Jan Brown, Executive Director of the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Woman, recently responded to the Salon article I posted about last week. Jan’s comments were on the mark:
For the past few weeks one of the the stars of MTV’s hit show, “Teen Mom,” Amber Portwood, has been the focus of a whole lot of media attention for her domestically violent behavior caught on tape towards the father of her toddler child Leah and boyfriend, Gary Shirley. Every news outlet from CBS to CNN to TMZ has written or spoken about the on-camera verbal and physical assaults that Amber has directed towards Gary. Gary, to his credit, has never physically retaliated.
Although I don’t know Gary personally I know thousands of “Gary’s” in similar situations. Gary, like other men in these situations who do not hit women or defend themselves against a woman’s violence, know the rules of the game i.e. if a woman hits you stand there in take it because if you defend yourself you’re going to jail. There is no excuse for abuse, unless it’s a woman doing the abusing.
For years women’s violence against men has been ignored, minimized and excused. However, this young women’s violence, caught on tape, has been hard to ignore or brush off. Had her violence not been caught on tape it’s likely that it would still be going on behind closed doors and no one would be the wiser…men don’t tell.
To view a 55 second clip of her physical and verbal abusiveness towards Gary click here And there is a lot more where that came from. One wonders how long the camera crew and producers would have let Gary get away with hitting, slapping, choking and berating Amber before stopping or reporting the domestic violence had roles been reversed.
Jan’s post is well worth a read.
I do want to address the last comment. MTV had a similar incident with members of the cast of Jersey Shore. If I recall correctly, the male cast member who punched the female cast member while in a bar was escorted out in handcuffs, arrested, bailed out, and had to attend anger management classes. This all happened within the course of 48 hours or so. Amber assaulted Gary months ago, yet she was not arrested, not cuffed, not charged, and apparently not investigated until recently. Even then, the only concern was that the child witnessed the violence, not that Amber was physically violent. It is an excellent display of the domestic violence double standard.