Victim Blaming: The Today Show is Ridiculous

While the Mel Gibson story is still fresh, many news outlets are discussing the fight caught on tape by radaronline.com.

Most analysis is limited but one I found was so horrific I had to post about it.

The wonderful Men's Anti Violence Council has an extended analysis of the Today Show's attempt at addressing the abuse endured by Mel Gibson's partner. The Today Show's Chief Medical Editor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, made this statement about the taped conversation:

This is not to excuse any of the behavior on either side, but she was very passive aggressive. She was baiting him and really knew which buttons to push. She kept pushing, pushing him. When questioned by Meredith, Dr. Nancy clarified by saying She knew how to engage the rage. She was very quiet, used a soft voice. She pushed him, pushed him, pushed him in a very passive aggressive way.

First, this statement implies Oksana (or any victim of Domestic Violence) was partial at fault for the assault she endured. No one can EVER do ANYTHING to deserve (Dr. Snyderman says "bait" which reads deserved) emotional or physical assault from a partner. If a partner is a batterer, it is a learned behavior that can emerge with any partner -- it has nothing to do with the victim.

Dr. Nancy Snyderman is also an example of someone with absolutely no experience or expertise in domestic violence that feels she can pass judgement on a situation she does not understand. Dr. Snyderman is a ear, nose, and throat doctor (a degree that teaches nothing of the psychological and social causes of DV) and has a platform to discuss a very serious and violent epidemic.

It is this type of media coverage that encouraged us, at Sojourn, to start this blog and I am glad I can write about this infuriating discussion of DV. Hopefully I have dispelled some misconceptions about DV that were reinforced by the Today Show interview.

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