Thursday, September 20, 2012

Legitimate Problem...or Crying Wolf?

Hello all,

Hope you've had an excellent fall so far.  For me, it's been different.  Living in other countries and dealing with the weather is always an adventure.  We had very little summer, but I'm holding out for a nice long autumn.  LOL

Anyway, today's blog is about perception.  How we look at things.  How things are intended.  We all know that perception is huge, not only business, but in our daily life as well.  But what happens when daily life is taken to the next level and put on display.  Or is it???

This is the latest brouhaha in media.  The cover on Vogue magazine.  According to many domestic abuse advocacy groups...

this image of model Stephanie Seymour, appearing to be choked by a lover, glorifies violence as an act of love.

Now, as you all know, I have written a book to address the despicable problem of domestic violence.  Second Chances III: Life's a Dance touches on this horrible and cowardly act.  And, I've had personal experiencing it's aftermath.  So I feel I can safely say I have a right to weigh in on this cover.

And in my opinion, saying this cover promotes domestic violence only hurts the cause as a whole. 

This cover isn't's sexual.  

Just because the man has his hand around her throat doesn't make it abusive.  That's like saying having a man's hand on your ass is abusive.  Because it might lead to spanking.  *rolls eyes*

Can it be abusive?  Of course it can and often is.  But saying this picture shows domestic abuse is ridiculous.  When I look at the picture I see an amorous embrace--one probably leading to sex. 

While it isn't something that turns me on, even erotic asphyxiation can be used to heighten arousal.  And while I don't think this is what is happening here, EA isn't domestic abuse.  It's a sexual act between two consenting adults.  Just like spanking can be.

So why are the watchdogs howling in protest?

Perhaps it's a way to bring their concerns about domestic abuse to the media.  To make it more mainstream, but I really don't think pointing out a photo on the cover of a fashion magazine is the way to do it.  If you really want to highlight domestic violence, tell people the truth.

When I did my research on Life's a Dance, I discovered so many horrors about domestic abuse, I cried for hours.  I've been involved in dealing with this problem since college, but having the statistics staring me in the face, just broke my heart.

The forward in my book says this...

According to statistics, an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical or emotional abuse by an intimate partner each year.  85% of domestic violence victims are women and historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they know.  Females who are twenty to twenty-four years of age are at the greatest risk, but unfortunately most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.  
Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.  In addition, one in four women (25%) has encountered domestic abuse in her lifetime.

Those statistics are heartbreaking.  Find a way to show those to the public, instead of pointing out an artsy-fartsy cover on a magazine and crying wolf.  Because we all know what happens when you cry wolf.

People stop listening to you all together. 

What do you feel about the cover?  How do you think we can fight domestic violence.  Let me know in the comments below.


CJ England
Follow Your Dreams


Phylis said...

To me the cover is not abuse, it's not even the asphyxiation deal. You read a lot of stories where the man's hand glides along her throat and tips her head back, etc. That is what it looks like to me.
I think you are right in that it needs to be put out in to the public. Maybe some brave woman will step forward and tell her story and then maybe someone else will tell hers and on and on. Domestic violence needs a face. Someone that people can relate to. Rhianna had the chance and she blew it. She could of been a force for good.

India-Jean Louwe said...

I totally agree CJ. I rather like the cover. I don't see anything hinting at abuse at all. What I see are two people completely consumed and enraptured with each other - mutually.
Those stats are very frightening. And you are absolutely correct in saying that therein lies the problem that needs addressing.

Unknown said...

I'm in total agreement. Pretty soon these groups will scream enough and people will simply turn their head away instead of taking notice. I know that's what happens to me when I'm constantly bombarded with ridiculousness over and over. I think this cover is sexy but that's just me. I even think some images of S & M are sexy but still don't assume they are abuse. I've seen the aftermath of abuse and have been on the receiving end and this is so not abuse! Thanks for sharing CJ!

Fedora said...

I agree with you, CJ--while I don't believe abuse should be hidden or kept silent, I do agree that pointing fingers at situations at are clearly NOT abuse doesn't help bring light to situations that clearly are. It just makes you look like you have questionable judgment, which just hurts you in the end :(

Ray said...

I agree that the cover is not abuse. There is no pressure on the throat. Most of the hand is lifting the chin. The thumb is on the jaw and the index finger is getting ready to go in the man's mouth.

I once had a short relationship with a woman who was up for anything except a hand on the throat. She told me that she had been raped and a hand anywhere near her throat brought back memories of that incident.

Mariska Hargitay, daughter of Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay works tirelessly trying to help abused abuse victims and has written a couple of the scripts and directed episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The show is supposed to be most are patterned after recent news events.

I bring this up because I just got an email from her on behalf of her charity. ( Hargitay is founder and president of the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization that was set up in 2004 to provide support to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse). It is almost a synchronicity that this blog should come almost directly after her email.

She is one of my heroes.

CJ England said...

I agree, Phylis. She could have stood up for DA, but she didn't. It's too bad, really.

CJ England said...

Enraptured...that's a good word for them, India-Jean. Totally caught up in the moment.

CJ England said...

I think that's what bothered me the most about all this, Shelley. Crying wolf makes people ignore the problem.

CJ England said...

Fichen, you're so right. It takes away from the problem when you point out something that isn't abuse.

CJ England said...

I watch Special Victims, Ray and also admire Mariska Hargitay. She's stood up for women for years and really made a difference.

M. S. Spencer said...

I absolutely agree with you C.J.--too often people with a legitimate cause use inaccurate examples or even make things up to prove their point--then get huffy if someone stops listening. You can't address an issue properly if you've already discredited it. I think it also helps your cause if you are open to corollary issues-like domestic violence toward men, which does exist. If you're single issue person, you're often perceived as not very sympathetic. Excellent blog. M. S. Spencer

CJ England said...

Msspencerauthor, I agree with you about the DA towards men and the lack of info on it. People don't believe men CAN be abused, and that makes it even worse. The shame for a man is tenfold.