For those who have not kept up with this sordid story, the former megastar (Braveheart) -- who already has been in trouble several times for using his mouth as a Lethal Weapon -- has been apparently caught berating his former girlfriend Russian musician Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of their baby daughter, in the most abusive and profane language imaginable.
In the course of the nearly four minute recording, Gibson also says, “Yeah, you know what mean is now, don't you? So don't call me mean when I'm nice to you. Because I'd like to show you what mean really is. Bitch, [expletive], whore, gold digger! All true! You [expletive] proved it to me! If you're ever interested in proving otherwise, let me know. If you don't care, I know you know what you are too."
He allegedly goes on: “Look at yourself. And look what you've done. Look what you've [expletive] done! … You [expletive] excuse for a mother. You're a [expletive] bitch!"
I'd link to the YouTubes but my Star overlords would have my bleep-bleep. So let Google be your guide. it won't be difficult, I can assure you.
What's been bugging me about all this is that, judging from these tapes, I see Gibson as just another woman abuser, albeit one who is famous and has a lot of money. The celebrity trash media however have not been connecting the dots, treating this as some kind of oddity, as if Chris Brown never bashed Rihanna, as if Charlie Sheen hasn't been attempting to plead out charges of battering his ex Denise Richards, as if O.J. Simpson ... oh you get the point.
I wasn't gonna say much about it but then I got this email from Dr. Molly Dragiewicz, Assistant Professor of Criminology in the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
The release of the tapes of (what appear to be) Mel Gibson's abusive and threatening speech is an opportunity to have an informed and serious discussion about woman abuse.
As anyone who works with battered women will tell you, these tapes are a snapshot of garden-variety woman abuse.
Gibson's comments are explicitly based in patriarchal attitudes toward women. He expresses his feelings of entitlement to sexual service, his belief that Grigorieva's resistance to his abusive behavior justifies the abuse, and uses every sexist and dehumanizing slur in the book. At the same time, he sees himself as the victim due to Grigorieva's failure to "treat him like a man" in a submissive way that is satisfactory to him. Far from being extraordinarily monstrous, such comments are typical for men who abuse women. What is exceptional is that this kind of abusive comments have been publicly broadcast when they are usually kept private.
The tapes are a perfect opportunity for those who have never been abused to begin to understand the many reasons that abused women often don't report the abuse: threats of violence & death, financial dependency (especially for abused mothers who have taken time out of paid employment to take on the majority of child care), victim blaming from others, and the threat of losing custody of a child to an abuser.
This is what domestic violence looks like. This is why we need to continue to fund shelters for battered women and address the widespread cultural attitudes and structural factors that continue contribute to men's violence against women in 2010.
This story has been getting a lot of play in the entertainment sections and gossip blogs. it's been treated as titillating and amusing.
But it should be dead serious.
It should be on the front page.
UPPITY WOMAN DATE (19/7/10): Ooops. Got the wrong Charlie Sheen wife. This one is Brooke Mueller.