What Would You Do?

I’m glad that it’s left the headlines, but a couple of weeks ago, all the “news people” were obsessed with the whole Mel Gibson sideshow.  One radio host that I had the displeasure of hearing was blaming the woman for getting ol’ Mel into trouble.

“Why hasn’t she hung up?” he asked during his daily playing of the most recently released recording.  “Who would stay on the line and listen to this?” “She sounds like she’s baiting him… staying calm like that.  She’s trying to inflame him!”  “I don’t trust this broad – and I use that as a term of derision.”

The radio host had two assistants in the studio with him.  I think they might have been his producers.  One was male, and one was female.  We’ll call the female, “Sally”.  Sally was taking the side of the woman, calling the host on his ‘blame the victim’ stance.  “What would you like her to do?” she asked.  And the host usually replied with, “hang up” or “don’t have the recording be so clear.”

I’m amazed that a person as “enlightened” as this host usually is (I listen to his show often, and he seems to have a pretty open world view – not completely “tolerant” in the PC sense of the word, but mostly common sense) would blame the woman in this situation.  Had it been a man recording a woman in a rage, he’d be commended for his shrewdness and cunning – keeping her on the phone long enough, giving her enough rope to hang herself.  But because it’s a woman, she’s duplicitous, scheming, and shouldn’t be stringing him along like that.  It’s like saying, “she wore those clothes, so she deserved to be raped.”

Anyone who has had to deal with the ravings of a drunken lunatic will have a different take on this whole situation.  They know that to hang up risks a more intimate encounter – that person will no longer be on the other end of a phone line miles away, he’ll get in his car and come banging on the door.  Often that person is completely different in public – friendly, solicitous, outgoing and personable.  If the victim tells any of those people about the rages, it’s the victim who will be regarded as crazy, because it’s unfathomable to outsiders that this great person could possibly exhibit such vile behavior.  And even when they witness it, it’s so “out of character” that they excuse it, mostly because it makes them uncomfortable to think that this is true behavior of the person that they thought was so cool.

In that case, the victim has no choice but to document the outrageous behavior.  Because if they don’t, at a minimum, they risk looking like a fool when they try to tell the story.  At the worse end of the spectrum, should they ever try to separate themselves from this person in any legal way, it’s a “he-said-she-said”.  A request for a restraining order must have proof of bad behavior to back it up.  Accusations of abuse of any kind won’t stand up in court without documentation.

So back to Mel and his girlfriend, who also happens to be the mother of his young child.  A man this out of control has no business being around a child.  Even if the rages only occur when he’s drunk, the potential for them exists all the time.  The man obviously has a nasty temper.  But he’s also an actor, able to change himself into whomever the occasion requires.  Need a shrewd businessman?  Done.  Need a half-crazed, but really smart cop? Done.  Need a good father, a quirky love interest, a paranoid conspiracy theorist?  Done, done and done.  And those are just movie roles.  This is what the man does for a living.  He can change like a chameleon.  And on top of that, until a couple of years ago, he was known as a solid, God-fearing, ultra-faithful family man with what, 10 kids? and a wife of something like 20 years.  Who would believe that this ex-heartthrob, producer, director and mega-star was an abusive monster?  Nobody.

Until his girlfriend released the tapes.

And now she’s being accused of manipulation and treachery, simply for defending herself.

Now, to be clear, I don’t agree with her releasing any of this to the press… I believe what happens in a relationship stays in the relationship, or with necessary parties outside of it, be they counselors, clergy, or lawyers.  There is no need to bring the press into it.  In that respect, I don’t think that she had any business going public.  But I also believe that with someone who I suspect is as narcissistic as Gibson is, you have to take drastic action to turn his attention to you.  To make him believe that you mean what you say.  Because they don’t think that anyone, ever, could bring them down.  Or has any reason to, because they’re so magnificent, why would anyone want to?

What do you think?  Should she have been recording these rages?  Or should she have hung up?  Did she bait him by staying calm? What would you have done?

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6 Responses to What Would You Do?

  1. Joy says:

    You know Laura; I don’t have any idea what I’d do. I’ve never been in this position. I’ve never been hit by a man (or anyone for that matter) in anger. I have no idea what I’d do. I’d like to think I’d hit the door and keep running. But on the other hand, I’ve been with a gambler and I know how the whole “I’m so sorry, I’ll never do it again” thing goes. Getting hit isn’t the only abuse that people often have to deal with but I think whatever you’re addicted to, you make promises to someone you never keep. I never really thought about from the “making matters worse” if you don’t hang up but you’re right. It would be like adding fuel to the fire.

