Kelli Melyn Thompson, a 19-year-old woman and BYU-Idaho student, was arrested Monday at The Willows Apartment Complex for the alleged attempted strangulation of her boyfriend or ex-boyfriend and the battery of a woman present on the scene.
Violence cannot be ignored. Just to be clear, we are not commenting on Thompson’s guilt or innocence. Our point is that violence, no matter whether it is against a man or woman, is inexcusable and should not be minimized.
One in four men will be victims of some sort of physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime, while one in seven men experience severe physical violence, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. An estimated 5,365,000 men were victims of physical violence in 2011, according to a National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence survey.
But the thing is, not only does a lot of violence go unnoticed, when we do pay attention to it, we make fun of it.
Thompson’s case is just one of millions taking place against men across the U.S.
So why is it when the alleged offender is a woman, we don’t see the incident the same as any other act of severe physical violence?
If the roles were reversed, we wouldn’t be joking and laughing about it. We’d be appalled.
If the roles were reversed, we wouldn’t think he let his feelings get the best of him. We’d think something along the lines of, ‘maybe we should show him the kind of pain he’s causing’.
If the roles were reversed, we wouldn’t be thinking that his hormones must have clouded his judgement. We’d think he clearly knew what he was getting himself into.
If the roles were reversed, we wouldn’t excuse his behavior. We’d expect that he be dealt justice.
If the roles were reversed, we wouldn’t be embarrassed or feel pity for his actions. We would feel like he deserved his consequences.
If the roles were reversed, we wouldn’t be concerned about his future. We would expect him to deal with it.
If the roles were reversed, we would expect it was done out of eruptive anger or spite. We wouldn’t see pain or betrayal or an adult perpetuating what he’s seen in childhood.
Because we see what we want to see.
We don’t want people who abuse others to be human. We don’t want to be like them.
We don’t want to know their favorite band is the same as ours, or that they used to play on our soccer team. And we judge more than our allowance.
We encourage certain people to seek help while we expect others not to. And if they do, we judge them for it. We neglect to tell them about the resources available to them. We expect them to rub some dirt in it and move on, even when psychological scarring is apparent.
On average, more than 10 million women and men are abused per year, according to National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
As Scroll, we’re asking you to see differently. We’re asking you to recognize abusers for what they are: human. We also ask you to see victims for what they are: human.
We’re not asking you to condone abuse or dismiss those who harm others from their responsibility. We’re asking you to be fair. We’re asking you to report violence and abuse. We’re asking you to be understanding and rooted in what is right.
We’re asking you to be a true help to victims. We’re asking you to promote healing — to help a victim as much as they allow and respect them when they say no. We’re asking you to stand up to people making light of situations that have a much deeper effect than many of us can even realize because many of us haven’t experienced them.
And we ask that you never choose to follow this path yourself.