The Real Housewives of Enabling Abuse

So the second season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills has come to a close (well, except for the reunion shows, which we all know are the most important parts). And I have to confess, these ladies are my favorite Housewives. (For the record, I’ve also watched NY and NJ although not the last season of NJ and not the last two or three of NY. I’ve seen the ladies of the OC on occasion but never, like, a full episode. And I’ve not watched Atlanta. Just viewing the commercials brings up my liberal white guilt.) But this season, oh, boy, this season I wanted to smack every one of them. Except for Taylor. Because she was getting enough of that at home.

Seriously, this season was like a study in what not to do if your friend tells you s/he’s being physically abused by his or her partner.

1. DO NOT expect that the minute you’ve heard this piece of information, your friend is packing his or her bags. Because, first of all, many, many people don’t leave right away, for many, many good reasons. And also, the first you’re hearing about it is not the first time it happened. The relationship lasted through other violent incidences; it will probably last through the abused person telling you.

2. DO NOT decide that, since your friend has not left the relationship, your friend is lying about the abuse. People in abusive situations have a hard time leaving. I know I just said that, but it apparently bears repeating, because even if it’s the one thing everyone should know about domestic violence, the ladies of this show had never heard of the concept.

3. DO NOT justify your disbelief by saying things like, “If we don’t see it, how are we supposed to know?”or “He’s always been nice to me,” like it’s somehow surprising that this person who obviously values control hasn’t hauled off and smacked his or her partner in front of you.

4. DO NOT say “There’s three sides to every story; his side, her side, and the truth,” as Adrienne insisted on doing over and over. You sound like you read that in a fortune cookie. And, while it’s true sometimes, this isn’t about divining “the truth.” This is about helping a friend who’s in trouble. Who has reached out for your help, only to watch you shrug your shoulders and say, “Look, I haven’t seen anything. He’s always been nice to me. There’s three sides to every story.” Remember up a few items, where we discussed them not leaving right away? One of the reasons is because when they tell friends what’s up, they get nonsense like this.

5. DO NOT reveal stuff told to you in confidence on camera. I don’t care how mad you are that your friend is confusing you. The friend who is being abused has bigger shit to worry about than your confusion. Like his or her safety.

6. DO NOT gather together your girlfriends to whine – on camera – about how abused you now feel, now that your friend is mad at you for talking about his or her abuse – on camera. Do not treat this like your friend failed to invite you to a party, or said you looked fat in that dress. Your friend has a real problem. You sound like a heartless moron. Oh, and if you are, say, involved with the production of a reality show on which a person is dealing with abuse, you, also, should not behave as if this is the latest “juicy scandal” of your show, on a par with that time Camille was mad at Kyle and didn’t want her to come to her soon-to-be-ex-husband’s premiere. It’s not the same. It’s not in the world of “the same.”

7. DO NOT, oh my God, DO NOT gang up on the couple at a major party en masse and kick them out and furthermore make them stand there while you tell them why you’re kicking them out and try to get them to agree with you that they deserve to be kicked out and place your friend in the position of disagreeing, publicly, with his or her abusive partner, when s/he knows damn well s/he has to go home alone with him or her that night. And then don’t weep and blubber about how bad you feel about kicking him or her out and could s/he please make you feel better by assuring you that you’re doing the right thing? Dude, you’re sending him or her home to get smacked around. I’m surprised that the next episode didn’t feature you visiting him or her in the emergency room. At which point you would have comforted yourselves by assuring yourselves that it wasn’t your fault; s/he’s the one who stays with a person who hits him or her.

8. DO NOT, once your friend leaves the abuser, make him or her apologize to you for all the ways s/he hurt your feelings while she was going through all this stuff. You apologize to him or her for not believing her and for not supporting her when she needed you. And really, don’t try to get your friend to apologize for the law suits your friend’s abuser threatened against you for talking about the abuse on camera. Those law suits were part of the abuse – the “isolate the abused from her friends” part. You know, like, get them to kick the abused out of a party they’re all attending because of the threatened law suits? Yeah. You enabled that part of the abuse. Good on you.

Here‘s the Nation Domestic Violence Hotline’s guide to what TO DO.

And here‘s the latest on Taylor’s situation.

ETA: First Reunion segment – most of the ladies tried to pretend they weren’t this awful all season. Except Camille who continued being a smug, sanctimonious bitch.


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