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Daily Share: #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou Highlights the Pain of Emotional Abuse

[Content warning: domestic abuse, emotional abuse, toxic relationships, violence]

This weekend an important hashtag swept Twitter. No, not just #MoreThanMom — this was not about Mother’s Day, but it touches on a topic that effects mothers, other women and femme folks everywhere. #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou highlights the emotional and psychological violence that women and other femme-identified folks disproportionately experience.

#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou touches on topics that do not leave physical bruises, but still scar victims emotionally.

#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou touches on topics that do not leave physical bruises but still scar victims emotionally.

Zahira Kelly, courtesy Twitter.

Zahira Kelly, courtesy Twitter.

The campaign started by writer, artist and activist Zahira Kelly, also known as BadDominicana, specifically focuses on emotionally abusive relationships and allows survivors to speak about their experiences. The hashtag campaign sheds light on a form of abuse which is not as often discussed as physical violence, though potentially more common. Kelly is an AfroLatina sociocultural critic who aims to “pick apart white supremacist capitalist hetero-patriarchy from an anticolonial AfroLatina perspective.” She also writes an advice column here.

Men join in the conversation, too. Perhaps they have seen it in their mothers, sisters, friends, or even themselves as perpetrator or survivor.

More participation, including men.

Men joined in the conversation, too. Perhaps they have seen it in their family and friends, survived it or happen to be recovering abusers trying to overcome toxic behaviors. This kind of abuse is not limited to cis-heterosexual relationships, and it’s not exclusive to romantic relationships, either — as many survivors of childhood emotional abuse can attest. There is room for all of that in this hashtag campaign.

Related: Why I Stayed With an Emotionally Abusive Man

Critics have said that this is a gender-specific hashtag and emotional abuse is not always perpetrated by men. While this is very true, it seems to derail an incredibly important discussion. It suggests the need for a separate hashtag. Discussions about toxic masculinity and abuses that men suffer are an integral piece of unlearning these dangerous behaviors and preventing this culture of abuse from continuing.

Men truly need to have these discussions with each other, setting judgment aside, allowing space for vulnerability while holding one another accountable. However, #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou is not the place for it. Stay in your lane. When that does not work for you, create another.

It should be noted that this hashtag has been preceded by others, whose efforts and emotional labor should be recognized. It was preceded by , , . Lauren Chief Elk has been a major contributor to both, as well as others such as #giveyourmoneytowomen, a campaign addressing the unpaid emotional labor expected of women and femmes.

Kelly travels to lecture about intersectional feminist issues. You can find her schedule of engagements here. For more about Lauren Chief Elk, check out her Tumblr.


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Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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