Friday, July 23, 2010

Let's Talk About Mel Gibson

It always takes us a while to comment on a celebrity incident of domestic violence, because what we're really interested in is how pop culture in general reacts to the crime. Let's break down what we've heard about Mel Gibson.

First, we have reports that the couple are splitting up, but that things have turned "messy". Normally breakups that are "messy" don't involve a restraining order, but right off the bat Gibson's wife feels the need to seek legal protection. Her order against him is granted, but his legal team seeks an order against her that forbids her to speak publicly about their relationship. After all, he doesn't want to be held accountable for his actions, does he?

However, as in many cases, the details begin trickling out. He hit his wife while she was holding their child, he threatened her with violence, and he yelled racist and sexist epithets at her. He acted like every other batterer that the Women's Resource Center knows.

There are thousands of men who do exactly what Mel Gibson stands accused of doing. In the words of a sister organization, Casa Myrna Vazquez in Boston:

They don’t garner national attention like the Mel Gibsons, the Charlie Sheens or the Chris Browns. We’ll never see photos of the bruises they inflict on their victims, or hear audiotapes of their abuse. Their victims won’t be front page news unless they happen to die at the hands of their abusers. And yet the toll these abusers exact on their victims, and our society, is enormous.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, nearly 5.3 million incidents of domestic violence occur each year among U.S. women ages 18 and older. Imagine Mel Gibson’s rant repeated over 5 million times. That’s the reality on the ground. Intimidation. Insults. Physical violence. Death threats. It will happen to one in four women in their lifetimes.

The financial statistics, also compiled by the CDC, are equally alarming. The costs of domestic violence against women exceed an estimated $5.8 billion every year. That figure includes nearly $4.1 billion in the direct costs of medical and mental health care and another $1.8 billion in the indirect costs of lost productivity. Victims of domestic violence lose a total of nearly 8 million days of paid work - the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs - and nearly 5.6 million days of household productivity each year as a result of the violence they endure.
Gibson's wife is also being treated just like most victims. The media immediately dismissed the restraining order she filed as a ploy to affect their pending divorce. She had to tape record the violence and release it to the press just to to get the police to investigate her claims. And she has to face everyone under the sun, including other women, making excuses for him.

Meanwhile, his fans are waiting for any excuse to forgive and forget.

Hmmmm. This sounds so familiar.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Could you maybe blog about this?---

I would like to hear this blog's take on it. I have read some other things--and I just feel like they are missing something huge. This video is pretty scary to me.