Did you hear about the poor guy who runs the DiGiorno Pizza twitter account who made the grave error of not researching the hashtag #WhyIstayed? He thought it was about love, so he tweeted, "#WhyIstayed You had pizza" with a picture of a lady giving some true romance to a box of food from the freezer section. Hilar! But wait - that hashtag was about domestic violence. [Cars crash in slow motion, a distorted scream escapes the internet. The coyote explodes from his own ACME bomb.]
Twitter was a mess after that, reaming DiGiorno and people had their pitchforks raised left and right about the brand and so unprofesh and Domestic Violence Is Terrible. Yes, I get that. No really, I get it. I grew up in a house that was the standard definition. Violence. Bullshit. I carried some of those attitudes into my adult relationships and even somehow sought out a partnership where the same type of crap went down. It felt oddly validating. Being hurt somehow meant I was loved because the guy cared enough to get mad, but you're too scared to leave because you believe you are damaged goods and who would want you? It's a sickness. Thankfully for me, it's all long in the past.
I don't normally bring these topics up because A) we all have our crap to deal with. My story isn't rare and in fact, as is the point of the hashtag, domestic violence is disturbingly common. A story broke yesterday about a woman held captive in a cage for two months in my hometown. B) Your life isn't perfect and neither is mine, so we can either wallow in our sorrows or focus on the good and I choose the latter. I have enough great things going on now that I don't think about the past (YAY for an awesome, gentle giant husband!) and C) You probably think I'm white trash now. Hey, you're only half right!
The real problem is C.
People don't talk about domestic abuse and what it feels like and how to change the cycles because people judge people in bad domestic situations. There is also a huge connotation of lower socio-economic status and domestic abuse, so when a person says, "I live in a house where I am hit" it feels like you're telling the world, "hi, I'm poor". What's the shame in being poor? Well, you don't know that shame until you've lived it and pile more shame about domestic abuse and other abuse on top and basically, the issues snowball on top of each other. It sucks. The other truth is domestic abuse happens in rich houses too and those keeping up with the Joneses are the most scared of anyone knowing things aren't perfect.
But back to our pizza guy on Twitter.
What bugs me is the misguided rage at Digorno. Here is a human being who made a mistake. He does not like domestic violence. Judging by his profuse apologies, he does not condone domestic violence. He doesn't sound like he perpetuates it in his own home.
The point of a campaign like #WhyIStayed is pointing out who really needs to be hung up to dry: abusers and those who make excuses for them. There are people, right now, being verbally, physically, sexually and emotionally abused in their homes. Right now, there are people making excuses for it. There are people who dismiss domestic violence as mere "accusations" and even people who think men laying their hands on women is somehow the natural order of things. This needs to come right out into the sunshine AND BE STOPPED.
So let's leave the guy who runs the twitter account for Digiorno Pizza alone. Get the real guys. I can't stand to see someone being treated like a lightening rod for misguided anger, especially when the real people perpetuating domestic violence are sauntering through their day.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm oddly in the mood for rising crust pizza for breakfast.
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