    Mel Gibson. Man, I used to love him. Those rantings when he got drunk in LA though, I couldn’t believe it. Like you said, he was Braveheart and we loved his movies. He sure didn’t appear to be “like that.”

    I also don’t feel any person, man; woman or child deserves this kind of ranting and ravings of a lunatic at any time. NOBODY at anytime should have to put up with this kind of behavior. Having it be your husband or dad just makes it that much worse. I think it’s just as bad if a woman abuses a man so to me, NOBODY should treat anyone like this.

    When this was being discussed on ALL THE SHOWS, my first thought was why did she record all those things? Like with Alec Baldwin and calling his daughter the “fat pig.” Who would release this kind of thing to the public? This is where my whole part of the problem lies. Just like with Ireland Baldwin, this poor child, Lucia Gibson has to grow up knowing this is public information. I can see taping it to have as evidence but I have a problem with releasing them to the public. Why was that done? What kind of a person, a parent, would do that?

    This is a good post and I’m going to be interested to see how others views on it are.

  2. SKL says:

    Well, I’m at a bit of a handicap here because I have avoided these headlines, I don’t have sound on my computer, and I don’t really have a bias one way or the other when it comes to Mel Gibson. But when did that ever stop me from putting in my two cents?

    First, I have to say that the press loves to hate this guy, and for that reason, I have to wonder how balanced the reporting is. Not that that excuses anything, but it makes me very reluctant to judge.

    Second, I have been with a man who was so erratic, I was afraid to leave him. Sounds totally irrational – especially since I wasn’t stupid, financially dependent, nor under the influence of “substances” – but hear me out. This guy decided that the reason I wasn’t perfect was due to the influence of my close friends and family. Every time he got angry, he would speak very vindictively about these people, and what he would do to them if “they” didn’t stop undermining him. Before I’d realized how crazy he was, I’d mentioned to him a few things about my fam/friends that I should have kept to myself. He threatened to use these things against them publicly. Stuff like that. And he was so quick to anger, I believed he had it in him to do those things. So rather than say bye-bye, I tried to be the peacemaker, to make him feel positive or at least neutral vibes toward these people. Admittedly, it was a very weird chapter in my life, but I could see why a sane person would be afraid or reluctant to “just hang up” or “just walk away.”

    I tend to agree that the tape should not have been made public, but who knows what kind of offer they made that she couldn’t refuse?

    As for “blame the victim,” I tend to be very skeptical about taking the woman’s side because it’s the PC thing to do. There are definitely some times when a woman is at least partly at fault for things she didn’t intend to experience. To suggest that men always have to have more discipline than women is to suggest that women are irresponsible and stupid compared to men. In short, it’s unhelpful as well as unfair. However, from what I’ve read (which isn’t much), it doesn’t sound to me like this is a case of a false victim.

  3. theweeklyargus says:

    There’s no doubt that she was setting him up, but for her to know he’d react like that means that he must have been doing it on a pretty consistent basis before that.

    People can say she’s trying to extort him, but, to my knowledge, there’s no proof of that, so all someone should assume is that she was trying to protect herself.

  4. Nikki says:

    You know, coming from a family of abuse I may have a different opinion here. It may have been her way of getting something concrete, evidence. Who know what he has done to her? Obviously he has hit her. I don’t think it’s what I would have done, maybe tape the phone call, and gave it to the police. BUT I am a nobody, no reason for that to get “leaked” but this is Mel Gibson, so I can see someone leaking it. Did she? I don’t know.

    Everyone deals with situations different. From my own experiences, people knew, people saw, and did nothing. She may have been baiting him, probably, but this was obvious not the first time something like this has happened. Sometimes you are left with very little options, and sometimes fear will lead you to do things that might not be the best thing, even though you think it’s your only option.

    I have to agree with “theweeklyargus” here.

  5. I hadn’t heard of this happening (a little out of the loop) but I do know that you’re completely right about the danger a raging drunk can be, and that one has no business being near a child, not if it’s possible to prevent it.
    I don’t agree with releasing stuff to the press, because even actors are human beings who have a right to their privacy, but well… who knows, maybe an intervention from fans/reporters/general public will do something to get this man into treatment??

    • Laura says:

      I really think the only thing that will truly get him into treatment and not the “get off the hook rehab” that most celebrities do, is an absolute crash. Hitting rock-bottom, whatever that means for Mr. Gibson… be it losing his fortune, or losing access to his family, or whatever. Sounds harsh, but for some, that’s the only solution. He obviously didn’t learn his lesson after the ‘drunk in the street’ fiasco – his publicists and whomever else surrounding him padded him and smoothed things over. Whatever happens, it has to be personal enough for him to initiate the rehab/recovery, himself.

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