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Thoughts on Christy Mack, War Machine and Victim Shaming.

I said last December that my blog would make time to comment on things happening outside of movies, and I feel that this warrants it. Before I continue, I was going to make my comments about the heinous murders on the UCLA campus by a lone, disturbed gunman, and his final message he left on You Tube the day before; and the "Yes All Women" movement that took social media by storm after the tragedy. The reason I didn't is because I wasn't confident in my abilities as a writer to talk about subjects on gender equality and misogyny. The story in question, coupled with the lack of empathy have spurred me into writing this piece, along with advice from one of my social media friends, Ryan Adams.

By now you all should know the name Jonathan Koppenhaver, aka: "War Machine", but if you don't, here's the short version: the mixed martial artist fighter was being hunted by police for beating his then-girlfriend Christy Mack, at her home in Las Vegas, who was later arrested. The reason why this story gained traction is due to the occupation of the victim, being an adult film star. Mack took to Twitter and described in brutal, near-graphic detail about her ordeal, including photos. I'm not going to show them on here, mostly because they're chilling and really disturbing, so unless you have a strong stomach to see for the brutal aftermath of what she went through, they'll be linked here.

The crime itself is horrifying on its own, but I'm not talking about what he did. It's the comments made that sicken me and, in my opinion, are equally disturbing. If I've learned one thing about Internet/chat room comments and social media outlets, it's that you will eventually run into a hive of scum and idiocy (not to mention piss-poor grammar; but to be fair, I'm guilty of bad grammatical and spelling errors myself) that will bring you down for a few hours if you let it linger, which, in my case, it did.


This person just gets right to the point about it.
Jason August 12, 2014 at 10:24 am
I usually love your articles, but this one irks me a bit. I can agree that she didn’t deserve this, of course she didn’t deserve this, but the fact that she sucks dick for money leads me to believe that she makes poor life choices including decisions relative to her mate(s). She’s a porn star, what type of people does she expect to be in relationships with? I mean, come on, you can’t tell me this is a surprise? Sure, she didn’t deserve this, or any abuse for that matter, but she clearly makes terrible decisions and sometimes life has a way of telling you that you are NOT on the right track. I just want to put it all on the table. On the one hand, she’s a victim, but on the other hand she makes a living being subordinate to men sexually and professionally, why wouldn’t she do the same in her personal life? Again I’m not saying she was looking for this abuse, but I do think she could have avoided it entirely through her choices. Just something to think about.
There are many other comments like the ones made by the people I've highlighted, but for me, these two stick out. Apparently, being in a profession where sex is involved is directly correlated with being unable to be with a "normal" person, or have any kind of relationship that is fulfilling; or that Ms. Mack brought this on herself because she "sucks dick for money."

Are you out of your fucking mind?!

So what if she's in the adult industry; and so what if she she has sex on camera for money? When did being a porn star automatically make you less of a sympathetic human being? You can be a doctor, or a lawyer, or a sex worker at the Bunny Ranch - regardless of the profession, no woman deserves to be subject to physical violence! The two quotes also bring out something that's equally disturbing: the notion that it's her fault that she was beaten by her ex-flame. Let's get something straight here: It's Koppenhaver's fault, plain and simple. He was the one that went over to her place, beat up the guy who she was now seeing, and then turned his rage and aggression on her. There have been other accusations made by idiots on social media sites and on chat rooms claiming that Mack cheated on him while they were together, and that she hit him first, and that she was faking said injuries the whole time - both claims are completely false; Koppenhaver and Mack broke up in May, and there's been nothing in reports, both in the papers or in a police report, stating that she struck first - and even then, there's still zero justification for his actions.

As awful as this story is, and as disturbing as the comments are in doing my research for this piece, the scariest thing about this is that Christy Mack's ordeal is only one of over a million stories that women, like herself, have been through. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
  • One out of four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. 
  • An estimated 1.3 women are victims of domestic abuse/assault each year. 
  •  Less than 1/5th of victims who have been abused by their partner or whoever, have gone out and gotten medical treatment for their injuries. 
  •  1/4th of all physical assaults are even reported by the police.
I am a 24 year-old male. Statistically, it is very unlikely that I will ever encounter sexual or physical assault by a partner ever in my lifetime. At night, I can take a nighttime stroll around my neighborhood without much fear of being assaulted. Worrying about rape and abuse by someone I'm intimate with or by a close friend are things which don't even enter my subconscious. I don't have to think about being labeled a "slut", a "tramp" or a "whore" by society when I start having sex. Hell, they make films about guys losing their v-card as this rite of passage into becoming a man, and shows where a male character's sexual exploits are part of the comedy routine. If I wanted to, I could go on air, label a woman a slut for bringing up the issue of making birth control easily available for herself and millions of other women in the workforce, and not face much scrutiny from the company paying my checks, and continue perpetuating the notion that men who consider themselves feminists or simply don't act like varsity jocks on the high school football team, are pussies who have had their balls snipped off.

These are privileges I enjoy in today's society. And I feel I do have a responsibility to speak out when a man physically assaults a woman, and is subsequently made the victim because of her profession or her personal life, or when talking heads de-value the role of a woman in power, or when films resort to blatant objectification of female characters that add nothing to the story except to be eye candy for my gender's audience. I do know that I have to speak up and speak out about stuff like this, and I feel that we should as well.I don't hold the answers, but I believe we should do as much as possible to marginalize the War Machine's of the world, and his sympathizers.

By the way: If you would like to make a donation to help with Ms. Mack's medical funds, you can make a donation here, and every bit does help.

Comments

  1. Great post, Jonathan. I know from talking to you on Twitter this is a subject that you've been thinking about for quite a while. It's hard to believe in 2014 people could have these attitudes about women. I like to think it's a relatively small number of people who think that way, but I fear it's a lot bigger than we even know.

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