Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Believe Victims, Believe Survivors

The accusations against Honma are grave, but accusers should be believed
Photo via Wikipedia
Kiyoko Ichiki, a former wrestler and current significant other of New Japan Pro Wrestling's Tomoaki Honma, has come out and accused him of domestic violence against her. While the accusations are just that, the fact that they have been brought to light is troubling. Yes, I hope the accusations aren't true, but the most troubling fact in the world right now is that the default in public perception is to assume that the accusations are bullshit. More care is taken to tapdance around the charges and do everything to discount what accusers have to say, or worse, lay blame at accusers' feet.

That way of thinking has helped create a chilling world of silence, where victims of abuse cannot step forward. Domestic violence victims live in a world of involuntary omerta, because if they do speak out, no one believes them. That atmosphere is beyond shitty, and it needs to change. It shouldn't take video footage to make people believe, and that video footage shouldn't make people question what the victim did to provoke the attacker. The onus for change in the world needs everyone's participation.

I don't know what action should be taken against Honma right now. Personally, I doubt he should be wrestling right now, whether or not he's fired, suspended, or what have you. Whatever happens right now is in the hands of Japanese authorities and NJPW officials. But the best thing that you, an observer, is believe Ichiki, believe that she was victimized, and that she survived. The same goes for Janay Rice, Debra McMichael, Nicole Holder, Tina Turner, or anyone who has endured and survived abuse from their partner, male or female. While a majority of domestic abuse incidents are male on female, it happens in all demographics in all situations. Whenever someone with a distinct advantage in available force takes violent action against someone who cannot defend themselves, it is wrong.

Too many times has a victim of that aggression been shamed into silence because no one believes them. Maybe the world at large needs an attitude adjustment, from the most influential observers to the least exposed people. Don't shrug off accusations. Don't make flippant comments. Don't victim blame or victim shame. Believe victims. Believe survivors. The world would be a far better place if you did.