Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My Momma Taught Me Better Than That!

I love Hip Hop music. Pertinent to this post only because it inspired the title. The complete relevant lyric is "I'm not gonna slam you on the Internet - My Momma taught me better than that!" The song describes a breakup and all the things the woman is NOT going to do afterwards. No, I'm not experiencing a bad break up...well, at least not in my relationship. I am experiencing it vicariously through MySpace, though and it's very painful and confusing.

Through the MySpace grapevine, I've begun reading a woman's post about her recent relationship. She describes in some detail how abusive her relationship was and provided her partner's first name. Something about this occurred to me when I read her first blog, but I trusted that she probably changed his name...no such luck...her second and third posts only confirmed what I suspected. Her former partner is someone I know and am friends with...and not just MySpace friends!

Many people have tuned in to her story and are commenting about how brave she is and how glad they are that she is sharing, but I have several concerns about her presentation:

1. She's basically trashing her x on the Internet
2. She's using this as a tool to process her former relationship and the issues she's raising may in fact be better served by working with a professional counselor
3. She's using her x's name and has identified enough aspects of his person for me to have figured out who he is, so it's highly likely that other people will have figured out that she's describing him
4. She's described very private issues related to his children - if people can identify that she's talking about him, they may also be able to identify his children and this information could be extremely damaging to them
5. She's presenting a one-sided view on a lifestyle choice that did not work in their situation and may have become abusive, but that works for other people and is highly susceptible to misunderstanding

In describing this, I find myself wanting to pre-defend that I'm not blaming the victim and wondering how much privacy an abuser deserves. Sexual offenders are required to register in many states, and it would be helpful to know from former partners if a boyfriend has been abusive in the past...but especially as this relationship was related to a BDSM lifestyle choice, it seems like discretion should be the rule.

I have considered raising my concerns with her or with him, but will instead pursue a course of watchful waiting. It breaks my heart to read this adult woman slandering/exposing someone (because in some respects it doesn't matter if it's true or not!) using the anonymity and open endedness of the Internet, because it can only be worse among adolescents and they are so much more likely to be damaged by this type of exposure.

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