Marlowe Dobbe

Have you been abused?Having trouble getting anyone to believe you? Have you considered that you might be being abused wrong? Here are a few tips on how to do it if you want your friends, family, colleagues, the police, the FBI, and/or the President’s Chief of Staff to believe you:

1. Get a photo.

If the Rob Porter debacle taught us anything, it’s that photographic evidence is, for most men, the only thing that’ll turn a “morally bankrupt character assassin” (as Orrin Hatch characterized Porter’s accusers) into an abuse survivor.

So if you can, between punches, take a selfie. If possible, see if your abuser can get into the photo with you, pointing at your black eye or bruises as if to say, “That was me! Guilty as charged!” Tell him you’re doing it for this year’s Christmas card. Then show it to the FBI, who also apparently won’t believe you without a photo and will allow your abuser to work in the White House and peruse classified documents with another abuser whose victims didn’t have the forethought to grab a selfie.

2. Be one of no less than three other victims of the same abuser.

Oh, are you the first? Well, you’re shit out of luck. One woman is a liar. Two women clearly hooked up over brunch with a plan to make money and/or get famous. But three women? Well, that’s where you become almost-believable-but-a-picture-would-really-help.

A great primer on the number of women it takes to be believed about a single abuser (the “Abused Womanfolk Quorum,” or AWQ) is the comprehensive timeline of Larry Nassar’s abuse on the sports site SBNation.

The article lists victim reports of Nassar’s abuse to parents, coaches, Michigan State, USA Gymnastic and police in 1997 (twice), 1999, 2000 (reported to three trainers at MSU and USAG), 2004 (to police), 2014, 2016, and 2017. So, if you’re counting, that’s 12. Twelve reports, an Indianapolis Star investigation, and a letter from the United States Senate to USA Gymnastics is (really) all it takes to get someone fired who has allegedly abused over 250 young girls.

Sure, it sounds like a lot, but you shouldn’t have a problem getting an AWQ like that together. The letter from the senate might be tough, though, especially if there’s a shutdown. I’m not gonna lie to you.

3. Try not to be a woman.

I know this is a hard one, especially since I’m specifically addressing women here, but seriously, it would be SO great if you could figure out a way to somehow NOT be a woman.

Women are three times more likely to be physically or sexually abused than men, and, based on what we’ve seen in the Porter, Nassar, Moore, Clinton, Trump, and most other cases, about a million times less likely to be believed—so you do the math. Or, don’t, because you’re a woman and that means math is hard for you. (Which is yet another reason to just stop being female. Seriously, it’s bugging pretty much everyone.)

I hope these tips help! Tune in next week for tips on how to be better at being sexually harassed in the workplace.