Jessica Taylor…where do I start. The first time I saw her talk was at my first feminist conference. She was an epic blur of tattoos, great hair, mouth like a sewer and a truth teller. Just my kind of women.
If you have not read her stuff….do it now. NOW. Jessica is a champion for women and children.
Jessica talks about self-blame. Something that I have seen many girls and women do and something I have done to myself for a long time. Jessica talks about the fact that we are conditioned by society as women and girls to blame ourselves, which then leads to the point where if we are blamed for something such as rape or domestic abuse…we use that then to confirm what we “already know”. As an example, how many times do we hear questions such as “Why did she go to a room with 5 men if she didn’t want to get rapped” or “Why did she go a date dressed like that if she didn’t want sex” . Well fuck that. We need to ask why men rape. The end.
Jessica talks about thinking. Something that interests me a great deal. Counterfactual thinking is the process where you make reasons to why you have suffered something. For example
…if only I had not accepted him on Facebook, gone on a date and stayed with him for two years I wouldn’t be sitting here with a black eye. If that makes sense. It’s seeking out all the different ways and things you could have done differently to avoid abuse from happening.
Jessica talks about how to overcome this by blaming the person. Lay the blame on the person causing the blame.
Jessica’s new book “Why women are blamed for everything” is based on years of doctoral research. Years of study and research by Jessica. But it is also based on real life. Her real life. My real life, your real life. To be fair, JK Rowling is tweeting about it…. just saying….
We need #iwasblamedto go viral. We need to speak loud and clear so everyone can here us. Jessica is giving people a voice…so let’s bloody use it.
So here is my #iwasblamed
I have been blamed by men for many things in my life. When I was young, maybe 6, my dad said that the reason he and my mum were not together is because of me. Because I came along, and my mum stopped drinking. And its been like that pretty much since.
Counterfactual was my poison. I have sat for hours talking about if I hadn’t of done blah blah then this would not have happened.
But my biggest self-harm…because that’s what it felt like…has been self-blame. Wow…I do not think anyone has a real idea of what I have blamed myself for over the years. The guilt I have carried has been over whelming at times and has impacted on all parts of my life. I could sit here and talk about all these things that happened that I played my part in. But not anymore.
Today I told my ex-partner that he is a domestic abuse perpetrator. I told him that it is his fault that he hurts people. I told him that he is an abuser. And it felt so good to say it black and white like that. No shouting and screaming. No getting into a row. No worrying about the comeback. Feck that. No more.
“Shut up, I never hit you”
That line….wow. This man almost broke me once upon a time. He almost broke up the little family that I have. I know I have talked about this previously, but I think it’s important to get out there again…. I suffered domestic abuse and it was not my fault.
It was his fault.
He told me today in a text it was my fault. That “I asked for the arguments” and that “I wound him up on purpose”. I ignore those texts now. The are like the trolls that follow and comment on Jessica’s posts. Sad and pointless.
When I met him, he was charming and like a knight in shining armour. That quickly changed and the warning red flags were there from early on. My self-blame kicked in hard. What was I doing to make him change? Why did this always happen to me?
He asked similar questions…. Why did I keep making him angry? Why was I such a c**t? Sadly, we could not find the answers to these questions and so we just went on together. He is right, he never hit me. I hope he reads this as I have made a list for him. So…you never hit me, but you did:
- Shout in my face
- Call me every name under the sun
- Told me that either my friends fancied you or were no good for me until I had no one
- Smashed things up
- Had sex with me when you knew I did not want to, knowing that If I said no you would make my life a living hell
- Turned people against me
- Bullied me
- Pushed me
- Pushed your head against my forehead and shouted until your spit covered my face
- Threatened to take my child
- Told me I would not be able to do “This” without you
- Called me names in front of my children.
- Bullied the children
- Emotionally abused us all
- Belittled me
- Said you would hit me and get people “To smash my face in
He once said that my mum didn’t like me. When she was dying, I think 3 days before she died, she was high as a kite on morphine and I took her dinner up the hospital, her last meal actually as it turned out. It was sausage and mash. She couldn’t eat it so I picked up the half of sausage she had left and I ate it and as I ate it I said “You cant take it with you” and she said “ohh you greedy bitch”. Very much me and my mums’ humour.
He once looked in my face and said, “Your own mum hated you, she called you a greedy bitch”. She had been dead less than a year.
I could go on and on. I have reminded him of all of the above and that it was abuse and he always says the same thing
“You made me”
He is a fully grown adult man. Sometimes he will say it’s because of his past that he done some of the things he did. Or that he cannot control it.
I have never heard him say…Oh that…I chose to do that awful thing.
There have been others in my life that blame me. That enabled me to be my worst self and blame myself for their actions. Others also blamed me and still do.
His own mother, who knew exactly what was going on said to me once “You know what he is like, he gets angry, has since a kid, it’s not his fault” and that says a lot really. Another women aware of a woman being abused, and insted of stopping it or reaching out…makes excuses for the perpetrator.
“Why didn’t I leave” is the best one. Well why didn’t he stop being a parasite. I do not see anyone asking that question.
Here is something that kills me. When DV takes place and the child is involved the question is …
“But can the mother keep the child safe”. I have first-hand experience of a child being the victim of domestic abuse and the first question was “But can the mother keep the child safe”. Can the perpetrator to stop being an abusive monster…how about that?
Also, Domestic abuse and domestic violence…. I hate that terminology. I said to my ex once…if you done what you did to someone on the street you would be nicked…yet you know if I call the police they will put it down to domestic abuse. Shocking. But that’s another blog,
I have been the victim of domestic abuse. And it is HIS fault. He chose to do all of the above. Nothing I did made it happen. He chose to abuse me and cause me harm. He chose to continue that despite seeing the pain it caused me.
No more. I am not to blame for your actions.
I can’t do anything about what happened in the past. I am done with going over and over about what I could have should have done differently. No. I’m just stepping away from it.
I am raising a queen. She is growing stronger by the day. She speaks out when she sees wrong and she can come to me and talk about how she feels. I never allow her to self-blame. We talk things through and understand her part in things. She 100% knows that when a person does a bad thing to another person (Or an animal…. she would want me to include that) Then the person who caused the pain is to blame. I have taught her that from a young age. We have lengthy conversations about it. She asked me the other day why people do bad things to other people. I told her I do not know. That is the truth. She took that. She is 11.
If my 11-year-old can understand that the person who causes the harm is to blame…. Then why do grown men find it so hard?
If you are reading this and have ever been the victim of abuse or harm caused by others YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME. I don’t care what that little voice is saying in the back of your head…probs along the lines of “Yer, she can say that, but she doesn’t know blah blah”. STOP. They are to blame. They choose to hurt you. Its not OK and it’s not your fault.
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