Recently reading an article on the waves of feminism that included a picture of a woman carrying a sign that said, "CAN MAKE-UP COVER THE WOUNDS OF OUR OPPRESSION?" I was reminded of how battered women are expected to wear make-up to cover their bruises. Why is that? What kind of sense does it make to prescribe shame for someone for being hurt?
If we can't stomach shaming her for being hurt, we shame her instead for getting into a situation where she got hurt. Or if not that, then staying in that situation where she got hurt. As if we know her whole story, all her needs, and all her opportunities. And how "easy" it would have been for her to choose differently. We assume we know her, and her life is just like ours.
Unfortunately for her, blaming the victim keeps my eyes distracted from justice. I'm afraid I might see my own name on the docket. That would be embarrassing. And just not right. Poor little old me!
If you are the battered woman, I beg you to bare your bruises to the world in every way you can. Your bruised face in mine wakes me up to which side I'm on; I either pick up my tools and start fighting the injustice, or I point at you and support the ongoing harm. It's very clarifying.
Switzerland is not a third option. Standing still is just a pseudonym for enabling oppression. Knowing about injustice prevents me from claiming ignorance. We all get to pick, right now, whose side we are on.
Unsplash photo cred: Sasha Freemind