Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Accidental Social Experiment: Reactions to Domestic Abuse

It's well established around here that I am a gamer and sometimes my blogs have to do with people I know primarily through the internet as part of a group of people working together toward similar goals in a video game, aka: a guild. Normally these are stand-up people.

In fact I have encountered worse behavior offline more frequently than I've encountered it online and I think that's a testimony to the quality of friendships you can form long distance. Money, appearance, and social standing have little affect on these sorts of friendships, which makes the internet a fabulous place to make new friends.

You may find yourself at this point wondering, "What the hell does this have to do with domestic abuse?" I'll get to that in a minute. I just wanted to preface this entry with the fact that by-and-large I believe the Internet to be a positive influence in the lives of those who use it responsibly and though it can certainly also be a negative experience from time-to-time that that is not the norm.

I also feel obliged to state that I'm not even wholly sure into which class this example ultimately falls as while I have never met the offender 'in real life' she dated an offline friend and so they have known her in real life -- though he too had met her online first.

This woman is a piece of work. My opinion of her has never been high (she mistreated several other people I know before I even met her) but I've been nothing but pleasant regardless because people change (usually for the better, not the worse). Other than the fact that she compulsively lures men into relationships under false pretenses then breaks up with them once she has gotten what she wants (sex, money, validation, kicks, whatever); she vindictively lies for other reasons too, ones that have effected me in surprisingly unexpected ways.

Most recently (most recently being the launch of Guild Wars 2, so this is a somewhat old story) she co-founded a guild with my fiance and several of our real life friends. She decided, for whatever reason, that she wanted to rid the guild of my fiance. Rather than asking him to go, which is the real kicker: had she at any point simply asked him he would have voluntarily stepped down -- she felt the need to first remove any obstacles that would object to ousting him. It was easy enough. We're busy hardworking adults, when it was politely suggested that we step down due to our considerable time constraints, we did. She approached us as if she were doing us a favor and her request wasn't entirely self-serving (it was). With us out of the way she could have just kicked him out no problem, but no, this is not what she did either.

Instead she went around to the remaining officers who didn't know him offline trying to ruin his reputation; at first sharing information that was told to her years ago in confidence and when that did not illicit the negative reaction she had hoped (because why would it?), she resorted to lies. Not harmless lies such as, "He stole loot," or something concerning the video game we were all playing but lies about real life. To be brief, she told people he was abusing me. Which is completely untrue, let me make that abundantly clear. While I was no longer in a position of power I was still part of the guild at this time and you know what shocked me most?

Not the way in which people regarded my fiance thereafter, because they treated him the same as they always had -- but the way in which they treated me.

No one acted upset with my fiance for allegedly abusing me. I however became suspect of all manner of evil. I was accused of all sorts of things from power mongering (do power-mad tyrants typically voluntarily step down?) to being a puppet of my fiance (what even?)  and rather than offer any support at all to what they believed was an abused woman they shut me down. Never have I been so completely disregarded than when, for a month, a handful of people thought I was in an abusive relationship.

Just... my fucking god. Disgusting. I'm judging you people harshly. I hope when you walk through your living rooms you stub your baby toes on the coffee table. I hope when you microwave burritos that they are hot on the outside but cold on the inside. I hope someone spoils every TV show, movie, and future book you want to see/read. I hope your dogs forever smell like wet dog. I hope every time you open mail that you get paper cuts. I hope you bite your lips every time you eat spicy food. I hope they discontinue your favorite series, cologne, lipstick, whatever worldly pleasure you love most. Just, wow. You people. Wow.

Had it been true, here you have someone who you believe is in dire need of help, someone you just a week ago liked  or had a neutral opinion of, and rather than help her you cast her aside to fend for herself because??? Do you believe by remaining in the relationship she deserves it? Most domestic violence fatalities happen AFTER the woman has successfully ended the abusive relationship. So really, why would you blame a woman for staying out of fear of dying? What the hell is going on in your mind where the victim is ever at fault? What is your damage?! Why would your initial reaction ever be anything other than "is there anything I can do to help you?"

Never have I been so disappointed in a group of human beings.

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