I’m sure everyone has heard about Mel Gibson being investigated for domestic violence. It’s hard to get online or watch the news without hearing clips from the released audio recordings. However, did any of you catch the victim blaming that took place on NBC yesterday morning?
Yesterday, Today Show Chief Medical Editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman, talked to Meredith Vieira and Judge Jeanine Pirro about Mel Gibson and the domestic violence investigation. The panel listened to a recently released audio recording of, allegedly, Mel Gibson threatening his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. For convenience, brevity and so I don’t have to keep typing allegedly, let’s just call the guy in tape, oh I don’t know, Mel. Here are a few statements that Mel made:
- I’ll put you in a f*****g rose garden…cause I’m capable of that!
- Get a f*****g restraining order!
- I will make f*****g life miserable
- You need a f*****g bat to the side of the head
- Don’t you dare hang up on me
- You f*****g deserved it.
- You hang up, I’m coming over there.
After listening to the tape Dr. Snyderman completely dismissed what happened and blamed the victim. (Dr. Nancy is a medical doctor who specialized in pediatric ear, nose and throat surgery. Why is she even allowed a national forum to give her opinions about these issues? Nothing in her bio on the Today Show website suggests that she has any knowledge of violence, domestic violence, victim services, psychology, psychiatry, or anger issues). Here’s what she had to say:
This is not to excuse any of the behavior on either side, but she was very passive aggressive. She was baiting him and really knew which buttons to push. She kept pushing, pushing him. When questioned by Meredith, Dr. Nancy clarified by saying She knew how to engage the rage. She was very quiet, used a soft voice. She pushed him, pushed him, pushed him in a very passive aggressive way.
Behavior on either side? Oksana barely said 30 words in the entire recording! Click Read More to see exactly what Oksana said to push his buttons.
Let’s see how she passive aggressively baited him and pushed his buttons.
- You need medication
- I can’t listen to this anymore
- I’ll call the police
- What kind of man hit’s a woman when she’s holding a child in her hands?
But Dr. Nancy doesn’t stop there. She calls Mel’s behaviors “rage, so primordial that you can’t control them“ and ends the segment by suggesting that this may be the result of brain damage from alcohol abuse, inflammation or a brain tumor.
Judge Pirro had a different take “At the end of the day, I listen to this tape and think, ‘This man is an angry, hateful batterer!’ He beats women. He says ‘You deserve it.’ This is a guy who at the end of the day will be a criminal.”
Dr. Nancy wasn’t the only person on TV defending Mel. On The View, Whoopi Goldberg completely downplayed and dismissed Mel’s behaviors saying “but I know Mel and I know he’s not a racist. He may be a bonehead. I can’t sit and say that he’s a racist, having spent time with him in my house with my kids.” Is that argument any different than me saying I can’t be racist or homophobic because I have black and gay friends? Or my favorite, “Yeah he’s racist, sexist and ignorant, but he’s a good guy.”
Domestic violence, child endangerment, death threats and verbal abuse make someone a bonehead? He admitted, on tape, to hitting her in the face while she was holding their child! He threatened to hit her in the head with a bat, kill her, and bury her in a rose garden!
Violence prevention educators often wonder why people have such firmly entrenched victim blaming and rape myth attitudes. Here’s why. A purported “expert” is allowed to go on national television to talk about something which they know nothing about and blame a victim for the crime.
You can watch the clip Today Show clip on Hulu here.
Update: We’ve had so many hits on the post thanks to our wonderful friends at feministing.com, I want to take advantage of that and hear some of your thoughts about victim blaming. What do you think the average person gets out of victim blaming? Why do it? What is the payoff? Post your thoughts below…