You guys are intimidating. I feel like the little dog that snuck into the big dogs pen and if I don’t keep my head down you might boot me back into my own pen!
I’d love to cover the domestic violence work being done in SL, however I’m getting over a two week illness and I just don’t want to make that time commitment considering I’m a bit behind in both writing and my family. If only all events were scheduled at naptime! However, it’s when SL and RL collide that I kind of wake up. See for me, domestic violence has always been a family concern. It’s not at a distance. Having just seen my family, where there are still abusers, and then logging on to domestic violence in SL reminds me that it’s not just a family concern. It’s not that I don’t realize that it’s other women too, just more of a reminder that hey, you’re not the only one dealing with this.
My father is not an abuser. He’s a wonderful man. He’s a hippie. Love, peace, and happiness man. However there are 4 brothers and 2 sisters and countless cousins. It really amazes me that 2 of his brothers can be so vicious and he and my one uncle can be so….relatively normal. The first 3 years of my life were watching my mother get hit by my first step-father. Mom was a bit more picky on the second step since he didn’t hit her. Two of my aunts on my father’s side, of which only one has left. Quite a few of my cousins, except one, who really learned his lesson when he hit her and she ran over him with a car. He doesn’t hit women anymore. My first husband tried it once, he doesn’t hit women anymore either. And just for the record, realize that all my first memories except one are of my mother being hit. Violence in the home really wipes out a memory. Whether it’s dad hitting mom or even mom hitting dad. So you see I have a long history on all sides of the fence.
The problem is, I’m not sure what this accomplishes. I’m not putting anything down, this is a real question. What does protesting in SL bring? I get awareness, but I find it hard to believe, and this may be because I grew up surrounded by it, that there are people out there who don’t know that this is a problem.
Understand, I do not blame the victim. However, I think we need to recognize a mental issue, or more like emotional issue, in order to help these men and women. How you feel about yourself is part of the choices you make in life. At some time in these people’s lives someone very important to them made them feel worthless or gave them the idea that they deserve this treatment. Therefore every choice they make will based off that worthless feeling. Which is why removing the abused from an abusive home will never be the only answer. Many times these people will choose another abusive relationship. We’ve seen this same thing in shelters, where she leaves the abusive one and for some reason goes right back to him even though you’ve offered her a way out. It’s not that they LIKE being abused, it’s just what they feel they deserve it or that they feel they don’t deserve better. Those are two different feelings. It’s that same mentality I’ve seen growing up in the women of my family. That they deserve to be treated no better (or even worse) than the family dog.
One thing I’ve learned is that for a woman to escape domestic violence they have to want to escape it, to feel that they are worth more or deserve better. Otherwise they just go find another abuser and start the circle over. Something I’ve noticed in SL is a similar mentality to the women in my family. I’ve seen women led through stores chained like dogs. And as much as I try to respect that those in these situations have made their choices and they are adults, some of that leaves me wondering how bad one must feel about oneself to allow this. The insistence on speaking of yourself in the third person is a method of stripping identity and a technique used in brainwashing, yet is widely used through Gor roleplay. I believe, in my heart, being feminist means being WHATEVER you want to be, including some guy’s sex toy if that’s what YOU want. At the same time, I have to wonder if it’s a sign of bad self image that you “want” to be treated like that? Do they really want it, or is it that they feel they deserve no better?
The problem is, I have known so many abusers not just in my family, that I’m pretty dang certain that regular access to a computer game isn’t going to happen. If the abuser can’t exert control over it, you don’t get it. I think maybe a good use of this would be to spend some of this time offering women in SL with those same feelings the option of coming in to speak with women that have survived abuse. Or maybe having these same women go out to some of these sims and tell their stories and how they felt in their relationships and how they don’t deserve it or do deserve better. It won’t change the abusers minds, the abuser most times could really care less. If he doesn’t care when he sees the results of what he does, then he isn’t going to care when we point it out. But maybe you can find that woman that hasn’t gotten a new boyfriend/husband or hasn’t had one yet and reach her before he’s spent years tearing her down. Never forget that men too can be subject to physical abuse.
I can’t say I have all the answers. I can toss ideas out, I can tell you what I’ve heard other abused women say, I can give you my opinion as an abused child, but I can take all I know and wonder just what this particular activism will accomplish in SL. Knowing an abuser won’t allow his victim anything that is out of his/her control, knowing that the idea should always be reaching the victims and giving them the strength to get out, I just don’t know if this is effective. You’re welcome to give me your views though.
Just for the record, I feel the need to admit that I was one of two types of abuser: the accidental abuser. I wasn’t aware what I was doing was abuse (to my husband, never my children) since it wasn’t hitting. Which is why I advocate removing children from viewing it. I only learned ONE way to handle things as a child and it took therapy to show me the right way as a young adult. Admitting this is harder than admitting anything else in my life. This is not meant to tackle the complicated issue of emotional abuse, but to show how violent abuse in the home can lead to problems for children who’ve grown up in abusive homes, whether they themselves have been abused or simply from watching abuse. And maybe in the next few days I can share a story with you guys that is completely off topic gaming, but this woman is a hero of mine that to me is the epitome of a woman taking back her life.