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PopWrapped | Current Events

Meredith Vieira Lends Her Voice For Those In Abusive Relationships

Sharmake Bouraleh | PopWrapped Author

Sharmake Bouraleh

Updated 09/17/2014 8:30pm
Meredith Vieira Lends Her Voice For Those In Abusive Relationships | meredith vieira
Media Courtesy of Metro
Beloved journalist, host, and TV personality Meredith Vieira has come forward to acknowledge her past as a survivor of an abusive relationship. First off, congratulations on your bravery. My opinions, as I said for Vanessa Williams' revelation as a survivor of sexual abuse, are utterly irrelevant, as those are personal experiences and I have no right to comment on them. But my job is to give my unwarranted two cents anyways, so let me just pre-empt that my opinion has no bearings on them at all, and you should probably not heed them at all, good or bad. It's not my place to congratulate them, because I'm irrelevant in their experiences, but since I have an audience, and this needs to be written up, here you go. That said: it takes a lot to come to terms with the consequences and after-effects of being in an abusive relationship, as well as acknowledging that you were in one. Furthermore, it takes even more courage (or, if it's gotten to the breaking point, understandable desperation) to recognize you deserve better, that you are not at fault, and that you are able to, can, and should get out of there. In light of recent events with Ray Rice and his wife Janay Palmer, and in wake of the trending tags #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft, Meredith revealed that she was in an abusive relationship, "many, many years ago as a young woman", and wanted to explain to everyone why she stayed.
It started out, I loved this guy. It started out, we'd have a fight and he'd just sort of grab my arm. I didn't think a lot about it, and then it turned into pushing me into a wall and then it went beyond that, to [his] actually taking his hand and grabbing my face and saying, 'I could ruin your career if I wanted to and no one would watch you.'
She goes on to say that despite the fact she's a smart woman, during the time this took place, she overheard so many people say, 'Well, who would stay in that situation?' Her answer?
Somebody who doesn't have the wherewithal to get out, the means to get out. [But] I had that. I had a job at the time, and I kept in this relationship. I've done a lot of thinking about why, and I think part of it was fear. I was scared of him. I was scared if I tried to leave something worse could happen to me. Part of it was guilt, because every time we would have a fight he would then start crying and say, 'I promise I won't do it again,' and I would feel like maybe I contributed somehow to this – and they are saying this about Ray Rice's wife, that it takes two to tango.
Justifiable fears, for sure. Men are crazy, and a lot feel as though they have this undue sense of entitlement towards women, and when women rebuff their advances, they can get incredibly violent. We see it all the time. Another hallmark of an abusive relationship is, after you get abused, the abuser makes you feel guilty, either because they claim you "forced [them] to hurt you" or "if you had just listened to [them], [they] wouldn't have had to hurt you!" or "[They're] sorry, [they've] just been under so much stress lately, and your nagging and setting [their] temper off hasn't been helping. It won't happen again, [they bullshitingly] promise." You are never at fault in an abusive relationship. They have no justifiable reason to lay their hands on you, to throw anything at you, to emotionally blackmail or humiliate you, or touch you when you have denied and/or withdrawn consent. Meredith continued to share graphic episodes of her relationship with her abuser, revealing how he kept turning tables on her and making himself out to be remorseful, or the 'victim' (a word I dislike in these contexts, as it implies that one is weak and constantly victimizes them as opposed to the affirming and supportive 'survivor'):
There was the night, we shared an apartment, and he threw me into a shower, naked with scalding water, and then he threw me outside into the hallway. We lived in an apartment building, and I hid in the stairwell for two hours until he came again, crying, 'I promise I won't do this again.' I continued to stay in that relationship until I was offered a job in another state, and that's where I felt I had the ability to get away.
Wrapping up her segment, she stressed the following:
Domestic violence … is really, really a complicated issue. It's not so easy to just get away. You think it would be, but it's not. Having said that, if my daughter Lily, who is now 21, was in an abusive relationship, even if she thought she loved this man, I would say, 'Go. Just go.' We didn't have shelters when this was happening to me. There was no hotline. I would say call the hotline. If you are going through this, get yourself to a shelter, by all means tell somebody what's going on, let somebody know. That's just my experience with it, and I know it's rampant in this country, and we all have to accept the fact that it's not just an issue with the NFL – it's an issue with all of our lives, and until we take it seriously, more and more women are going to get abused.
Right on, Meredith. Lay down the truth. Ladies and gentlemen who are being abused, please know that you are loved, that you are important, and that you have every right to end the relationship if it's making you unhappy. If you are worried about being met with unholy retribution should they find out you are leaving, try and inform a friend or family member or a loved one. Call a hotline. Get informed, stay safe, and get out as soon as you can. You can learn more with a quick Google search for domestic violence hotlines. Here's the most prominent one for the Americas: Stay informed, Poppets. Stay safe.

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