Lindsay Lohan is not your average woman – or is she?
Lohan is rich, famous and a popular Hollywood A-lister who has reportedly enjoyed the affections of a long list of high-profile hunks including Adam Levine, Justin Timberlake, Zac Efron, Joaquin Phoenix and Colin Farrell.
Usually called “troubled” because of her very long and public battle with the bottle, the Mean Girls star, over the past 10 months, seemed to be turning over a less “rocky” page in her life as she settled into a happy (from the outside at least) relationship with her billionaire playboy fiancé Egor Tarabasov.
But that picture-perfect tale of a troubled princess finding her Prince Charming was torn asunder with the release of a video showing Tarabasov grabbing Lohan, twisting her arm behind her back and forcing her to hand over a mobile phone.
As the images made their way around the globe, some people asked, ‘What did Lohan do to incite Tarabasov’s public show of brutality?’ while others intimated the former child star got what she ‘deserved’ because she is not what most of us perceive to be a “good girl”.
In the moment that Tarabasov assaulted her, Lohan became another public face of domestic violence – just like Nigella Lawson, Rihanna and Amber Heard before her.
Lohan revealed that Tarabasov’s abuse was not a one-off. She said that he, like most violent men, conducted his control and abuse behind closed doors, rarely showing others the devastating Mr Hyde that lingers beneath the charming facade of his Dr Jekyll exterior.
We can only hope that Lohan has strong circles of support because the coming days and weeks are going to be some of the worst as she decides whether or not her future is safe and if it has any room for Tarabasov.
WATCH: Women share experiences of sexual violence on Twitter. (Post continues after video.)
As she’s coming to terms with this shift in the dynamic of their relationship, there are a some important lessons Lohan’s experience can deliver for those who have dangerous preconceptions about intimate partner abuse.
The first – and most important – point is about as simple as you can get. No one deserves to be physically, mentally or sexually abused. Tarabasov had no right to assault Lohan in any way, shape or form. Nothing Lohan did should have elicited this brutal show of control. If Tarabasov was so angry that he needed to use force to control her, he should have walked away and dealt with his anger in an appropriate non-violent way.
It worries me that this next point even needs addressing but it seems there is a need to re-iterate that a woman’s past is not an excuse for an abuser’s behaviour. Lohan did not deserve Tarabasov’s assault no matter how “bad” some people believe her previous “transgressions” to be.
If she has a problem with alcohol, she does not deserve to be beaten. If she enjoys the companionship of different partners that is her right and her business and she does not deserve to be abused for these decisions. And she most certainly does not deserve to have outsiders putting the blame for his violence at her feet.
According to Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) research, one in three women has been the victim of male violence.
That statistic is not colour, culture, age or bank balance blind. But when a high-profile woman like Lohan becomes the victim, we are reminded of the many borders domestic violence crosses.
Domestic violence victims and survivors are black, white, Asian, Muslim, indigenous, Jewish and devout Catholics. They are old, they are young and they are middled-aged. They are teachers, lawyers, social workers, doctors, students, academics, mums, daughters, aunts, the nice lady down the road, the Jehovah’s Witness walking past your gate, the rich sister-in-law who never attends family events, the 14-year-old straight-A student at the local private school, the popular celebrity chef, the journalist on the television and the beautiful young actor in the latest block-buster. And some victims are male.
From the outside, Lindsay Lohan is nothing like you and me. Except she is—- because like so many other victims of intimate partner abuse, she invested her heart in a man who chose to use violence to control her.
Domestic violence victims are every woman and every woman is a potential domestic violence victim.
Sherele Moody is a journalist and the founder of The RED HEART Campaign, which shares stories of domestic and family violence survival. For more from RED HEART, click here.