“Perpetrators pursue lines of work that give them direct access to their victims” – My therapist.
More often than not, there is a significant powerplay involved in abusive relationships (*non-romantic relationships included).
When we come to think of broad examples, a few spring to mind:
- Priests vs. devotees in faith
- Movie producers/directors vs. actors
- Teachers vs. students
- Coaches vs. athletes
- Doctors vs. patients
- Therapists vs. clients.
When we come to think of real cases of abuse versus powerplay, a few spring to mind:
- The Football Association scandal: Coach Barry Bennell, serial paedophile convicted of sexual abuse against 22 boys.
- The USA Gymnastics National Team’s Physio: Netflix documentary Athlete-A focuses on the gymnasts who survived Dr Larry Nassar, a serial rapist and sex offender guilty of sexually assaulting at least 265 young women and girls.
- Yogi, Guru, Predator: Hot Yoga founder Bikram Choudhury, who fled the United States, is accused of rape and sexual abuse.
- Hollywood Titan: Movie producer Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison on rape conviction.
- Top of the Pops host: Jimmy Savile preyed on 500 vulnerable victims as young as two years old.
And now, British actor-producer Noel Clarke is accused of harassing and bullying over 20 women.
Ever since the publication of The Guardian’s report, 7 other women have come forward.
Since the news broke, Clarke has been dropped by ITV, Sky and even BAFTA.
The London School of Dramatic Art (LSDA) issued a statement that Clarke set up improvisation scenes where he instructed students to strip down to their underwear and get into bed.
Predatory and coercive behaviour was known, yet no action was taken.
Clarke was just hiding in plain sight.
There is a lot to be learned from the recent outcomes and reactions following these allegations.
Where were the people who saw this and did nothing?
To believe that such an induvial can bully exclusively women is wrong.
Individuals who display abusive patterns of behaviour don’t discriminate. Furthermore, their immoral attitude and actions cross various areas of their lives. It is not uncommon for a perpetrator to be on the wrong side of the law in multiple capacities. E.g. is it a surprise when a murderer turns out to be a drug dealer too?
Narcissistic individuals are often mentioned on my blog. However, it’s also worth remembering their flying monkeys.
While some are the abusers, some enable abuse to happen. To see wrongful activities happening before your eyes, but not to speak up, intervene, help, or at least quietly report it, means that you share a part in inflicting the suffering upon victims. You might not be the one to metaphorically “pull the trigger” so to speak, but your inaction plays a significant part in contributing to the offence.
The temporary “discomfort” (reporting the issue) is nothing compared to the long-term effects victims of abuse experience (trauma, PTSD, fear, distrust, anxiety, depression..need I say more?).
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke (1795)
Ever listen to the lyrics of the Phil Collins song, “In the Air Tonight”? If you were to stand by and watch someone drown without trying to help or get help, how do you not share responsibility for their death?
What if Clarke is just the tip of the ice-berg?
There is a huge issue with the current system we live in, and it is screaming at us.
Protect survivors, not abusers.
*Please note that not all abuse occurs during, before or after relationships. Abuse can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
If you are suffering from Domestic abuse or know anyone who is, please get help
If you are worried that someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, you can call Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free, confidential support, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247. Visit the helpline website to access information on how to support a friend.
If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police. If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, call 999 and listen to the questions from the operator and, if you can, respond by coughing or tapping on the handset. If you are deaf or can’t verbally communicate. You can register with the emergencySMS service. Text REGISTER to 999. You will get a text which tells you what to do next. Do this when it is safe so you can text when you are in danger.
Other helpful sources:
National Help for Domestic Abuse https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk
Help after sexual assault https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/help-after-rape-and-sexual-assault/
Specialist support and services for victims and survivors of sexual violence https://rapecrisis.org.uk