formative years. As a young adult, I believed that physical abuse was normal and violence was to be expected. It took me a long time to understand that normal people don’t hurt the people they love intentionally. Normal people don’t say things like “You made me this angry. You knew what would happen, but you did it anyway.” That’s what abusers say to control their victims. And then after they’ve been shown the tears or seen the broken heart they apologize with words like “I’m so sorry, but if you hadn’t done what you did I wouldn’t have done what I did.” They like to see the control they have over their victim. Maybe, in some deep recess of their tormented and broken brain, they actually do feel bad that their victim made them so angry. I don’t really care about their reasoning. I have no compassion for abusers.

You're nothing

If only you’d have stopped making me angry.
If only you’d have not been yourself.
If only you’d have realized that I’m capable of such things.
If only you’d have stopped before you let it get this far I wouldn’t have to put you in your place.

I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of both emotional and physical abuse. And, as such, I’m not one to sit back and pretend that I don’t see it or it’s not my business or, maybe, the perpetrator of such acts just needs a fucking hug. I’m not one to see something like this or hear something like this and act like it’s not really a big deal.

I’m not going to pretend like I know the whole story. I don’t need to because I heard the audio. He said this to her:

You did that on purpose, and don’t pretend you didn’t. Yes, an intolerant cunt. You don’t like it? Too fucking bad. You did that on purpose. I even gave you signals that you did it to me, and you did it anyway, because you’ve decided to be a passive aggressive bitch with me for over a month. Admit it! Stop making it my fault! Stop drumming me up, and…stop driving me to this level of anger and pretending that you’re not aware that you do it. You know that you’re aware that you do it.

Words hurt

He’s screaming at her. It’s her fault he’s screaming at her. If she hadn’t ignored his signals he wouldn’t be driven to such anger.

Then to make it even better, he apologized with this. Here’s the apology to her. Don’t worry, though, it’s still her fault.

I can forgive you for doing that to you and to us. I hope can forgive me for my inexcusable tone and words in that final voice mail. It was loud, intense, and used words I deeply regret. I am so sorry for them, and I wish I could take them back, but I can’t. I was furious. No, that’s wrong. I was totally and completely hurt and angry at you for taking our private matters into a public venue like Twitter as you had. And I was also quite drunk.
[..] Again, I am very, very sorry for my choice of words, and that tone. There was no excuse for my channeling my anger in that way, other than that I am human and make mistakes. But you know that about me, as I know it about you.
[…] You did that before my voice message. And you’re now still doing it long after. But none of that excuses my message at all. But neither does my message excuse humiliating us in public for no rational reason that I, nor anyone else can understand. Still, I will not retaliate for that. That is a promise. I will not share details of your life, just to “get even.” There is nothing to be gained but more pain, and I care about you too much to hurt you more than you already are

He says this on his blog:

Shoq stalks and harasses women (variant: he DMs them for “cybersex.”).
Try finding some of these women. You can’t. It’s just one of these things trolls will say because it sounds so controlling and dangerous.You’ll generally just run into dozens of women who know me personally who will point out that I am rather popular with women on twitter.

He goes on to point to this blog as an example of someone trying to railroad him (though in his post he intentionally adds the wrong url). It quotes anonymous women telling of what his tactics with dealing with women. Tactics that have now been shown to be true. So much for trolling, huh?

Ah, so now we have proof that he’s an abuser. Recorded proof and an admission. Considering that other women have anonymously confirmed that he’s done this type of thing before, I guess we can call this a pattern.

At this point I should admit that I’m not fond of vdaze because of the way she behaved toward some folks in the past, in defense of him and prior to seeing the real side of her abuser. She hurt some people that I care about and went on crusades against people who she felt were causing harm to him. She was what we called a “mean girl”. Some would say that she was a bully herself at points. But she does not deserve this. No woman does. I don’t give a fuck who they are. I know what that kind of shit feels like and she doesn’t deserve to know it too. When I say I stand for women’s rights and I’m a warrior against the War on Women, I’m not just talking about keeping the government out of our uteri. I’m talking about standing with other women when men– with or without any modicum of power– attack them. I won’t stand silent because I disagreed with her. I won’t pretend I don’t care what happened to her because of some bullshit Twitter drama. I read that post and heard that recording and it infuriated me for her and for any woman who has ever been on the receiving end of that1.

