#Lindsay: Victim Blaming in the Media

Finding the best recipe on Pinterest. Sending your best DubSmash to a friend. Recording the most precious puppy and sending it as a hint to your parents. Let’s face it, modern media has granted us with some incredible advances in communication and information. Specifically, social media has allowed us to connect with friends while also staying informed. There was a time when the average person got their news from (gasp!) reading a newspaper every day and engaging in verbal conversation with friends! Now, I love all forms of media just as much as the next person, but I’m also very aware of the gatekeepers who decide what is “important” enough for us to be made aware of. It’s all too easy to allow yourself to only keep up with what’s trending and not think much about it afterwards. Let’s start by reviewing the top trending social media topics from August 2016, shall we?

  • The rollout of Instagram stories and how it may affect Snapchat (How will you choose?!)
  • Some guy who actually caught all the Pokémon (I’m secretly kind of impressed, there are a lot)
  • Simone Biles slaying the games in Rio (Insert queen emoji here)
  • Gabby Douglas’ hair (which is a topic for another day *groan*)

I’m sure that you’ve heard about all of these “stories,” but there’s one that should be on the list: Lindsay Lohan. If you haven’t heard about what Lindsay experienced last month, then don’t worry- you aren’t alone.

Earlier in the month, Lindsay was visiting the beach with her then-fiancé, Egor Tarabasov. After an argument broke out over a cell phone, Lindsay got out of the car to get away from an angry and violent Egor. Egor ran after her, grabbed her, and twisted her arm up and behind her while she yelled in pain, not even stopping when her breast fell out of her top due to her contorted body position. This was all in broad daylight. How do we know this happened? It was all captured on a bystander’s cell phone.

A beach full of people, and no one helped her.

I know what you’re thinking. Of course people helped, why wouldn’t they?! The media must have reported on this everywhere and I just somehow missed it! The public must be rallying behind her! The short response to those sentiments is: No. They’re not. Let’s examine why.

To be perfectly blunt, much of the media (and in turn, the people) don’t care very much. Lindsay Lohan is not America’s Sweetheart. Gone are the days of quoting her in an endearing way (“It’s Cady…”) or thinking of her yesteryears (The Parent Trap anyone?). To the world, she is beyond repair. Why does that translate (subconsciously for some) to her being unworthy of help and support? It doesn’t. It shouldn’t! For some reason, the media doesn’t think it’s important enough- it’s as normal to them as another Lohan mugshot. Some people feel that it’s no one else’s business except the couple’s- but can you imagine the outrage if it was Taylor Swift or Beyoncé instead? This is a horrible situation no matter who you are or what your past may be.

Do you find this lack of support from the public unbelievable? So did I! When searching the hashtag #EgorTarabasov, a whole slew of tweets came up. Among the most cringe-worthy, perhaps, came from this person:

“I guess his money and drugs are worth the abuse. You deserve everything you get. #LindsayLohan #EgorTarabasov”

Excuse me, sir. I think you misspelled #VictimBlaming.

And perhaps the worst of all:

“First time, shame on him. Second time, shame on you. #LindsayLohan #EgorTarabasov”

Did they really just tweet that...

As friends of TAP 808, you know that this is just another case of victim blaming. It’s not so easy to leave a relationship. Why did she stay? Why didn’t she report it? We don’t know exactly what Lindsay’s reasons were, but it’s common for people to stay in abusive relationships because of shame, isolation, fear of their partner, threats, and even love. Maybe Lindsay felt one of these things. Maybe she hoped he would change. The point is, there are all sorts of reasons that make it difficult for someone to leave right away. It’s our job as friends (and frankly, as a community) to meet someone where they are and not force them to do something they’re not ready for. That way, when they are ready, you will have created a trustworthy and open door of communication. (If this is something you are struggling with, contact us and we can help!)

How else can we help? Do our tiny voices really make a difference in the world? The answer is a big YES! Talk about these issues. Challenge victim blaming. Post about these double standards online and start a healthy discussion. Even something as small as a smile can speak volumes to a friend. Show your support for Lindsay, because she could be any of us. “Party girl” or not…everyone deserves a healthy, happy relationship where they are respected and valued. Who knows? Your support may seem small and trivial to you…but it could mean the entire world to someone watching. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Now go forth and love each other, support each other, and listen to each other- without terms or conditions!