not exactly

Monday, January 17, 2005


domestic violence on dr. phil

Let me say, first of all, that Dr. Phil is an asshole. I'm not sure what school of psychiatry he went to, but I have yet to see anything on his show that demonstrates he actually knows anything about psychology and/or therapy. Mostly he just plays the blame game, and in this instance it's the tried-and-true "blame the victim" game.

Granted, I only watched about five seconds of the show before I was too disgusted to keep watching, so maybe he's going to reveal something Shocking to make the things he says ok, but I doubt it.

In this piece, he's talking to a couple. The husband, Aaron, abuses the wife, Michelle. Again, the tried-and-true excuses of "she just likes to push my buttons" and "I don't think it's that bad." Michelle is a very standard and predictable victim, saying that she wishes she would know that he was going to hit her every day instead of living with the anxiety of anticipating when, or what she might do to trigger him. She also says that the best times in the relationship are directly after he has beaten her--the honey moon phase. This is the part where he apologizes profusely and makes her feel guilty for even thinking about leaving, because, after all, she was being a stupid bitch and deserved it, so if she would just not act like that he wouldn't have to hit her. She says that she also likes this time because she knows he won't hit her again so soon afterwards.

Dr. Phil's transition to commercial: "Next, we'll hear from Aaron's point of view."

I may not have a Ph.D. and I may not be a wife-beater and I don't exactly belong to the Good Ol' Boys club that Dr. Phil subscribes to, but in my world, there is no "Aaron's point of view." Aaron is an abuser. Aaron is a violent man who thinks the proper response to being annoyed is to hit someone. Aaron is an animal and doesn't deserve to voice his "views," because we all know that the only thing coming out of his mouth is going to be more excuses and more blaming his wife.

Look, this is what it comes down to, and it's very simple: No matter what people say to you, no matter how much they "push your buttons," no matter how irritating they are, you don't hit them. The only time it is acceptable and not animalistic to hit someone (or otherwise physically attack them) is in your own defense--and that's only if they have physically attacked you. Someone attacking you with words does not grant you using physical force.

When are we, as a culture and a society, going to stop granting the abuser the right to make excuses for his actions? When are we going to finally force him (or her, as it happens less often) to take responsibility for his actions, and, essentially, grow the fuck up?

When will we as a culture see guys like "Dr." Phil parading around their ignorace and hurtful attitudes on television and...not give him our money? "Dr." Laura's show was thrown off television because of the pure bigotry and stupidity she tended to spew; Phil's may be more subtle, but because of that it is more dangerous. And it has to stop.

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