She’s afraid of him. She knows him so well that she felt the need to inform her employer about a possible retaliation2. She feels like she should get a restraining order. She’s protected her twitter account so he can’t see her (though he gets reports and possibly has a sock account to watch her). The other women mentioned in the other blog are so afraid of his retaliation that they wouldn’t even use their real name. She knows what he’s capable of and it scares her. She shouldn’t be afraid to break up with someone. She shouldn’t be afraid to move on with her life.

According to this blog post, that also has a recording featuring our perpetrator, he has political connections and is willing to use a private investigator to get information on anyone he sees fit. These women have a reason to fear him. They fear this so-called Progressive man who supposed fights for women’s rights. Who uses women, abuses them and then intimidates them– while sitting on his Twitter account all day playing like he’s the knight-in-shining armor.

Here’s an example of his support system, which was posted after it became known what our Chief abuser is capable of:

This bothers me. It bothers me a lot. It bothers a lot of people3. It bothers her the most though. Because he’s got her in his sights and is pissed at her and wants her to feel sorry.

I’m not writing this for myself, but for other people and for her. No one should be afraid some anonymous4 asshole on Twitter is going to ruin their life. If this was done by anyone on the right and we caught wind of it, we’d be screeching far and wide. “Look what they’re capable of! This proves that the right hates women!” We ignore it when it comes from out own side though, don’t we? Not all of us, of course. Some have stood up for her and offered to be there for her. Others have offered advice to help her in dealing with this person. No one should be afraid of standing against him while offering her support.

But there are plenty of Progressive men and women who are pretending it’s just a “family” issue. One even had the gall to say she felt like a child in a divorce. He made clear that particular “feminist” was spending time helping him through his difficult issue. As if this kind of silly little argument is ok and there’s nothing wrong with what he did to her. When we ignore it from our own side, while shouting about it when it’s from men on the other side, then we what does that make us?

I’m frustrated because 1) hearing that recording triggered me, 2) he was able to call this a “mistake” and compare himself to mentally ill artists and 3) the people DMing me to tell me what’s going on aren’t making this noise themselves. He still sees nothing wrong with what he did and he still gets accolades from Progressives. Even Progressives who can’t stand him haven’t stood up to say “Hey, motherfucker, you’re sick and need to shut the fuck about women’s issues. Get your own fucking self in order before calling out anyone else.” Because of my own frustration I decided to write this post. Why? So later, when someone says “Oh, he’s a good guy with lots of good ideas and blah blah blah” I can point back here and ask “Does a good guy do this to someone he supposed loves?” No, good guys don’t do that. Good guys don’t create such havoc that a woman breaking up with him gets verbally abused and feels the need to protect herself against intimidation and retaliation. Good guys don’t show a pattern of this kind of behavior. Good men possess the ability to let shit go and not feel it’s ok that someone they love is afraid of them.5

More importantly: Good people don’t ignore it or excuse it.


Some folks call this damage control. Rational, sane and normal people call this a threat.

Screenshot because he deleted the original tweet.

There’s a lot of talk about this post, vdaze’s experience and Shoq’s abusive personality on Twitter. He’s pissed. He’s now decided to threaten her. She should know that we’re not going to let him get away with this. Not again. Not this time.

And, no, motherfucker, I’m not anyone’s sockpuppet. I’m someone who you can’t scare and you can’t threaten. You have no power over me. If you didn’t want the world to know what really happened, then maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t have done it.

Update 2:

The ol’ “There’s two sides to every story schtick. Sorry, buckaroo, too late. You’ve already admitted that you did it. We’ve heard the audio. It is not her fault.

Last Update:

I just want to point one thing out. Shoq “apologizes” to vDaze, which you can read here (along with her response to his post), but mistakenly thinks the voice mail that she uploaded was recent. She notes that the voice mail we’ve heard is from January 25, 2012. I don’t know how many of these drunken, enraged voice mails he’s left her, but since he’s confused about which is which, I’m guessing more than one. Think about that.

  1. If you know me at all you’ll refrain from coming into my comments or my Twitter mentions to say that she earned this for whatever reason. I have no use for that and if you feel the need to voice that then you can fuck right the fuck off. []
  2. He basically admitted something of the sort in his “apology” and has been shown to do such things. []
  3. Many of whom have DM’d me privately that I should gather up Progressive women to rain down fire on this asshole’s head, while not doing the same from their own accounts. []
  4. Not really anonymous, but he likes to pretend. []
  5. Full Disclosure: I haven’t liked this man for a very long time. He’s a bully and a liar. He likes to take credit for ideas other people have had. Usually I just like to mock his ridiculous, narcissistic behavior and I had a field day when he actually threatened to sue another Twitter user for something someone else said. He doesn’t like me either, so there’s that. []

I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.