Lindsay Lohan is speaking out about the alleged domestic violence she experienced at the hands of her fiancé, Russian real estate heir Egor Tarabasov. After a video of Tarabasov chasing and grabbing Lohan on a beach in Mykonos, Greece went viral last month, the actress spoke to The Daily Mail about the cycle of alleged abuse she encountered in her 10-month relationship. As The Frisky reported, Lohan highlighted important issues about the widespread problem of both domestic and relationship abuse. She's attempting to start a much needed dialogue about the far too common patterns of abuse — one that we should all be interested in having. However, Lohan's story isn't attracting much attention at all. In fact, we should all be talking about Lohan's abuse allegations, for an important reason.
Lohan is absolutely no stranger to media scrutiny. She has famously suffered from addiction, with the media scrutinizing her every move throughout her recovery. She even documented part of the process with a reality series on Oprah's television network. And while the media has often criticized Lohan over the years for these things, most outlets have curiously avoided this latest round of news and allegations, for no apparent reason.
It's not that Lohan is without evidence: The actress' story of abuse is corroborated by two videos of two separate incidents, yet her situation has not garnered much attention over the past few weeks. Unfortunately, the lack of attention Lohan's abuse allegations are getting is part of a much bigger problem in our society.
Silence surrounding the topic of domestic abuse is not limited to the media. Women often choose to stay silent about the trauma they suffer at home for fear that speaking out will only make things worse. They fear they will be evicted from their homes, that they won't be believed, or that the abuse will turn fatal. Many women — Lohan even touched on this in her interview with The Daily Mail —believe that admitting they have an abusive partner is a reflection on their own character. They believe they are weak for allowing themselves to be abused by their partners. Lohan described this feeling, stating:
I know I'm not an angel but I've tried to fix things. It's down to him now. I had suggested we go for couples' counselling but there comes a time when I have to put myself first, my family, and also think about my career which I've worked so hard for. I also don't want to let my fans down by not being the strong woman I have become.
As The Frisky points out, the overwhelming lack of empathy for women like Lohan who come forward with their allegations of abuse contributes to the stigma surrounding this crucial issue.
We should be taking a hard look at the issues Lohan addressed in her interview about her relationship with Tarabasov. The abuse Lohan experienced, unfortunately, is far from abnormal. She bravely spoke out about a problem many women face and highlighted problems in our society. The fact that violence in intimate partner relationships is vastly underreported is only one of the many facets of this issue. Women, including Lohan herself, who either witness or experience abuse as children are much more likely to experience it as adults. Lohan allegedly experienced domestic abuse as a child at the hands of her father, telling the Daily Mail, "I've become my mother... I realize now you can't stay in a relationship just for love."
Women are statistically proven to be more likely to experience violence at the hands of somebody they know than a stranger. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four American women experience severe physical violence at the hands of their intimate partner. These alarming statistics are not only true of physical domestic violence, but other crimes as well. The Bureau of Justice reports that women are most likely to be murdered by people they know. Three out four rapes are committed by somebody the victim knows. Twenty-seven percent of sexual assaults are committed by current or former intimate partners, while 43 percent are committed by a friend or acquaintance. The genuine feeling of love and connection women have for their partners often complicate situations of abuse, which Lohan also touched on in her interview.
Lohan is trying to blow the lid off the veil of silence that surrounds domestic violence. We, as a society, need to pay attention. No problem can be solved without first being addressed.